Privacy Impact Assessments

The Government of Canada is committed to privacy and the protection of personal information used in the course of providing programs and services to the public.

The Government of Canada's Privacy Impact Assessment Policy is one of several tools designed to meet this commitment. This policy was created to ensure that individuals have a right to control the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information.

Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) ensure that all privacy issues have been identified and resolved or mitigated. The Government of Canada then seeks advice and notifies the Privacy Commissioner and informs the public that privacy issues have been addressed.

CBSA Privacy Impact Assessment Summaries

Faces on the Move: Multi-camera screening

The Faces on the Move: multi-camera screening project is a two year project with a six-month technology demonstration phase to assess the readiness of face-recognition technology in a border operation environment. The CBSA will install additional cameras at a selected port of entry to the existing closed circuit television cameras, positioned at key areas to better capture images of travellers. The images of travellers will be compared with an established operational database of high-risk individuals known to be inadmissible to Canada to ensure they are interdicted prior to leaving the port of entry.

Interactive Advance Passenger Information Initiative

The Interactive Advance Passenger Information (IAPI) program builds on the current Advance Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) program, further to Beyond the Border Action Plan commitments.  Under IAPI, API data will be collected at check-in (which normally begins 24 hours prior to a flight's scheduled time of departure) to confirm if a traveller has prescribed documentation to travel to Canada or if a traveller is a prescribed person under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and a "board/no-board" message will be sent to air carriers for all passengers expected to be on board all international commercial flights coming to Canada prior to flight departure. The process will include a manual review to determine whether a traveller is the subject of a declaration by the Minister under the Negative Discretion authority or if there exists an enforced removal order without the required Authorization to Return to Canada documentation or Temporary Resident Permit.

The scope of IAPI also provides for the collection of multiple pushes of PNR data beginning at 72 hours prior to departure, however only API will be used for IAPI's board/no-board process. The operationalization of pre-departure PNR pushes will come into effect at a later date, based on considerations such as ratification of the Canada-EU PNR Agreement or, if deemed necessary, national security interests.

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Pilot Program

The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Pilot Program supports the Removals Program by providing a mechanism, delivered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to facilitate the voluntary removal of failed refugee claimants back to their country of origin. The Pilot was conducted in the Greater Toronto Area from June 29, 2012 to March 31, 2015. The PIA assesses the privacy implications of activities conducted both by the CBSA and by the IOM for the administration and delivery of the AVRR. The PIA does not assess privacy implications of activities performed by the CBSA as part of the regular removals process.

Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements

Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAAs) provide Canada with the legal basis to reciprocally share customs information with foreign governments to prevent, investigate, and combat customs offences. This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) assesses the business processes of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in managing the international Requests for Assistance under CMAAs. It also assesses the updated Canadian CMAA Model Text, the basis for ongoing and future CMAA negotiations, against the Government of Canada and CBSA internal privacy policies and guidelines. In addition, the PIA reviews the ten previously negotiated CMAAs to identify those that are with higher privacy risks and may require renegotiation in the future.

Enhanced Complaint Mechanism

In support of the Agency's Change Agenda initiative, a more accessible, transparent and centralized client feedback process, the Enhanced Complaint Mechanism (ECM), was launched by the Recourse Directorate on January 7, 2011. The goal for this national process is to provide all Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) clients with the opportunity to provide their feedback to the Agency on the services it provides and to use this feedback to improve the delivery of programs and services.

Scenario Based Targeting

The Scenario Based Targeting (SBT) initiative is an important part of the Beyond the Border declaration, negotiated between Canada and the United States (U.S.) in 2011, whereby Canada committed to implementing a harmonized methodology for the screening of all travellers. As an outcome of this commitment and the SBT initiative, the Canada Border Services Agency has updated its risk assessment methodology to a scenario based risk analysis to identify potential high-risk travellers on board commercial air conveyances bound for Canada. High-risk travellers are persons who are or who may be involved with terrorism or terrorism-related crimes or other serious crimes, including organized crime, that are transnational in nature.

eManifest Initiative – Build 1

eManifest is the third phase of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program, which mandates the submission of electronic pre-arrival commercial information, increasing the Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) ability to perform an effective risk assessment prior to the commercial goods arriving in Canada. The ACI program is about getting the right information at the right time to enhance the CBSA's ability to identify potential threats to Canada, while facilitating the movement of low-risk commercial goods across the border.

This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is specific to Build 1 of eManifest. Build 1 includes the electronic pre-arrival submission of cargo and conveyance information in the highway mode (implemented October 2010), rail mode (implemented May 2012) and house bills in all modes (implemented in June 2013). It also includes the introduction of the eManifest Portal advanced information transmission method and enhanced notification processes (August 2011).

Entry Exit Initiative - Phase II

The Entry/Exit Initiative will implement a system to exchange Biographic Entry Data between Canada and the United States (U.S.), such that an entry into one country is considered an exit from the other, thereby establishing a common and integrated approach to border management. The coordinated investments in entry and exit systems will assist the Government of Canada in meeting its objective of effectively administering and enforcing Canada's immigration program and border management practices.

This Privacy Impact Assessment is specific to Phase II of the Entry/Exit Initiative (hereinafter referred to as Phase II). Phase II was implemented on June 30, 2013 and includes the exchange of Biographic Entry Data regarding third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. at all automated land border ports of entry. Beginning Summer 2016, all existing activities currently in place will remain the same, but the scope of affected travellers will be amended to include a one-way exchange of information on U.S. citizens. Specifically, the CBSA will disclose Biographic Entry Data to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for all U.S. citizens, third-country nationals and permanent residents that depart the U.S. and enter Canada via an automated port of entry along the shared land border.

Automated Border Clearance Program

The Automated Border Clearance (ABC) program represents a major change for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in its delivery of primary processing of travellers arriving at major Canadian airports.

ABC is an innovative concept that streamlines a portion of the border clearance process for Canadian citizens with a valid Canadian passport and permanent residents (PR) of Canada with a valid Canadian PR card, by using self-service kiosks technology as an alternative to the traditional processing by border services officers.

Customs Controlled Areas

In 2001, through Bill S-23, sections 11.2 to 11.5 and 99.2 to 99.4 were introduced to the Customs Act to allow for the creation of Customs Controlled Areas (CCA).

The implementation of designated areas as CCAs is expected to take place in the spring of 2013. These designated areas are intended to address potential problems resulting from internal conspiracies where domestic employees may misuse their positions at certain border-related facilities to engage in criminal activities when in contact with uncleared international travellers and/or goods.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

Canada's TFWP enables employers in Canada to hire foreign nationals on a temporary basis to meet short-term skill and labour needs when Canadians or permanent residents are not available. The TFWP is legislated through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations and is jointly delivered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with the support of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The role of the CBSA is to determine the admissibility of foreign nationals to Canada at the Port of Entry (POE). CBSA also verifies the eligibility of foreign workers and issues work permits on behalf of CIC, if the necessary criteria are met.

Phase I Entry/Exit

In 2011, Canada and the United States (U.S.) issued the Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness which establishes a new long-term partnership built upon a perimeter approach to security and economic competitiveness and subsequently, the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan (Action Plan) which sets out the joint Canada-United States priorities for achieving this vision. As part of delivering on its commitments in the Action Plan, Canada and the U.S. are undertaking the Entry/Exit Initiative.

High-Integrity Personnel Security Screening Standard (HIPSSS)

In November 2007, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Executive Management Committee approved the development of all required processes to implement enhanced personnel security screening measures allowable to decrease the risk of infiltration and corruption and maintain program integrity under the Policy on Government Security for all CBSA positions; and the creation of a CBSA High-Integrity Personnel Security Screening Standard (HIPSSS). The approval from the TB Cabinet Ministers Committee was required for policy approval through a TB Submission. Approval to proceed as requested with the phased implementation of HIPSSS obtained at the May 31, 2012 meeting.


ccmMercury is used to track all Ministerial and Executive correspondence, including constituency correspondence that is not processed in the Agency and is usually returned to the author or the Minister of Public Safety Canada, Citizenship and Immigration or related government department offices.

National Integrated Interagency Information System (N-III) - Integrated Query Tool (IQT)

The N-III System provides program support and technology tools for information sharing across the Canadian public safety and security sector, including the CBSA. By addressing the information sharing needs of this sector, N-III facilitates communications and enhances investigations. The IQT is one of the information sharing query tools for public safety agencies.

Preliminary Privacy Impact Assessment Summaries

Anti-Doping Information-Sharing Memorandum of Understanding with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee

The Anti-Doping Information-Sharing MOU is designed to assist in anti-doping efforts during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games by sharing certain customs program information collected during port of entry enforcement actions administered by the Canada Border Services Agency.

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