Executive Summary
Alternatives to Detention Program

As a key pillar to the National Immigration Detention Framework, the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Program provides officers with an expanded set of tools and programs that will enable them to more effectively manage their client-base while achieving balanced enforcement outcomes. The wider availability of ATDs supports recommendations from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for a robust ATD program within Canada.

This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) has been authored to address new program activities that seek to lessen the CBSA's reliance on its Immigration Holding Centres and Provincial Correctional Facilities (PCFs) that currently detain foreign nationals (FNs) and permanent residents (PRs). The ATD Program expands the scope of current CBSA conditions and release mechanisms and develops new tools to close gaps in programming availability and access on a national scale, with priority placed on areas with the highest volume of detainees or potential ATD participants.

Specifically, this PIA examines the ATD Program's expansion of two ATDs to a national level – Voice Reporting (VR) and Community Case Management and Supervision (CCMS)Footnote 1; and the introduction of Electronic Monitoring (EM) as a pilot in the Greater Toronto Area Region (GTAR).

Voice Reporting (VR)

For those who agree to VR programming, the individual provides voice samples which are stored in a new information system (the Voice Reporting System – VRS) and compared/matched against future voice reporting events. Once enrolled in VR, the individual is required to call at regular intervals, at which time their voice is compared to the recordings obtained at the time of VR enrollment.

The types of personal information collected for VR includes name, address, contact details, and other related information which is most often collected by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or CBSA during the immigration or refugee application stage. However, the new VR solution also collects a participant's voice recording and, for those ordered to have VR with location based services (LBS), Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates will be collected in specific situations.

To collect the GPS coordinates, the CBSA has entered into a contract with a service provider (SP) who will collect the GPS coordinates from cellular providers. The voice recording and GPS coordinates are collected and stored in the new VRS, as well as in the existing immigration enforcement case management system called the National Case Management System (NCMS), which is a CBSA system managed by the CBSA.

Community Case Management and Supervision (CCMS)

CCMS is a risk-based community release program, whereby subsequent to a risk assessment, a CBSA officer or the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB) determines that an individual's risk can be managed in community, resulting in a release from detention. CCMS is intended to promote detention avoidance or detention release for persons that remain compliant with the CBSA but who may lack a bondsperson, or who require social service support in addition to a bondsperson to mitigate risk upon release into the community. Services and programming are provided by three contracted Service Providers (SPs) that are established and experienced in the delivery of community case management to individuals that pose some level of security risk to the public or risk to the integrity of CBSA's immigration enforcement program. Those three SPs are: the Salvation Army, the John Howard Society and the Toronto Bail Program.

The CBSA will continue to utilize existing information (in the NCMS and GCMS systems, as well as information arising from detention reviews) to determine if CCMS is appropriate. The types of personal information collected for CCMS includes name, address, contact details, and other related information which is most often collected by IRCC or CBSA during the immigration or refugee application stage. However, once an individual is supervised by a CCMS SPs, the types of information that could be collected by the CBSA is expected to be detailed but only include information related to the individual's release from detention on CCMS programming. CCMS SPs and their sub-contractors (doctors, mental health counselors, therapists, addiction counselors, etc.) will likely collect medical information, mental health information, diagnoses/prognoses, substance abuse history, and other related information. The CBSA has instructed CCMS SPs to follow Provincial and Federal privacy legislation regulating the transfer and storage of personal medical information.

Electronic Monitoring

In , along with the other elements of the ATD Program, the CBSA deployed an EM Pilot Project in the Greater Toronto Area Region (GTAR), which is intended to facilitate the release of selected high-risk individuals. The EM system is built upon real-time location data collected and analysed in a central facility and reported to regional staff to investigate for enforcement purposes as appropriate. The CBSA is utilizing the services of Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), who currently maintains a successful, national EM program. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CSC has been signed to address the details related to policies, procedures, privacy, information sharing and financial arrangements.

By initiating a pilot in one region, CBSA will acquire quantitative and qualitative data about the effectiveness of EM monitoring in an immigration context and align itself with international partners who utilize the technology for immigration purposes. The Pilot has a concrete framework with strict program parameters which will improve on the previous EM option that is being used by the IRB as an acceptable release mechanism. If the GTAR pilot is successful, it will be expanded to a nationally available electronic supervision tool with the ATD Program.

Regarding the collection of information, EM enrollment requires the collection of name, address, telephone numbers, and other biographical information which has already been collected. To enroll a participant in EM, the CBSA provides the telephone number and address information to CSC, but not the name of the individual. Within the CSC EM software application, the CBSA participants will be uniquely identified so as to differentiate them from the CSC EM participants.

Once enrolled, the GPS coordinates of the individual are collected and stored in a software application maintained by CSC, as well as on the server of CSC's vendor. When various alerts occur on an individual, CSC will contact the individual and attempt to resolve the alert. All alert information and CSC's attempts to resolve them are provided to the CBSA. For urgent notification, a CBSA Stand by Officer and/or Duty Manager is available after regular business hours. A PIA was conducted on the CSC EM program and is available as required.

Right of Access

Individuals may formally request access to their personal information, or access to corporate records related to the Alternatives to Detention Program by filing a request with the Access to Information and Privacy Division. More information about this can be found on the Access to Information and Privacy page.


Individuals with concerns about the collection, use, disclosure or retention of their personal information may issue a complaint to the CBSA Access to Information and Privacy Division. Complaints should be made in writing, and include the individual's name, contact information, and a brief description of their concerns. Contact the Access to Information and Privacy Division at the CBSA.

Date modified: