Entry Exit Initiative - Phase II
Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) - Executive Summary

Protecting your Personal Information

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

The Entry/Exit Initiative falls under the Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) mandate of providing integrated border services that support national security and public safety priorities and facilitate the free flow of persons and goods which meet all requirements under the program legislation.

The Entry/Exit Initiative will implement a system to exchange Biographic Entry Data between Canada and the 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. 

The Entry/Exit Initiative continues to be accomplished through targeted investments in technology and infrastructure and a phased approach to the exchange of biographicFootnote 1 (i.e. name, citizenship) entry information.  Three phases are applicable to travellers crossing the Canada-U.S. land border, and a fourth phase of the Entry/Exit Initiative will be the collection of biographic exit information on travellers in the air environment. The Entry/Exit Initiative is outlined in the Action Plan and is summarized as follows:


Future Deliverables

Exploratory work will be conducted for the future integration of entry and exit information systems for the marine and rail modes. Phases III and IV will be implemented once the requisite legislative and regulatory amendments are in place.

This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is specific to Phase II of the Entry/Exit Initiative (hereinafter referred to as Phase II).  Phase II was successfully 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. Since the implementation of Phase II, Canada and the U.S. have exchanged over 20 million traveller records in a seamless manner and without requiring any new infrastructure at the land border.

Effective Summer 2016 (anticipated), all exisiting activities currently in place, including the collection, use and disclosure of personal information under the Entry/Exit Initiative, will remain the same as under Phase II, but the scope of affected individuals will be amended under existing authorities to include the one-way exchange of Biographic Entry Data on U.S. citizens. Specifically, this will enable the CBSA to:

The exchange of any personal information on Canadian citizens remains out of scope under this phase of the Entry/Exit Initiative. Subsequent phases may be applicable to additional categories of individuals, and may include additional personal information elements and/or additional uses for the information.  A separate PIA will be conducted for each of the subsequent phases prior to their respective implementation.

During Phase II, exchanged Biographic Entry Data will be used to effectively administer and enforce the immigration laws of Canada, by:

  1. Reconciling Biographic Entry Data received from the U.S. to Biographic Entry Data previously collected by the CBSA;
  2. Facilitating the CBSA's ability to focus immigration enforcement actions and investigations on warrants for third-country nationals or permanent residents who are suspected to still be in Canada;
  3. Facilitating the CBSA's ability to focus immigration enforcement actions and investigations on removal orders for third-country nationals or permanent residents who are suspected to still be in Canada; and
  4. Facilitating the CBSA's ability to determine the whereabouts of third-country nationals or permanent residents for the purpose of admissibility determination to Canada, including those who may be a threat to Canada's national security.

Process, data exchange and timeframe:

Entry information is routinely collected by the CBSA Border Services Officers (BSOs) and exit (U.S. entry) information by U.S. CBP officers as a routine border processing when travellers present themselves seeking entry into either country. 

At entry, each country presently collects the following data elements as agreed to for the Phase II exchange: Name (first, middle, last), Date of Birth, Nationality/Citizenship, Gender, Document information (type, number and country of issuance); these elements were demonstrated to be effective in reconciling entry and exit information in Phase I.  The only data to be exchanged, which are not already known to the receiving country, will be the date of entry, time of entry and the port through which the individual has entered.

Biographic Entry Data was collected starting at 12:01am on June 30, 2013. The first data exchange involving U.S. citizens is expected to occur by August 2016 (exact date and time TBD).  The information will be exchanged between Canada and the U.S. in near real-time. 

Canadian Biographic Entry Data is stored in the CBSA's Passage History database and the transfer mechanism for the data exchange is an existing secure T1 line between Canada and the U.S. 

Legal authorities for the collection, use and disclosure of Biographic Entry Data:

Policy Instruments relied upon to implement the exchange of Biographic Information:

As a result of the analysis of the privacy related elements of Phase II of the Entry/Exit Initiative, addressed in this PIA, the CBSA is implementing the following measures to enhance the privacy protections of the personal information:

At all times, the disclosure of all personal information exchanged under the Entry/Exit Initiative will be protected through existing privacy guidelines outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan: Statement of Privacy Principles by the United States and Canada and will be governed by U.S. privacy laws. 

The System of Records Notice highlighting all uses by the U.S. is a publically available document accessible via the Department of Homeland Security's Internet site.

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