Protecting your Personal Information
In 2011, Canada and the United States (U.S.) issued Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, 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. In February 2017, Canada and the U.S. reaffirmed the previous commitment to fully implement coordinated entry and exit systems to exchange biographic information at the land border and to build upon processes implemented under previous phases of the initiative, notably:
- September 2012 – January 2013: A proof of concept involving the exchange of Biographic Entry DataFootnote 1 on third country nationalsFootnote 2, permanent residents of Canada, and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. at four automated ports of entry along the shared land border.
- June 30, 2013: The implementation of the Entry/Exit Initiative involving the exchange of Biographic Entry Data on third country nationals, permanent residents of Canada, and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. at all automated ports of entry along the common land border.
- August 23, 2016: Canada began the one-way sharing of Biographic Entry Data on all U.S. citizens and nationals who enter Canada at land ports of entry as an interim measure until such time as the requisite legislative and regulatory authorities are in place in Canada to collect on all travellers who cross the border in the land mode.
This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is for the end-state of the Entry/Exit Initiative.
An Act to Amend the Customs Act, which received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018, establishes new authorities for the CBSA to collect basic information on all persons leaving Canada. Canada will implement the expansion of the Entry/Exit Initiative to include the exchange of Biographic Entry Data on all travellers who enter either country via a land port of entry, including Canadian citizens, Registered Indians of Canada and U.S. citizens. Canada will also fulfill its commitment to develop a system to collect Biographic Air Exit DataFootnote 3 on all travellers departing Canada directly from air carriers, similar to U.S. processes and systems already in place. These initiatives will be implemented once legislative and regulatory amendments are in force.
The Entry/Exit Initiative is consistent with the CBSA’s mission to ensure Canada's security and prosperity by facilitating and overseeing international travel and trade across Canada's border.
Personal Information / Data Elements
The following personal information elements, which are set in recent amendments to the Customs Act, will be collected by the CBSA under the Entry/Exit Initiative:
|Biographic Entry Data
|Biographic Air Exit Data
Collection, Use and Disclosure
Exit informationFootnote 4 will be collected from third party partners on behalf of travellers departing Canada in the land and air modes in a manner that is seamless to affected travellers. All personal information collected under the Entry/Exit initiative will be stored in the CBSA’s Entry/Exit Information System (EXIS).
In the land mode, entry information will continue to be routinely collected directly from all travellers entering either Canada or the U.S. upon presentation to an officer at an authorized port of entry and stored in the CBSA’s Passage History Database. Pursuant to an information sharing arrangement between Canada and the U.S., the entry information will be systematically exchanged via an existing secure T1 line between countries to create an exit record in the other country. In the air mode, CBSA will receive Biographic Air Exit Data from commercial air carriersFootnote 5 in the form of electronic passenger manifests for all travellers departing Canada on board outbound international flights. Regulations will govern, among others, the circumstances, time and manner in which the information must be provided to the CBSA in both the land and air mode.
All personal information collected under the Entry/Exit Initiative is considered ‘customs information’, as defined under section 107 of the Customs Act, and will only be used and disclosed in accordance with applicable legislative authorities. Once collected, the CBSA may disclose Entry/Exit information to authorized federal partners, including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), for case-specific purposes related to immigration enforcement, law enforcement, national security or enhanced program integrity, respective to their departmental mandates. This will enable the Government of Canada to better protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration, citizenship, travel document, and social benefit programs, and support ongoing investigations related to law enforcement and national security.
Legal authorities for the collection, use and disclosure of Biographic Entry Data:
- Canada Border Services Agency Act, subsection 5(1)
- Customs Act, subsection 11(1), sections 92, 93 and 107
- Privacy Act: sections 4, 7 and subsection 8(2)
Policy Instruments relied upon to implement the exchange of Biographic Information
- Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan
- Beyond the Border Action Plan Joint Statement of Privacy Principles
- Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency regarding the Sharing of Biographic Entry Data for Entry/Exit
- Information Sharing Arrangements with each federal partners (established before the exchange of information begins)
As a result of the analysis of the privacy risks related to the full implementation 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.
- Posting signs at all Canadian land ports of entry to notify travellers entering Canada that their personal information will be shared with the U.S.
- Retaining personal information collected under Entry/Exit for up to 15 years, as per new authorities in the Customs Act, after which it will be purged, unless it is otherwise required to be retained under Canadian law or is linked to an active and ongoing CBSA investigation.
- Updating the registered personal information bank specific to the Entry/Exit Initiative with Treasury Board Secretariat for publication in Info Source;
- Limiting the data elements being shared strictly to those that are required to identify an individual and complete the reconciliation exercise;
- Strictly controlling access to the internal databases holding the information;
- Encrypting the channel and information exchanged between Canada and the U.S. during transmission;
- Ensuring that IT security assessments for each component of the IT solution for the Entry/Exit Initiative are completed prior to the release of each IT capability;
- Ensuring that personal information is only collected for persons confirmed to have departed Canada; and
- Ensuring that Information Sharing Arrangements with federal partners are in place before any sharing of information begins.
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