Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Executive Summary

Archived - eManifest Initiative – Build 1

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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.

The CBSA successfully implemented Phase I (Marine mode) and Phase II (Air mode) of the ACI program in April 2004 and June 2006 respectively. Phase III of the ACI initiative, eManifest, extends the requirements of ACI Phases I and II to the highway and rail modes. Furthermore, once fully implemented, eManifest will require commercial carriers, freight forwarders and importers or their brokers in all modes of transportation (air, marine, highway and rail) to electronically transmit pre-arrival cargo, conveyance, house bill/supplementary cargo and importer advance trade data to the CBSA, as well as crew information.

eManifest will be implemented in three builds as follows:

  • Build 1 includes 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), and the introduction of the eManifest Portal advanced information transmission method and enhanced notification processes (August 2011);
  • Build 2, which will be implemented at a future date, will include the optional electronic pre-arrival submission of importer data (advance trade and release data) and will introduce an enhanced automated risk assessment system for transmitted importer, cargo, conveyance, and house bill information in all modes; and
  • Build 3, which will be implemented at a future date, will include the submission and subsequent risk assessment of electronic pre-arrival crew information in all modes and enhanced functionalities for risk assessment.

The CBSA has developed an implementation strategy for eManifest where participation will be voluntary for the first year following each implementation date to allow clients time to prepare for mandatory program requirements. This will be followed by a six-month informed compliance period where only zero-rated penalties will be applied, at the end of which participation will be mandatory.

This Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is specific to Build 1 of eManifest. Separate PIAs will be completed for each of the subsequent builds, as they include additional personal information elements and may include additional uses for the information.

The personal information collected in Build 1 on the cargo and house bill submissions includes contact information for the shipper, consignee, notify, and delivery parties, dangerous goods contact information, as well as vehicle/equipment identification information. This information is used in risk assessment to determine admissibility and release of goods into Canada, and will also be used for business analytics and reporting in the Enterprise Data Warehouse Environment. These fields are usually classified as commercial information, but if the business is a sole proprietorship, they are considered to be personal information.

This personal information is transmitted electronically to the CBSA by a carrier, freight forwarder or service provider through either Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) (all modes) or through a new information transmission option, called the eManifest Portal, which allows for the electronic submission of pre-arrival commercial information through the Internet (house bills in all modes, and cargo and conveyance data in the highway mode only). Information must adhere to the following time frames by mode:

Type of Submissions for Build 1 Time frame
Highway cargo, conveyance and house bill information A minimum of one hour prior to arrival in Canada
Rail cargo, conveyance and house bill information A minimum of two hours prior to arrival in Canada
Marine house bill information Twenty-four hours prior to loading on the vessel at the last foreign port of loading depending on type and origin of commercial goods
Air house bill information Four hours prior to arrival in Canada or at time of departure for flights less than four hours in duration

Carriers and freight forwarders who wish to submit information through the eManifest Portal must register for an account. This process begins with a cyber-authentication offered by the Government of Canada (outside the scope of this PIA). Then the CBSA requires Business Account owners to obtain a shared secret, and register for both a Portal Business Account and User Account; all three of these steps require contact information to be provided. In addition, language preference is required to create a Portal User Account. Account Owners may designate other users for their account. These other users only register for a Portal User Account. This contact information will not have any other use outside of registration, testing and client support. All Portal users are also issued a Unique Reference Number for identification purposes.

Similarly, carriers and freight forwarders wishing to submit information through EDI must provide contact information as part of the registration process. This information will only be used for registration, testing and client support.

The eManifest compliance management framework provides for client support plans and compliance management plans which include communications, outreach activities, policy and technical support helpdesks and compliance management activities, all designed to educate clients and promote compliance.

The CBSA is implementing the following to enhance the privacy protections of the personal information collected for eManifest Build 1:

  • Registering a personal information bank for eManifest with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat for publication in Info Source;
  • Restricting the use of trade document personal information to risk assessment, admissibility, business analytics, compliance monitoring and client support;
  • Restricting the use of registration personal information to registration, testing and client support; and
  • Controlling access to the databases containing the personal information.

Right of Access

An individual will be informed of the purposes, uses, disclosure and retention of his/her personal information through a Privacy Notice Statement (PNS). Portal clients will view and accept this PNS in the Terms and Conditions every time they log on to the Portal. This PNS will also be included in the paper registration process required for EDI clients.

An individual may formally request access to his/her personal information, or access to corporate records related to or created by eManifest by contacting the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Division. More information about this can be found at:


If an individual has concerns about the collection, use, disclosure or retention of his/her personal information, he/she may issue a complaint to CBSA ATIP. Complaints should be made in writing, and include the individual’s name, contact information, and a brief description of his/her concerns. Contact information for the Access to Information and Privacy Division at the CBSA can be found at

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