About access to information and privacy
: Expect electronic processing delays
Work is underway to restore CBSA's ability to process access to information and privacy requests after servers were made inaccessible during infrastructure maintenance by Shared Services Canada. Read the news release for more.
You can continue to submit ATIP requests through the online portal.
In this section
The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act came into effect on . These Acts provide the legal right to obtain information, in any form, that is under the control of a Canadian government institution. The general purpose is to make the Canadian government more open and transparent.
The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or any person (or entity) present in Canada the legal right to obtain information, in any form, that is under the control of a Canadian government institution. The main principles of this Act are: government information should be available to the public; exemptions to this right should be limited and specific; and decisions on disclosure of information should be reviewed independently of the government.
The Privacy Act protects the privacy of all individuals with respect to personal information held by a Canadian government institution and provides individuals with a right to access and request correction of this information. The right to access under the Privacy Act has been extended to include all individuals currently living in and outside of Canada to whom that right has not been extended previously. To request a correction to your personal information, please use the form TBS/SCT 350-11. In accordance with section 7 of the Privacy Act, personal information can only be used in accordance with the purpose for which it was collected or for a use consistent with that purpose. Information protected by the Privacy Act can only be disclosed with the consent of the person to whom it relates or in accordance with the exception terms of subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act.
The President of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) is the organization head responsible for the government-wide administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The Minister of Public Safety is responsible for the administration of the acts at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The Minister in turn has delegated certain powers, duties and functions to the ATIP Coordinator (the Director of the Access to Information, Privacy (ATIP) and Disclosure Policy Division at the CBSA).
Timeframe for responding to Access or Privacy Requests
The legislated timeframe for responding to Access to Information or Privacy requests is 30 calendar days. The Access to Information Act permits an institution to extend the time limit to respond to a request beyond the 30 calendar days if:
- the request is for a large number of records or requires a search through a large number of records, and the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the institution;
- external consultations are necessary and cannot reasonably be expected to be completed within the original time limit; or
- notice to a third party is required to advise him or her that his or her information is the subject of a request.
The Privacy Act permits an institution to extend the time limit to respond to a request for a maximum of 30 calendar days beyond the initial 30 days if:
- the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the institution; or
- consultations are necessary and cannot reasonably be expected to be completed within the original time restriction.
Principles for assisting applicants
In processing your request under the Access to Information Act or Privacy Act, we will:
- Process your request without regard to your identity.
- Offer reasonable assistance throughout the request process.
- Provide information on the Access to Information Act or Privacy Act, including information on the processing of your request and your right to complain to the appropriate Commissioner of Canada.
- Inform you as appropriate and without undue delay when your request needs to be clarified.
- Make every reasonable effort to locate and retrieve the requested records or personal information under the control of the government institution.
- Apply limited and specific exemptions to the requested records or personal information.
- Provide accurate and complete responses.
- Provide timely access to the requested information.
- Provide records or personal information in the format and official language requested, as appropriate.
- Provide an appropriate location within the government institution to examine the requested information.
Who can make a request under the Access to Information Act
Any individual present in Canada can make a request under the Access to Information Act. Canadian citizens and permanent residents also have the right to make a request under the Access to Information Act from outside Canada. An individual who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident cannot make a request from outside Canada unless it is made by a representative who is a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a person present in Canada on behalf of the individual. Requests made pursuant to the Access to Information Act must include a $5.00 application fee.
All written requests made under the Access to Information Act should be as specific as possible to enable an effective search and to reduce the need to seek clarification from the requester. Further explanation can be found by visiting the How to make a request section.
The CBSA will treat requests in accordance with the Access to Information Act, and only officials with a need to know will be involved in processing the request. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the entire process.
Who can make a request under the Privacy Act
All individuals living in and outside of Canada can make a request under the Privacy Act. There are no fees for requesting information under this Act.
All written requests made under the Privacy Act should be as specific as possible to enable an effective search and to reduce the need to seek clarification from the requester. Further explanation can be found by visiting the How to make a request section. Furthermore, if a representative is seeking to obtain the personal information of an individual then a valid consent form is required in order to process the request.
The CBSA will treat requests in accordance with the Privacy Act, and only officials with a need to know will be involved in processing the request. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the entire process.
Travel History Report
A Travel History Report is a record of a traveller's entries, exits or both into Canada. This information is collected by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Retention period for a Travel History Report is 15 years.
The CBSA began collecting traveller exit information on foreign nationals (excluding American citizens) entering the United States from Canada on . As of , the CBSA collects exit information on all travellers (including Canadian and American citizens) in the land mode and in the commercial air mode as of . Exit data may also be requested through the Travel History Report.
Highway Passage Reports may also be requested; however, they indicate only that a specific licence plate has been recorded, and do not show the people travelling in the vehicle.
Visit our Travel History Reports Web page for more information on when and how to request them.
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