Administrative Guideline for Submission of Confidential and Non-Confidential Information
Legislative Requirement to Provide Non-Confidential Versions
The Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) requires that confidential information submitted to the CBSA be accompanied by a non-confidential (public) version of the information. The following explains how non-confidential and confidential information will be handled and how to prepare both a confidential and non-confidential submission of your information.
A non-confidential version is required by the CBSA in order for submissions containing confidential information to be taken into account for any SIMA proceeding.
Release of Non-Confidential (NC) Information
The CBSA releases non-confidential information to any party that requests this information for the purposes of the proceeding.
Release of Confidential Information
The CBSA releases confidential information to independent counsel for a party to the proceeding as well as to Canadian courts, tribunals and panels.
Release of Confidential Information to Independent Counsel
Counsel includes any person who represents another party in the proceeding. A party is a person or business that participates in and has a direct interest in the proceeding.
Counsel must ask for confidential information in writing and must provide a written guarantee to the CBSA stating that they will:
- use the information only in relation to the subject proceeding;
- not disseminate the information;
- protect the information;
- destroy the information after completion of the proceeding;
- provide the CBSA with a written notice that the information is destroyed; and,
- report any violations or possible violations to the CBSA.
The CBSA will not release confidential information to independent counsel if it believes that it might cause harm to an individual or business.
Release of Confidential Information to Canadian courts, tribunals and panels
Confidential information is released to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, any Court in Canada, a Binational or World Trade Organization (WTO) Panel. These organizations will use the information to fulfill their responsibilities under Canadian law, NAFTA or WTO Agreements. The confidential information is subject to the rules of procedure of the Court or Panel to which it is provided.
Submission of Non-Confidential Information Only
In the case that a submission contains no confidential information, each page must be marked "non-confidential" and be accompanied with a covering letter indicating that the submission does not contain any confidential information.
Submission of Confidential Information
In the case that a submission contains confidential information it is necessary to:
- Clearly identify confidential information by either enclosing all confidential information within square brackets or by shading all confidential information contained in the confidential version. A sample of each method is provided in the “Non-Confidential Edited Version” section below; and,
- Stamp "confidential" on every page of the confidential submission, including all attachments.
It is important that non-confidential versions be complete, as they are provided to other parties involved in the proceeding upon request.
A non confidential version may be done in two ways:
1. Non-Confidential Edited Version
A Non-Confidential Edited Version is a duplicate of the confidential version with all confidential information removed. Only confidential information may be removed, and a sufficient level of detail must be left in the Non-Confidential edited version to provide a clear understanding of the substance of the information.
Examples of Non-Confidential Edited Version
In the following example, the text indicates the nature of the bracketed [confidential information] that has been deleted in the non-confidential version.
A confidential response to a request may be: The selling price of product ABC to our Canadian distributor was US$[25.99] per unit.
The non-confidential edited version of this response may be: The selling price of product ABC to our Canadian distributor was US$[XX.XX] per unit.
In this example, the nature of the information removed in the non-confidential version relates to selling price information which should be reflected in the Non-Confidential Statement.
The spacing between the brackets [blank] should reflect the same number of spaces as in the confidential version.
As a further example, the following represents an acceptable non-confidential edited version of an export sales listing. A multi page listing could look like this:
Do not use “shading”, “highlighting”, “font colors” or any other type of masking to hide confidential information in the non-confidential electronic version. You must delete (remove) the confidential information in the non-confidential version.
If you use a black marker to hide confidential information on the paper version of the non-confidential version or in any attachments to the non-confidential version, please ensure that the black shading covers everything and that it is dark enough not to reveal confidential information when the information is converted electronically to PDF format.
2. Non-Confidential Summary Version
Where deleting information for a non-confidential edited version would not leave enough detail to provide an understanding of the confidential information removed, a non-confidential summary of the deleted information must be included, describing the confidential information that has been removed.
The non-confidential summary is normally accompanied by at least one sample page, with the confidential data removed from the related appendix or attachment.
A “Non-Confidential Statement” must be attached to each Non-Confidential version.
The Non-Confidential Statement form is available for download in RTF, 56 KB
Review of Non-Confidential Submission
Each non-confidential version is reviewed by the CBSA to ensure that it contains sufficient detail to convey a reasonable understanding of the substance of the information submitted in the confidential version. It is imperative that companies delete only information necessary to protect their interests and what is confidential.
If the CBSA determines that an adequate non-confidential edited version or a non-confidential summary has not been provided, and the party fails to justify why it cannot be provided or does not submit a revised version, the CBSA will not consider the submitted confidential information.
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