Canada Border Services Agency

Canada Border Services Agency

June 15, 2016 15:30 ET

Minister Goodale Introduces an Act to Amend the Customs Act-Exit Information

Legislation to strengthen border security and management

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 15, 2016) - Canada Border Services Agency

The Government of Canada remains committed to a strong, secure, and efficient border with the United States.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, today introduced legislation in the House of Commons that will allow the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to collect routine biographic information on all travellers exiting Canada.

Canada will ensure effective security measures are in place that both protect the safety of Canadians and safeguard their individual rights and freedoms, without impeding the vital flow of legitimate travel and trade across the border.

This initiative builds off the significant progress made during Canada's state visit to Washington, where Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama announced that both countries would further deepen the longstanding cooperation along our shared border.

Quotes

"We are committed to protecting Canadians and their individual rights and freedoms. It's important that we have a clear picture of who is entering and exiting our country so we can ensure the efficient movement of legitimate trade and travel and keep our border secure."

- Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

"Entry/exit information is a key part of a traveller's history that will help to make more informed decisions, improve program integrity and reduce fraud. For example, through these changes our officials would have more information available to accurately verify residency across multiple lines of business."

- Hon. John McCallum, Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick Facts

- On March 10, 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Barack Obama announced that both countries will fully implement a system to exchange basic biographic entry/exit information at the land border and build off the process already in place.

- Today, the Government of Canada collects biographic information on travellers entering the country, but has no reliable way of knowing when and where travellers leave the country.

- Once this legislation is passed, Canada will now know when and where someone enters the country, and when and where they leave the country.

- The Government of Canada will achieve this ability by working closely with our American counterparts and exchanging information at the land border.

- The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the individual rights and freedoms of Canadians, and has built privacy protections into the core of the Entry/Exit initiative.

- Exit information will only be disclosed in accordance with Canadian law, and would adhere to the disclosure provisions pursuant to both the Privacy Act and the Customs Act.

- Effective border management requires Canada to closely align its practises with our international partners. Recording this basic information will ensure the safety of Canadians, while also enhancing the ability of law enforcement, national security, and immigration agencies to make informed and timely decisions.

- Currently, Canada and the U.S. are exchanging biographic entry information on third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. at land ports of entry.

- This collection and exchange has proven to be seamless to the traveller. There are no delays at the border and no impact on traveller experience.

- For those travelling by air, no information exchange is necessary between the two countries because each country will independently collect what they need directly from airline passenger manifests.

- The process of collecting and sharing personal information has been, and will continue to be done, in accordance with each country's privacy laws and policies.

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Backgrounder

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Backgrounder

Entry/Exit initiative

The Government of Canada remains committed to a strong, secure, and efficient border with the United States.

Current situation

Today, the Government of Canada collects biographic information on travellers entering the country, but has no reliable way of knowing when and where travellers leave the country.

Canada and the United States (U.S.) are exchanging biographic entry information on third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. at land ports of entry. Entry into one country serves as an exit record from the other.

Both countries are securely sharing entry records of approximately 16,000 to 19,000 travellers daily. This collection and exchange has proven to be seamless to the traveller. There are no delays at the border and no impact on traveller experience.

However, Canada does not have a complete picture of who has left the country since the exchange of information is limited to non-citizens of Canada and the U.S. and is limited to the land mode.

The proposed changes to collect basic departure information (found on page 2 of a passport) on all travellers will strengthen the security and integrity of Canada's border. These changes will not impact the movement of legitimate travel (i.e. no anticipated delays at the border).

Benefits of the Entry/Exit initiative

This initiative to collect basic exit information builds off the commitment made during Canada's state visit to Washington, where Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama announced that both countries would further deepen the longstanding cooperation along our shared border. It also aligns Canada with international partners who have or are in the process of implementing exit systems.

The initiative will benefit Canadians by strengthening the efficiency and security of our shared border. It will enable the CBSA and its federal government partners to:

  • Respond to the outbound movement of known high-risk travellers and their goods prior to their actual departure from Canada by air (i.e. fugitives of justice, registered sex offenders, human/drug smugglers, exporters of illicit goods, etc.);
  • Respond more effectively in time sensitive situations such as responding to Amber Alerts and helping find abducted children or runaways;
  • Help prevent the illegal export of controlled, regulated or prohibited goods from Canada;
  • Identify individuals who do not leave Canada at the end of their authorized period of stay (i.e. visa overstays) and provide decision-makers with an accurate picture of an individual's travel history;
  • Focus immigration enforcement activities on persons still in Canada and eliminate wasted time and resources spent on issuing immigration warrants and conducting investigations on individuals who have already left the country;
  • Verify whether applicants for permanent residency or citizenship have complied with residency requirements; and
  • Verify travel dates to determine applicable duty and tax exemptions and continued entitlement to social benefit programs.

Privacy safeguards and information sharing to better protect Canadians

The Government of Canada is committed to keeping Canadians safe while protecting individual rights and freedoms and has built privacy protections into the core of the Entry/Exit initiative.

Exit information will only be disclosed in accordance with Canadian law, and would adhere to the disclosure provisions pursuant to both the Privacy Act and the Customs Act.

Information sharing arrangements must be in place between the CBSA and all partners before any information can be shared. These arrangements would include safeguards and protections on information management and privacy protection clauses.

The Government will continue to engage the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) on the Entry/Exit initiative. All federal partners are required to submit Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) to the OPC to ensure that potential privacy risks are identified and effectively mitigated before personal information is disclosed by the CBSA.

Future deliverables

Once this legislation is passed, Canada will now know when and where someone enters the country, and when and where they leave the country.

The Government of Canada will achieve this ability by working closely with our American counterparts and exchanging information at the land border.

Legislative and regulatory changes are required before future deliverables can be fully implemented.

Future deliverables would include the exchange of basic biographic entry data on all travellers (including Canadian and U.S. citizens) with the U.S. at land ports of entry.

The process of collecting and sharing personal information has been, and will continue to be, done in accordance with each country's privacy laws and policies.

The CBSA would also collect biographic exit information on all air travellers leaving Canada. Exit records in the air mode would be obtained through electronic passenger manifests received directly from air carriers.

The CBSA would not exchange passenger manifest information collected in the air mode with the U.S.

Stakeholder consultation will be undertaken as part of the regulatory development process to ensure Canadians and industry stakeholders have the opportunity to submit their views and comments.

Definitions

Biographic entry information (land mode)

Biographic information includes: first name, middle name(s), last name, date of birth, citizenship or nationality, sex, travel document type, document number, and name of the country that issued the travel document. In addition to the biographic information that Canada and the U.S. currently collect on travellers at ports of entry, the date and time of entry, as well as the port through which the traveller entered, will be exchanged as part of the Entry/Exit initiative.

Biographic exit information (air mode)

Biographic information includes: first name, middle name(s), last name, date of birth, citizenship or nationality, sex, travel document type, document number, and name of the country that issued the travel document. In addition, the date, time, and location of departure as well as flight information will be collected from air carriers for passengers leaving Canada on board outbound international flights.

Contact Information

  • Canada Border Services Agency
    Media Line
    613-957-6500