Canada recently released more details on what information border officers collect from travellers, who can access the information, and more on data protection and rules for disclosure.
Canada’s Entry/Exit Program allows the border to collect basic traveller information and share it with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The immigration department uses the information to verify how many days an immigration applicant stayed in Canada. The information is used to verify residency requirements for applications for permanent residence, work permits, study permits, and Canadian citizenship applications.
Canada and the U.S. have been exchanging biographic entry information on all travellers at the land border since July 11, 2019, though the program started in February 2019. They use the record of a traveller’s entry into one country to establish the exit from the other. Recently the program was extended to air travellers as well, however, this exit information is not regularly shared with the U.S.
Data is not yet being collected for travellers entering and exiting Canada by marine ports or by rail.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) collects basic information of travellers who pass through the border.
The basic information they collect includes:
CBSA is the owner of the data and as such all authorized border personnel can access exit information. These border personnel include:
IRCC only retains the Entry/Exit information of a candidate who is applying for immigration.
The immigration department uses Entry/Exit information to:
IRCC officers are not allowed to disclose entry and exit information unless it is necessary for the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and it is covered under an existing information-sharing agreement, such as a Memorandum of Understanding.
“Any disclosure that is not explicitly covered under an existing agreement must be governed by CBSA,” the government’s website says.
Travellers have the right to request a copy of their personal travel history, and they can request a correction if they find any errors. IRCC will be notified if a traveller requests a correction to their passage information, and they are able to re-query CBSA to get the most up-to-date information.
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