According to The Globe and Mail, data sharing regarding travellers’ entries and exits between Canada and the United States is making immigration infractions easier for Canada to catch. This information is being shared based on a 2011 continental security pact and includes travel done on land. The government has over a thousand potential infractions to investigate based on this info. In additional to non-immigration uses, the federal government is using this information – which includes the traveller’s name, nationality, date of birth, gender, where their travelling documents were issued, and when and where they crossed the border – to determine who is staying past the end of their visas, as well as whether new immigrants are meeting their residency requirements. The initial stages of this information sharing have been limited to exit records from the U.S., and foreign nationals and permanent residents but not citizens. That said, new legislation could expand data to Canadians entering the States. The long-term plan is to also collect information on those leaving Canada by plane (though this information would not be part of the exchange with the U.S.).
Although the Canadian government finds this increased knowledge useful for ensuring that visa holders comply with the law, some, including the NDP, are concerned that this lack of privacy could lead to problems, given its invasive nature and the possibility of errors in data collection and interpretation. Some are calling for an opportunity for those whose data is being recorded to be able to review and correct any mistakes. Sharing this information with the U.S. is also causing concern. How the expanded info sharing and tracking will ultimately affect Canadian immigrants is as yet uncertain.
If you have any concerns about whether you are following the directions of your travel documents correctly or would like to start the process of coming to Canada, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also invite you to read our previous blog on this topic located at http://milmantasimmigration.com/expansion-five-eyes.