Royal Assent of Bill C-21 strengthens border management
The Government of Canada remains committed to a strong, secure, and efficient border with the United States (U.S.), while protecting our privacy and rights.
Today, Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, received Royal Assent. It provides the authority to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to collect basic biographic information on all travellers departing Canada by land and air. This initiative will help Canada make better, timely decisions on border management, law enforcement, national security, citizenship applications, immigration, and social services.
It will be a seamless experience for travellers. Once the regulations and information sharing arrangements are in place, Canada and the United States will be able to exchange basic biographic entry data on all travellers entering into one country at the land border, so that entry into one country serves as an exit record from the other. In the air mode, once the Entry/Exit initiative is fully implemented, Canada will collect basic exit information directly from air carriers through passenger manifests.
Information will be collected, used and disclosed in accordance with the Privacy Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The use of exit information is restricted to specific purposes by law.
“Knowing when an individual has entered or left the country is a crucial aspect of effective border management. The Entry/Exit initiative will help us better manage our border, combat cross-border threats, ensure the integrity of our immigration system and protect our social programs—with all the robust safeguards Canadians expect.”
– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Currently, basic biographic entry information is exchanged with the U.S. on foreign nationals and permanent residents who cross at a land border. Canada also provides the U.S. with basic biographic entry information on U.S. citizens and nationals.
Once the regulations and information sharing arrangements are fully in place, basic exit information will be collected to provide a complete picture of an individual's travel history (i.e., both entry and exit records) for all travellers, including Canadians.
Information sharing arrangements will include safeguards and protections on information management and privacy protection clauses.
Exit legislation aligns Canada with its international partners, including the United States, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, who have, or are in the process of, implementing entry-exit information systems.
People lawfully collecting social benefits will not be affected. Anyone who has spent at least 20 years in Canada after age 18 is entitled to receive the Old Age Security pension regardless of what country they live in.
Canada Border Services Agency
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