Entry/Exit initiative

Backgrounder

The Government of Canada remains committed to a strong, secure, and efficient border with the United States (U.S.), while protecting individual privacy and rights.

Canada collects basic biographic information on travellers who enter and leave the country by land to ensure complete travel history information is available, thereby strengthening the management of our border.

Biographic entry information is routinely collected directly from all travellers entering Canada upon presentation to a CBSA officer at a port of entry as part of the primary inspection process. Canada also collects exit information for those who leave the country by land (i.e. land mode). With the coming into force of Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, and associated regulations, Canada receives biographic entry information from the U.S. on all travellers who enter the U.S. through a land border crossing, thereby enabling the creation of a Canadian exit record.

Regulatory amendments for collecting information on persons who travel by air (i.e. air mode) are expected to come into force in Summer 2020. Once fully implemented, Canada will collect basic exit information directly from air carriers through passenger manifests. Exit information collected in the air mode will not be shared with the U.S.

The collection of exit information enhances the CBSA’s ability to manage border security by closing the loop on an individual's travel history. This allows the CBSA to focus efforts and resources towards travellers of unknown or higher risk.

The collection and exchange of basic biographic information is seamless to the traveller and does not impact the traveller experience.

In addition, Bill C-21 includes new authorities for CBSA officers to ask any person leaving Canada to present themselves to a CBSA officer if they are requested to do so, and answer questions asked by the officer in the performance of their duties. CBSA officers will also be able to examine goods that are to be exported at any time up to the time of exportation.

Benefits of the Entry/Exit initiative

The Entry/Exit initiative aligns Canada with its international partners who have or are in the process of implementing entry-exit systems. The initiative will benefit Canadians by strengthening the efficiency and security of the Canada-U.S. 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.); 
  • Address time sensitive situations more effectively, such as responding to Amber Alerts and helping find abducted children or runaways; 
  • 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 complete travel history; 
  • Focus immigration enforcement activities on persons still in Canada by eliminating 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;
  • Verify travel dates to determine applicable duty and tax exemptions and continued entitlement to social benefit programs; and
  • Help prevent the illegal export of controlled, regulated or prohibited goods from Canada.

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 be collected, used and disclosed in accordance with Canadian law, including the Privacy Act, the Customs Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have signed an information sharing memorandum of understanding, which includes safeguards and protections on the sharing of biographic entry data. Information sharing arrangements will also be put in place between the CBSA and its federal partners before any exit information is shared with them.

Stakeholder Consultation

Stakeholder consultation was undertaken as part of the regulatory development process to ensure Canadians and industry stakeholders had the opportunity to submit their views and comments prior to the publication and implementation of the Exit Information Regulations in the land mode.

What information is collected?

Biographic entry information (land mode)

Entry information includes biographic information such as:

·         first name,

·         middle name,

·         last name,

·         date of birth,

·         nationality,

·         sex,

·         travel document type,

·         travel 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 is collected by each country, and are exchanged to create exit records.

Exit information

Exit information includes biographic elements such as:

·         first name,

·         middle name(s),

·         last name,

·         date of birth,

·         citizenship or nationality,

·         sex,

·         travel document type,

·         travel document number, and

·         name of the country that issued the travel document.

In the land mode, information collected includes the date and time of exit, as well as the port through which the traveller exited the country.

In the future, in the air mode, the date, time, and location of departure, as well as flight information, will be collected from air carriers for passengers leaving Canada on outbound international flights but will not be shared with the U.S.

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