Status Report on Transformational and Major Crown Projects

Expanding Biometric Screening in Canada’s Immigration System (Biometrics Expansion Project)

Project name:

Expanding Biometric Screening in Canada’s Immigration System (Biometrics Expansion Project)


Between 2013 and 2015, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced biometric technology to enhance the screening of temporary resident applicants from 30 nationalities through the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project (TRBP).

In November 2014, the decision was made to expand biometric screening and verification to all temporary resident visa, work permit, study permit and temporary resident permit applications (excluding American nationals) and permanent resident applicants. This includes: systematic verification of fingerprints of these travellers through self-service kiosks upon arrival at Canada’s major airports; expanding the capacity for verification at more ports of entry; and introducing biometric enrolment services at select ports of entry and in Canada. To inform decision making, the project also includes increased automated biometric information sharing with the U.S. and implementation of automated biometric information sharing with the other Migration 5 partners. Formerly known as the Five Country Conference, Migration 5 is made up of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The costs of expanding biometric screening will be fully recovered through the existing biometric fee.

Project outcomes:

Building on the TRBP and the Beyond the Border Action Plan, the project supports the government’s international engagement and security priorities as biometrics and information sharing help make Canada and the world safer and more secure. The project also supports the government’s service delivery priorities given the expansion of service delivery channels and the facilitated movement of admissible individuals.

The use of biometrics as an identity management tool helps supplement existing biographic checks and significantly reduces the chance that one individual could pose as or be mistaken for another individual. Immigration and border services officers will know with greater certainty if an immigration applicant undergoing biometric screening has a Canadian criminal record, made an asylum claim in Canada, was previously deported from Canada, submitted an immigration application in the past or has used a different biographic identity.

Biometrics will also provide border services officers with greater certainty that an individual who was granted authorization to enter Canada is the one actually seeking entry. Over time, biometrics will also facilitate legitimate travel by:

  • Strengthening identity management for informed admissibility decision making: The expanded collection and screening of biometric information will add a more secure and reliable identity element to a wider range of applicants. Immigration information sharing with Migration 5 partners will further enhance identity management by providing officers with more information to confirm an applicant’s identity and detect cases of identity fraud or inadmissibility.
  • Denying inadmissible individuals entry into, or permission to remain in, Canada: Broader fingerprint collection at the application stage will allow for more applicants to be screened against records of known criminals, past refugee claimants, persons previously deported and previous immigration applicants. This will assist officers in the admissibility decision-making process at the application stage. Immigration information sharing will also contribute further to admissibility screening by providing officers with access to a wider range of immigration data including valuable identity and admissibility information held by the immigration authorities of Migration 5 partner countries.
  • Facilitating movement of admissible individuals into Canada: The expanded collection, screening, verification and sharing of biometrics will simplify confirmation of a traveller’s identity, reduce the need for more in-depth questioning at the application and arrival stages and facilitate the processing of low-risk returning applicants both overseas and upon arrival in Canada.

Industrial benefits:

The Biometrics Expansion Project will contribute to improving the safety and security of Canadian citizens by facilitating entry to legitimate travellers who contribute to Canada’s economic growth and support Canadian industry while deterring and detecting individuals who pose a risk to Canada’s security and economic and social prosperity.

Sponsoring department: IRCC

Contracting authority: Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)

Participating departments:

  • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA);
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP);
  • Shared Services Canada (SSC); and
  • Service Canada.

Prime contractors:

  • Fujitsu Consulting (Canada) Inc., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – Technical Solution;
  • VF Worldwide Holdings Ltd, Port Louis, Mauritius – Service Delivery;
  • Computer Sciences Canada Inc., Kanata, Ontario, Canada – Service Delivery;
  • Gemalto, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. – Technical Solution; and
  • Safran Identity and Security, Oakville, Ontario, Canada – Technical Solution.

Major subcontractors:

  • Aware Inc., Bedford, Massachusetts, U.S.A. – Technical Solution;
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM), Geneva, Switzerland – Service Delivery; and
  • CSRA LLC – Falls Church, Virginia, U.S.A. – Service Delivery.

Project phase:

The Biometrics Expansion is currently completing Phase 2 (Development) activities and began Phase 3 (Deployment) in 2017.

Major milestones:

The project will be implemented in three phases before transitioning to steady state operations upon project close in November 2019.

  • Phase 1 (Planning), completed in March 2017: In this phase, the project developed preliminary strategies and plans for defining, building and deploying the expanded biometric solution and enhanced information sharing.
  • Phase 2 (Development), to be completed by July 2019: In this phase, requirements for the project will be detailed, and plans for defining, building and deploying the expanded biometric solution and information sharing will be finalized. Design and development to implement the enabling technology will start and business change activities will commence to prepare stakeholders for changes introduced by the Biometrics Expansion project. The implementation of the in-Canada service channel is also part of Phase 2 and the completion date has been extended to July 2019. The major milestone for this phase was the completion and publication of regulatory changes for information-sharing agreements with Migration 5 partners, in May 2017.
  • Phase 3 (Deployment), to be completed by November 2019: In this phase, the biometric solution and supporting infrastructure will be finalized. Implementation of the communications plan will prepare clients, partners and other stakeholders for the expansion of biometric screening and information sharing. Major milestones include:
    • April 2017: biometric-based information sharing commenced with Australia;
    • March 2018: biometric-based information sharing commenced with New Zealand;
    • July 2018: regulatory changes for expanded authority to collect biometric information from additional nationalities and business lines are to be completed and published;
    • July 2018: increased biometric-based information sharing with the United States will coincide with the first coming into force date;
    • July 31, 2018: first coming into force of the expanded biometrics regulations, which will affect foreign nationals from Europe, Africa and the Middle East;
    • November 2018: biometric enrolment at new overseas visa application centres to commence;
    • December 31, 2018: second coming into force of the expanded biometrics regulations, which will affect foreign nationals from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas;
    • March 2019: systematic fingerprint verification at major airports to commence; and
    • November 2019: opening of Visa Application Centres in Europe, Africa and Middle East under the new contract.

Ongoing operations: As the Biometrics Expansion Project becomes operational, ongoing support will be required to ensure successful implementation, as well as service delivery. It is anticipated that this will be fully operational by 2020–21.

Progress report and explanation of variances:

  • Initial funding for the Biometrics Expansion Project was announced in Budget 2015. In June 2015, new funding of $312.6 million over five years was approved, with $103.2 million ongoing.
  • Planning objectives set out in Phase 1 were achieved in March 2017. Phase 2 Development objectives are under way and are expected to be completed by July 2019. The start of Phase 3 was delayed from March to May 2017 and will be completed by November 2019.
  • The regulatory changes for information sharing with Migration 5 partners was finalized and published in April 2017, and systematic information sharing with Australia was launched in April 2017.
  • The project has experienced some delays with the establishment of the “In-Canada” and overseas biometric enrolment services as well as information sharing with the United Kingdom.
    • The “In-Canada” service, originally planned for April 2017, experienced challenges as Service Canada requires mandate authority—through legislative amendments to the Department of Employment and Social Development Act—in order to collect biometric information from IRCC clients. The service is now expected to be in place by July 2019.
    • Challenges related to Visa Application Centre (VAC) procurement have delayed full deployment of the VACs and completion of the project to November 2019, eight months later than the originally planned project end date of March 2019.
    • Information sharing with the United Kingdom has been delayed as a result of the UK decision to leave the European Union (commonly known as “Brexit”) and UK-related technology dependencies. Canada and the UK are negotiating a new date to begin systematic information sharing.
  • Despite the aforementioned delays, the project is still on track to deliver the expanded biometrics and information sharing requirements and to meet expected business outcomes.
  • In March 2016, May and December 2017 and June 2018, additional authorities were granted as a result of revised assumptions and further substantiation of costs. The total funding required over five years rose from $330.5 million to $351.7 million (excluding HST) and project authority increased from $146.7 million to $176.1 million (including HST). The increased project costs are mainly attributable to the inclusion of scope and associated funding from the Immigration Information Sharing project, an increase in projected volumes which resulted in the increase of biometric equipment requirements and the need for a more robust deployment strategy. The project cost increase is also resulting from adjustments to accommodate information sharing changes with Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the VAC Network Management project as well as delays in establishing “In-Canada” and overseas biometric enrolment services as outlined above.
  • Ongoing costs increased by $10.3 million, from $110.1 million to $120.4 million mostly due to an increase in projected volumes.

Passport Program Modernization Initiative

Project name: Passport Program Modernization Initiative (PPMI)


The PPMI is a business-driven change project focused on modernizing the Passport Program’s current issuance system. It involves the three departments that have roles and responsibilities in the Government of Canada’s Passport Program: IRCC, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

To address pressures in the Passport Program’s operating environment, the PPMI is focused on achieving three objectives:

  1. Strengthening the integrity and security of the Passport Program
  2. Improving the efficiency of the Passport Program
  3. Increasing access to passport services for Canadians

IRCC, ESDC and GAC are working together to establish one set of integrated business requirements for modernizing the program’s issuance system which involves both domestic and international service delivery.

Project outcomes:

  • A new passport issuance system that uses the Global Case Management System (GCMS) for processing and that replaces an end-of-life system;
  • Tools to expedite data entry and end-to-end processing that will enable efficient operations (for instance, automated intake tools);
  • Deployment for domestic passport operations;
  • Availability of the data required for advanced analytics and reporting capabilities; and
  • Building a foundation for a future client-centric service delivery model for Canadians.

Industrial benefits: N/A

Sponsoring department: IRCC

Contracting authority: IRCC

Participating departments:

  • ESDC
  • GAC
  • SSC

Prime contractor: N/A

Major subcontractors: N/A

Project phase: Phase 2 B (Business Transformation Planning)

Major milestones:

  • December 2013: PPMI received project authority to replace the passport issuance system, introduce online passport service for Canadians, and modernize business processes.
  • November 2015: After an initial deployment of a passport module in IRCC’s GCMS at Service Canada, deployment was halted until productivity at intake could be improved and privacy issues could be addressed.
  • May 2016: Funding was approved for implementation, business process re-engineering, planning and development of future launches.
  • Oct 2016: Use of GCMS for passport processing resumed under a controlled testing environment in order to run time and motion studies, test quality assurance and identify workflow optimization.
  • June 2017: Funding approval was received to extend PPMI to December 2018 with a condition of two checkpoints in November 2017 and April 2018.

Progress report and explanation of variances:

  • In December 2013, project authority was approved in the amount of $101.2 million.
  • In May 2015, additional project authorities were granted for a total of $176 million.
  • Full allocation of the approved project authority is expected in December 2018.
  • Phase 2 B (business transformation) is currently under way.
  • Phase 3 (phased implementation) will begin in December 2018.
  • Completion of the project is expected by September 2021.

ePassport Next Generation

Project name: ePassport Next Generation


A procurement process has been launched to secure a new contract for the supply of the next generation Canadian ePassport. The new contract includes a design strategy for the suite of travel documents and a new personalization solution.

Project outcomes:

The ePassport Next Generation Project will attain the following outcomes:

  • Secure booklet design will heighten Canadians’ confidence in the Passport Program;
  • Overall security of the passport will be improved; and
  • Enhanced technology will be employed.

Together, these outcomes will support the ultimate outcomes of managed migration and facilitated travel that promote Canadian interests and protect the health, safety and security of Canadians.

Industrial benefits:

The project team has worked to ensure the new contract is solid and future-proofed to meet the constantly evolving requirements for global travel. The project has provided the Passport Program with an opportunity to re-evaluate key aspects of the next generation ePassport solution, including more secure personalization technology, advanced travel document security features, and a five-year document design cycle that is synchronized with the contract lifecycle. Furthermore, the Request for Proposals stipulates that the Supplier is required to manufacture the suite of travel documents in Canada and must provide a robust maintenance and support plan.

Sponsoring department: IRCC

Contracting authority: PSPC

Participating departments: ESDC and GAC

Prime contractor: To be determined (May 2019)

Major subcontractors: To be determined (May 2019)

Project phase:

During 2017–18, the IRCC project team led the ePassport Next Generation working group and focused on the development of the Statement of Requirements, which is the core of the Request for Proposals. The project is currently nearing the end of Phase 2, with the most recent activity being the release of the Request for Proposals to Qualified Suppliers on April 27, 2018. Two activities remain in this phase, the evaluation process and contract award.

Major milestones:

Phase 1:

  • Request for Information (October 2016)
  • Granted Project Authority and Expenditure Authority for Phase Two: Definition Phase activities (June 2017)
  • Project Charter and Scope (May, June 2017)

Phase 2:

  • Invitation to Qualify (October 2017)
  • Draft Request for Proposal (December 2017)
  • Final Request for Proposals sent to Pre-Qualified Suppliers (April 2018)
  • Request for Proposal – Evaluation Process (summer 2018)
  • Contract Award (2019)

Progress report and explanation of variances:

The ePassport Next Generation Project was initially approved at an estimated cost of $115 million (including HST). This project is funded by the $500 million Investment Fund. Expenditure authority was also approved for Phase 2 (Definition Phase) of the project, at an estimated substantive cost of $17.9 million (including HST), in June 2017.

In 2017-18, the approved expenditure authority for Phase 2 was $7.3 million of which $3.3 million was spent, resulting in a surplus of $4.0 million. The above unused expenditure authority of $4.0 million for 2017-18 is mainly attributable to unused funding of $3.3 million primarily under three activities: Project Management Support, Policy, Entitlement Instruments, Procedures and Agreements, and Procurement as well as the unused contingency of $0.7 million. Surplus funding has been returned to the Reserve and provides flexibility for future requirements/activities to be completed for Phase II (the total remaining Phase II expenditure authority is $14.6 million).

Over the past year, IRCC chaired the working group that was tasked with developing the Statement of Requirements in partnership with key stakeholders from ESDC, GAC, PSPC, CBSA, Public Safety Canada, the RCMP and the Communications Security Establishment Canada.

The ePassport Next Generation Project is achieving defined performance objectives due to efforts of the project team and key stakeholders which have resulted in strengthened relationships and efficient collaboration.

The draft Request for Proposal was distributed to pre-qualified suppliers in December 2017, giving them an opportunity to review the requirements and provide comments. This feedback was considered by key stakeholders and integrated as appropriate to inform the final Request for Proposal. The final Request for Proposal underwent a comprehensive review by key stakeholders and was disseminated to pre-qualified suppliers on April 27, 2018.

Bid submissions will undergo a technical evaluation, a financial assessment and a Proof of Proposal process. The contract will be awarded to the winning bidder in 2019–20.

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