Guidelines for sharing citizenship client information

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Guidelines for sharing client information between citizenship officers and either immigration or CBSA officers. See also ENF 4, Section 9.5 – Citizenship record searches.

Disclosure of personal information is permissible under Section 8(2)(a) of the Privacy Act. Personal information pertaining to the individual's citizenship file may be shared with immigration and CBSA officers, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, provided that it is for a purpose consistent with or directly related to the purpose(s) for which it was collected or is in accordance with any Act of Parliament that authorizes its disclosure.

Original purpose and consistent use

Section 8(2)(a) of the Privacy Act provides that personal information may be disclosed for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the institution or for a use consistent with that purpose.

In determining if disclosure falls under consistent use, it is important to consider the department's lines of business. CIC's mandate includes all matters relating to the administration of the programs and policies of citizenship and immigration that are not assigned by law to other departments, branches or agencies of government.

More specifically, Personal Information Bank CIC-PPU-050 in Info Source defines the purpose and consistent use with respect to personal information on the application and assessment for Canadian citizenship as follows:

"For the purpose of administering the Citizenship Act and Regulations and other related Acts and for the purpose of confirming the Canadian citizenship status of individuals, information may be shared with the CBSA, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) for the purpose of conducting security reviews or investigations related to Immigration legislation...and the Immigration Program."

A routine example of consistent use is the disclosure of personal information to the RCMP and CSIS in the form of applications for the grant of citizenship in order to obtain criminal and security clearances. In this case, information is being disclosed to ensure that the individual fulfills specific requirements of the Citizenship Act.

A test of whether a proposed use or disclosure is "consistent" might be whether the individual who provided the information would reasonably expect it to be used in the proposed manner. This means that the original purpose and the proposed purpose are so closely related that the individual would expect it to be used for the consistent purpose, even if the use is not spelled out.

While the Privacy Act provides the latitude for a citizenship officer to share personal information pertaining to an individual's citizenship file with an immigration or CBSA officer, as a rule of thumb, only the information that is needed to continue the process should be provided. Where disclosure is not based on a consistent use identified in the Personal Information Bank CIC-PPU-050, officers should seek the advice of Public Rights Administration.

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