Evaluation of the Biometrics (Steady State) and Canada-United States Immigration Information Sharing (IIS) Initiatives

Research and Evaluation Branch

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Certain sections containing sensitive information have been redacted in accordance with the principles of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

October 2019

Ref. No.: E4-2017

Table of contents

List of tables

Table 1
Biometrics: Applicant intake and matches returned from the RCMP’s RTID system
Table 2
Biometric and Biographic IIS with the US: Applicant intake and matches returned
Table E1
Contribution of Biometrics to Safety, Security and Immigration Program Integrity in Canada
Table E2
Contribution of IIS with the US to Safety, Security and Immigration Program Integrity in Canada
Table F1
Presence of formal avenues for discussion
Table F2
Presence of informal avenues for discussion
Table F3
Need for more formal avenues for discussion
Table F4
Effectiveness of avenues for discussion
Table G1
Extent to which Biometrics are Valuable to Decision-Making
Table G2
Extent to which IIS with the US is Valuable to Decision-Making

List of acronyms

ASC
Application Support Centre
BAU
Biometrics Assessment Unit
BOSU
Biometrics Operational Support Unit
BSO
Border Services Officer
CBSA
Canada Border Services Agency
CCRTIS
Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services
CISU
Centralized Information Sharing Unit
CIBIDS
Canadian Immigration Biometric Identification System
CN
Centralized Network
DN
Domestic Network
GCMS
Global Case Management System
GoC
Government of Canada
IRB
Immigration and Refugee Board
IRPA
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
IRPR
Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
IIS
Immigration Information Sharing
IPGB
Immigration Program Guidance Branch
IRCC
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
IT
Information Technology
IN
International Network
MOU
Memorandum of Understanding
M5
Migration 5
MO
Migration Officer
OPC
Office of the Privacy Commissioner
OB
Operational Bulletin
OPPB
Operations Planning and Performance Branch
OGD
Other Government Department
PR
Permanent Residence
POE
Port of Entry
PIL
Primary Inspection Line
PIK
Primary Inspection Kiosk
PDI
Program Delivery Instructions
RTID
Real Time Identification
RCMP
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
SI
Secondary Inspection
SLA
Service Level Agreement
SSC
Shared Services Canada
SIMB
Solutions Information Management Branch
SOP
Standard Operating Procedure
TR
Temporary Resident
TRBP
Temporary Resident Biometrics Project
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UN Refugee Agency)
US
United States
VAC
Visa Application Centre

Executive summary

Purpose of the evaluation

This report presents the findings of the evaluation of the Biometrics (Steady State) and Canada-United States (US) Immigration Information Sharing (IIS) Initiatives. The evaluation examined the relevance and performance of these initiatives, with a focus on their ongoing operations between 2014 and 2017. Expansion activities in relation to the Biometrics and IIS initiatives were not assessed as part of the evaluation. However, considerations to inform expansion efforts are presented.

The evaluation was conducted in fulfillment of commitments made within the Biometrics and IIS Treasury Board Submissions and Performance Measurement Strategies, as well as evaluation requirements of the Treasury Board 2016 Policy on Results. The evaluation was led by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and conducted in collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Overview of the initiatives

Both Biometrics and IIS with the US are mechanisms used within the context of identity management and immigration decision-making to better establish the identity of foreign nationals seeking entry into in Canada, and to obtain otherwise unknown information on applicants to aid in determining admissibility.

Biometrics

The biometrics currently collected by Canada are comprised of a digital photograph and fingerprints, as well as associated biographic information.

Once collected, biometrics are searched against the RCMP’s Real Time Identification (RTID) system for match information related to previous criminality and immigration history in Canada, and then stored in the RTID system. Biometric information is also verified to confirm the identity of visa holders upon arrival at Canadian ports of entry (POE).

Canada-US IIS

In 2011, under the Beyond the Border Action Plan, Canada and the US committed to establishing automated immigration information sharing capabilities in order to improve immigration and border determinations, establish and verify the identities of travelers, and conduct screening at the earliest possible opportunity to strengthen the screening of foreign nationals. Under systematic IIS with the US, Canada exchanges immigration information using two types of queries: Biographic (based on elements such as name, date, country of birth and gender) and Biometric (based on fingerprints).

At the time of the evaluation:

Expansion

At the time of the evaluation, efforts to expand Canada’s Biometrics and IIS initiatives were well underway, and many of the key commitments under the Expansion project had already been implemented. While not assessed as part of the evaluation, some important accomplishments of Expansion are outlined below.

Summary of conclusions and recommendations:

In sum, the evaluation found that the Biometrics and Canada-US IIS initiatives are well aligned with domestic and international security priorities, as well as with Canada’s objectives under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The initiatives provide important tools for Canada’s identity management, immigration and border decision-making processes, and play an important role in protecting the integrity of Canada’s immigration and refugee programs, as well as in maintaining public and partner confidence in these efforts.

The evaluation focused on results related to the ongoing operations of these initiatives with a view to informing the Biometrics Expansion project. With this in mind, the conclusions highlight key findings from the evaluation of Biometrics (Steady State) and IIS with the US, while providing considerations within the context of Expansion, and presenting recommendations for the way forward with this work.

Biometrics and IIS with the US for immigration decision-making: Use and capacity

The evaluation found that Biometrics and IIS with the US have been contributing to identity management and decision-making, largely at the application stage, for Canada’s TR and refugee programs. Biometrics provide objective, reliable information to establish and confirm a client’s identity, and IIS with the US provides access to a larger system of records to help confirm a client’s identity and travel history. Both also provide information on potential criminal, security and immigration risks associated with the client. Correspondingly, the evaluation found added benefits for officers as result of having this information for decision-making, and highlighted its contribution to enhancing Canada’s safety and security, and detecting abuse/fraud in the immigration program.

However, the evaluation also revealed challenges with the functional guidance, training and support available, and with interpreting derogatory information returned through IIS with the US. It found that quality assurance related to using this information for decision-making has been limited, and that the equipment, IT systems and network supporting their use are not always reliable. As the amount of biometric and IIS information to review increases with Expansion, it will be important to ensure that officers are well supported to use this information, and that mechanisms are in place to ensure that they are using it effectively and efficiently in decision-making for clients.

Recommendation 1: IRCC should, in consultation with partners, review and enhance functional guidance and training related to Biometrics and IIS and put in place a Quality Assurance Strategy to monitor the use of this information in immigration decision-making.

Recommendation 2: IRCC should identify and prioritize technical issues related to the Biometrics and IIS equipment, IT systems, network and support, and put in place a plan to address these issues where feasible.

Biometrics and IIS with the US for immigration decision-making: Refugee context

The evaluation found that Biometrics and IIS with the US have been useful to decision-making for both the asylum and resettlement contexts and play an important role in supporting identity management and program integrity, particularly for the asylum system. However, the evaluation also revealed areas for improvement, unique to the asylum and resettlement contexts:

Recommendation 3: IRCC should, in collaboration with CBSA and the IRB, put in place a strategy to improve coordination, information sharing and support for the use of Biometrics and IIS in the asylum context.

Recommendation 4: IRCC should develop options for biometric information sharing on resettled refugee applicants with the UNHCR, and implement a selected option to enhance identity management in the resettlement context.

Biometric verification at POEs: Use and capacity

The evaluation found that the approach to biometric verification largely relied on the digital photographs, and not fingerprints, during the reporting period for the evaluation. Photograph verification was mandatory for all biometric-related passages, while fingerprint verification was discretionary at eight major airport POEs equipped under the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project (TRBP). BSOs were instructed to refer clients for fingerprint verification if there were identity concerns after a visual inspection of their biometric photograph. Correspondingly, only 4.4% of biometric-related passages at these POEs were biometrically verified through fingerprints.

However, fingerprint verification is becoming automated at PIKs at ten airports through Biometrics Expansion and the PIK initiative. It is also being expanded to additional POEs on a discretionary basis at Secondary Inspection through Biometrics Expansion. Expansion of the capacity to verify biometrics at POEs, and in particular SFV, will take fuller advantage of the biometric tools available, and is expected to further strengthen identity management at POEs.

The evaluation also found that many Border Services Officers (BSOs) were not aware of functional guidance related to biometric verification, and that they tended to learn how to verify biometrics through informal ways rather than training. Furthermore, there were no quality assurance mechanisms in place to monitor their decision-making in the biometric verification process. Given the increased client volumes that will come with Expansion, there is a need to disseminate adequate guidance on biometric verification to support effective decision-making at POEs.

Recommendation 5: CBSA should review, enhance and promote functional guidance, training and support for biometric verification.

Biometric enrolment: Service coverage and accessibility

At the time of the evaluation, most biometric enrolment was conducted abroad by Visa Application Centers (VACs). While VAC country coverage was generally adequate for clients from the 29 countries and one territory subject to this requirement, there was an indication of possible gaps related to the proximity of service locations. As the evaluation did not directly capture information on the client experience related to biometric enrolment, challenges related to service coverage were based on the perspectives of IRCC representatives.

Biometrics expansion is extending the enrolment requirement to TR and PR client populations from all countries applying from abroad and within Canada. With more and more clients being impacted by biometric enrolment, it will be critical to better understand the client experience with respect to service coverage and accessibility.

Recommendation 6: IRCC should put in place a strategy to measure and monitor the quality of client services related to biometric enrolment, taking into account enrolment services provided abroad, as well as those eventually provided in Canada.

Evaluation of the Biometrics – MRAP

Recommendation Response Action Accountability Implementation Date

Recommendation 1:

IRCC should, in consultation with partners, review and enhance functional guidance and training related to Biometrics and IIS and put in place a Quality Assurance Strategy to monitor the use of this information in immigration decision-making.

IRCC agrees with this recommendation.

Effective and efficient training, functional guidance and Program Delivery Instructions (PDIs) are a top priority for IRCC. As part of the recent Biometrics Expansion Project (Bio-X) the existing training, functional guidance and PDIs were reviewed in an effort to align existing direction with changes taking place. Two major PDI updates were conducted as part of Bio-X, in addition to several smaller updates: a webinar, related to assessing and interpreting partner results, was also delivered to all Operations officers in December 2018.

Action 1A: Develop and issue guidance around partner immigration processes and codes that will help IRCC officers better understand and apply the result of IIS in a consistent manner. Lead:
IPG – Biometrics Program Division (BPD)
Q2 2020/21
IRCC is working with M5 partners, in its ongoing operations, on developing better guidance around partner immigration processes and codes, which will allow officers to better apply information sharing results in their processing. Action 1B: Integrate updated biometric collection and M5 information-sharing training into IRCC’s officer training programs. Lead
IPG – BPD
Q2 2020/21
As part of its implementation of a quality assurance strategy, IRCC has been considering monitoring the use of information through aggregate reporting and is exploring ways to obtain case-specific information from offices. Currently, the Department monitors when information sharing queries hit against particularly serious codes from partners with a goal of ensuring proper screening is done. Action 1C: Consult impacted partners and develop options for how to better track and monitor the use of information-sharing. Lead
IPG – BPD
Q2 2020/21

Recommendation 2:

IRCC should identify and prioritize technical issues related to the Biometrics and IIS equipment, IT systems, network and support, and put in place a plan to address these issues where feasible.

IRCC agrees with this recommendation.

Various technical issues related to Biometrics and IIS were prioritized and addressed through Bio-X. IRCC is maintaining and updating the current technical functionality, while also looking to proactively improve where possible. The Department also continues to leverage initiatives in other areas where technical improvements are happening and continues to seek sources of funding to enable a larger overhaul of user functionality related to IIS in particular. This is all part of IPG Branch input into the broader Departmental change request prioritization process, with a view to supporting TDSS efforts to improve IT infrastructure such that information sharing queries and biometric enrollments do not adversely affect system performance or processing times.

Some activities are already underway to develop and implement a plan to improve technical functionality. IRCC, CBSA and RCMP meet regularly to discuss issues occurring with fingerprint quality, query and response times, and are reviewing equipment specifications along with training initiatives to reduce rates of error and poor-quality prints. Additionally, IN-International Support is in the process of updating the Biometric Collection Stations (BCS) with new hardware, giving priority to locations that have been operating through TRBP.

Continue to maintain a list of priority change requests and provide input into the Departmental change request prioritization process.

Lead:
IPG – Biometrics Program Division (BPD)

Support:
Transformation and Digital Solutions Sector (TDSS); Admissibility – IMIS

Q4 2019/20 and ongoing annually

Recommendation 3:

IRCC should, in collaboration with CBSA and the IRB, put in place a strategy to improve coordination, information sharing and support for the use of Biometrics and IIS in the asylum context.

IRCC agrees with this recommendation.
A working group with representation from IRCC, the CBSA and IRB was already in existence for the purpose of working through shared challenges in asylum processing. This group now includes representation from the M5 Information Sharing Team and regularly discusses how to better facilitate the exchange of internationally obtained information between the three partners, while also respecting our obligations to international partners. Action 3A: As part of the Integrated Claim Analysis Centre (ICAC), Develop with partners a standard operating procedure that will clearly define how they will better operationalize the exchange of information related to Biometrics and IIS amongst them.

Lead:
IPG – Asylum Program Division (APD)

Support :
IPG – BPD;

CBSA – Intelligence & Enforcement Branch; IRB

Q3 2019/20

The three organizations also have the Asylum System Management Board (ASMB), a senior-level asylum systems oversight committee, which is a venue to explore potential information-sharing opportunities.

Additionally, since July 2018, IRCC, the CBSA and the IRB have been piloting the small-scale Integrated Claim Analysis Centre (ICAC) to ensure that information, including IIS results, is available to decision makers as early in the asylum process as possible. The ICAC received permanent funding in the most recent Budget, and the M5 Information Sharing team will assist with training new officers this fall.

Action 3B: Provide training to officers that will be hired as part of the expanded ICAC, as well as officers assessing the new asylum ineligibility, that will allow them to better understand and apply the results of IIS in a consistent manner.

Lead:
IPG – Asylum Program Division (APD)

Support :
IPG – BPD;

Q3 2019/20

Recommendation 4:

IRCC should develop options for biometric information sharing on resettled refugee applicants with the UNHCR and implement a selected option to enhance identity management in the resettlement context.

IRCC agrees with this recommendation.
While IRCC’s application and screening process for resettled refugees is already thorough, the capacity to verify or exchange UNHCR biometric information would further improve identity management and program integrity. However, it is important to note that options for the exchange of information with the UNHCR will have significant resource implications. Action 4A: Develop and present a policy paper to IRCC Policy Committee on options to improve identity management and integrity through information sharing with the UNHCR or verification of UNHCR biometric data.

Lead 4A:
Admissibility – IMIS

Support 4A:
Refugee Affairs Branch (RAB); IN – ROD; IPG – BPD

Q1 2020/21
Action 4B: Implement selected option, contingent on senior management approval and funding.

Lead 4A:
Admissibility – IMIS

Support 4A:
Refugee Affairs Branch (RAB); IN – ROD; IPG – BPD

Q4 2022/23

Recommendation 5:

CBSA should review, enhance and promote functional guidance, training and support for biometric verification.

CBSA functional guidance, training and support for Border Services Officers (BSOs) was revised and augmented to address the new and expanded biometric services now provided by the CBSA as a result of the Biometrics Expansion project, which subsumes the fingerprint verification service at secondary inspection that was introduced through the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project. The collection and verification of biometrics has now been incorporated into BSO induction training. Existing and new officers have the supports required to support biometric services for Temporary Resident and Permanent Resident applicants. No further action is required by the CBSA.

Lead:
CBSA – Travellers Branch

Support:
CBSA – Human Resources Branch

N/A

Recommendation 6:

IRCC should put in place a strategy to measure and monitor the quality of client services related to biometric enrolment, taking into account enrolment services provided abroad, as well as those eventually provided in Canada.

IRCC agrees with this recommendation.

The Biometrics Expansion Program Performance Information Profile (PIP), finalized in 2017, contains a number of indicators that are meant to evaluate client service and client experience. BPD made a commitment to Treasury Board to report on the indicators beginning 2 years post project closure once sufficient data is available.

However, ongoing reporting for internal senior management and partner departments happens on a monthly basis and includes client service indicators.

Action 6A: Assess Biometrics Expansion as per the indicators defined in the Biometrics Expansion Performance Information Profile (PIP).

Lead:
IPG – BPD

Support:
Client Experience Branch; Various Bio-X Project Partners

2 years post project closeout (approx. Q2 2021/22) and ongoing as per the PIP

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose of the evaluation

The purpose of the evaluation was to examine the relevance and performance of the Biometrics and Canada-United States (US) Immigration Information Sharing (IIS) Initiatives, with a focus on their ongoing operations between 2014 and 2017.

1.2 Profile of the initiatives

Both Biometrics and IIS with the US are mechanisms used within the context of identity management and immigration decision-making in order to better establish the identity of foreign nationals seeking entry into Canada, and to obtain otherwise unknown information on applicants to aid in determining admissibility.

1.2.1 Biometrics

The biometrics currently collected by Canada are comprised of a digital photograph and fingerprints, as well as associated biographic information. More than 70 countries have implemented or are planning to implement their own biometric screening in their immigration and border programs, including Canada’s Migration 5 (M5) partners: the United States (US), United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

At the time of the evaluation, biometrics were being collected from asylum claimants, deportees and refugee resettlement applicants, as well as from Temporary Resident (TR) applicants (visitor visa, work and study permit applicants) from 29 visa-required countries and one territory.

1.2.2 Immigration Information Sharing with the US

In 2011, under the Beyond the Border Action Plan, Canada and the US committed to establishing automated immigration information sharing capabilities in order to improve immigration and border determinations, establish and verify the identities of travelers, and conduct screening at the earliest possible opportunity to strengthen the screening of foreign nationals. The commitment became the IIS project, which was comprised of four interconnected initiatives: Systematic IIS, Resettlement Information Sharing, Criminal Removal Information SharingFootnote 6 and Interim Asylum Information Sharing.Footnote 7

Under systematic IIS with the US, Canada exchanges immigration information with the US based on two types of queries: Biometric and Biographic.

At the time of the evaluation, Canada was sending biometric-based queries to the US on biometric-required TR applicants, resettled refugee applicants and in-Canada asylum claimants; and biographic-based queries to the US on all foreign nationals applying for a temporary resident visa (including applicants for study or work permits), permanent residence, and refugee resettlement from abroad.

Biometric IIS:
Biographic IIS:

The US to Canada query functionality was deployed in December 2015 and the IIS project was officially closed in March 2016, with outstanding elements transferred to the Biometrics Expansion Project.

1.2.3 Expansion

In 2017, Canada began expanding its systematic immigration information sharing to other M5 partners, beginning with Australia (April 2017) and New Zealand (February 2018).Footnote 9

In 2018, Canada began rolling out its Biometrics Expansion project. Key changes to the Biometrics Initiative under Expansion include:

1.2.4 Roles and responsibilities

IRCC is the lead department responsible for the two initiatives, and is responsible for the overall coordination, monitoring and reporting across partners. For Biometrics, key responsibilities include: policy development and interpretation and maintenance of regulations, support to the field, monitoring privacy safeguards and conducting quality assurance and anti-fraud activities. For IIS, key responsibilities include: managing information sharing activities and the relationship with the US, as well as providing centralized support to partners.

CBSA is responsible for biometric verification at POEs in Canada. This includes the procurement and installation of biometric equipment at POEs, providing input into policy requirements, training staff and monitoring and reporting.

The RCMP is the service provider responsible for maintaining and monitoring the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) systems, which include the RTID system; these systems support the two initiatives.

Shared Services Canada (SSC) provide infrastructure, network and security support for both initiatives, and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) uses biometric IIS results from the US to support their decision-making on refugee claims in Canada.

1.3 Statistical profile of applicants

The following provides a statistical profile of the applicant intake and the match information returned for the Biometrics and Canada-US IIS Initiatives, based on an analysis of administrative data from the Global Case Management System (GCMS).

1.3.1 Biometrics

Biometric enrolment intake increased each year between 2014 and 2017 to a total of 1,283,203 applicants, representing 1,098,103 unique clients.Footnote 14

1.3.2 Immigration Information Sharing with the US

Intake for Biometric and Biographic IIS with the US also increased between 2014 and 2017Footnote 15.

Applicants enrolled for biometrics: Both biometric and biographic immigration information sharing occur for TR and resettled refugee applicants who are biometrically enrolled. Only biometric immigration information sharing occurs for asylum claimants.

Applicants NOT enrolled for biometrics: Only biographic immigration information sharing occurs for applicants who are not biometrically enrolled.

2. Methodology

2.1 Evaluation scope, focus and questions

The evaluation assessed issues of relevance and performance for the Biometrics (Steady State) and the Canada-US IIS Initiatives, addressing the expected outcomes associated with the ongoing operations of the two initiatives between 2014 and 2017, as outlined in their respective logic models (see Appendix B).

The evaluation questions are presented below.

Relevance:

Performance:

2.2 Data collection methods

The evaluation used multiple lines of evidence that gathered qualitative and quantitative data from a range of stakeholder perspectives. Data collection and analysis took place from July 2017 to September 2018, and was conducted primarily internally by IRCC’s Evaluation Division. The RCMP Evaluation Team collected and analyzed its own data (document review, interviews and program data), and the CBSA Evaluation Team provided their own administrative data analysis. These analyses were integrated into the report where appropriate.

Lines of Evidence Description
Document Review Relevant program documents were reviewed to gather background and context on the Biometrics and Canada-US IIS Initiatives, as well as to assess its relevance and performance. Documents reviewed included: Legislation and Regulations; Treasury Board Submissions; Federal Budgets and Reports, such as Departmental Results Reports; Privacy Impact Assessments, Memoranda of Understanding and Implementing Arrangements; Program Delivery Instructions, Operational Bulletins, and Manuals; Other Reports, Analyses and Dashboards related to the Initiatives; Documentation on similar initiatives in M5 countries.
Interviews A total of 35 interviews were conducted with 48 representatives from various stakeholder groups, including IRCC (21), CBSA (2), RCMP (6), IRB (2) and M5 partners (4)Footnote 16. The interview list was developed in consultation with program representatives. In order to obtain additional context, consultations were also conducted with Biometric-VAC Officers, representatives from Shared Services Canada and IRCC’s Solutions and Information Management Branch, and with representatives from IRCC’s Legal Services.
Analysis of Administrative Data Administrative data from IRCC, CBSA and the RCMP were examined for the 2014 to 2017 reporting period.
  • IRCC: Data from GCMS were analyzed to examine biometric enrolment, biometric matches to RTID, and biometric and biographic immigration information returned from the US, for designated applicant populations.
  • CBSA: Data from the Consolidated Management Reporting System (CMRS) were analyzed to examine photo and fingerprint verification for the TRBP at air and land POEs.
  • RCMP: Performance data from CCRTIS were analyzed to examine criminal submissions and transactions involving immigration and refugee files.
Surveys Online surveys were conducted with Migration Officers (n=101), Migration Program Managers (n=32) and Border Services Officers (n=194). More details on the survey methodologies are provided in Appendix C.
Site Visit A site visit was conducted at Pearson Airport to better understand how biometric verification and enrolment work at the POE with CBSA. The site visit included a walkthrough of operations at Primary and Secondary Inspection, as well as interviews with BSOs and a Superintendent. In order to better understand different POE contexts, follow-up consultations were also conducted with representatives from the Montreal and Edmonton airport POEs, as well as from Prairie Region land border operations.

2.3 Limitations and considerations

Overall, the different lines of evidence were complementary and reduced information gaps, as well as enabled the triangulation of findings. However, a few limitations and considerations should be noted in relation to difficulties in extracting and using the data captured in GCMS; challenges in obtaining the perspectives of BSOs; and gaps in financial data.Footnote 17 In spite of these issues, results generally converged towards common and integrated findings. The mitigation strategies, along with the triangulation of findings, were considered to be sufficient to ensure that the findings are reliable and can be used with confidence.

3. Relevance

Relevance of the Biometrics and Canada-US IIS Initiatives was examined in relation to continued need, as well as alignment with the objectives and priorities of partner departments and the Government of Canada (GoC).

3.1 Continued need

Finding: There is a continued need for both Biometrics and IIS with the United States, as they contribute to identity management and program integrity and enhance confidence in Canada’s immigration program among international partners and the public.

The document review highlighted the rationale and continued need for Biometrics and IIS with the US.

The interviews confirmed a continued need for the initiatives.

Document review and interviews also confirmed a strong alignment between Canada’s approach to biometrics and immigration information sharing and the initiatives of M5 partners.

3.2 Alignment with departmental and government priorities

Finding: Biometrics and IIS with the United States are well aligned with the objectives, priorities and commitments of IRCC, CBSA, RCMP and the Government of Canada.

The Biometrics and Canada-US IIS Initiatives are aligned with the objective of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) “to protect public health and safety and to maintain the security of Canadian society.”Footnote 19  They are also consistent with partner mandates related to safety and security and GoC priorities related to security and strengthening cross-border ties with the US.

The interviews pointed out:

For IRCC, however, the Biometrics Initiative is less aligned with the department’s objective to improve client services and enhance the client experience, as they introduce another step in the application process. The department must balance this priority with competing pressures in its operational context to adequately respond to increasingly complex safety and security challenges.Footnote 24

4. Performance – Use of biometrics and IIS with the US

This section considers performance in relation to the use of biometrics and IIS with the US in support of the decision-making contexts relevant to IRCC, CBSA and the RCMP.

It also looks at how the use of these tools contribute to safety and security and the integrity of Canada’s immigration program.

4.1 Use of biometrics in immigration decision-making

Finding: Biometric information has strengthened immigration decision-making by providing objective, reliable information to establish and confirm a client’s identity and detect potential risks. There is also an indication that the contribution of biometrics will increase as the number of enrolments captured in Canada’s system continues to grow.

4.1.1 Incidence of matches

Matches to the RCMP’s RTID system can reveal negative or positive information about an applicant’s previous encounters in Canada which can be used to inform immigration decision-making (admissibility and eligibility). While negative information (e.g., criminality) can reveal potential risks or threats associated with an applicant, positive information (e.g., a successful TR application in the past) can assist in confirming an identity and provide evidence of a positive Canadian travel history.

Administrative data analysis showed that between 2014 and 2017 biometric enrolment intake and the number of RCMP matches revealing a previous immigration history or previous criminality increased over time.

Table 1: Biometrics: Applicant intake and matches returned from the RCMP’s RTID system
    2014 2015 2016 2017 Overall
Type of match Applicant intake 220,969 265,278 351,931 445,025 1,283,203
Matches to previous immigration record Number 16,244 38,120 61,220 88,754 204,338
Matches to previous immigration record Percent of intake 7.4% 14.4% 17.4% 19.9% 15.9%
Matches to previous criminal record Number 128 163 256 295 842
Matches to previous criminal record Percent of intake 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%

Source: GCMS 2018

4.1.2 Contribution to decision-making

Interview and survey findings highlighted the important contribution of biometrics to identity management and immigration decision-making.

4.2 Use of IIS with US in immigration decision-making

Finding: IIS with the US contributes to strengthened immigration decision-making by providing access to a larger system of records to help confirm a client’s identity and travel history and detect potential risks. Information sharing enhances the benefits of having biometrics by expanding the evidence base for decision-making.

4.2.1 Incidence of matches

IIS with the US can return derogatory match data helping to reveal potential risks or threats associated with an applicant or positive match data helping to confirm an identity and providing evidence of a positive travel history with a trusted partner.

Administrative data analysis showed that between 2014Footnote 26 and 2017 intake and the number of matches for IIS with the US generally increased over time, particularly for biometric IIS (see Table 2).

Table 2: Biometric and Biographic IIS with the US: Applicant intake and matches returned
2014 2015 2016 2017 Overall
BIOMETRIC IIS Applicant intake - 78,703 325,404 420,010 824,117
Matches Returned Number - 27,798 124,226 175,093 327,117
Percent of intake - 35.3% 38.2% 41.7% 39.7%
BIOGRAPHIC IIS Applicant Intake: Enrolled for Biometrics 219,243 256,576 330,174 403,983 1,209,976
Matches Determined Number 11,552 12,394 16,991 20,988 61,925
Percent of intake 5.3% 4.8% 5.1% 5.2% 5.1%
BIOGRAPHIC IIS Applicant intake: NOT Enrolled for Biometrics 1,685,697 1,812,339 2,085,381 2,352,932 7,936,349
Matches Determined Number 39,226 42,963 55,377 65,321 202,887
Percent of intake 2.3% 2.4% 2.7% 2.8% 2.6%

Source: GCMS 2018

4.2.2 Contribution to decision-making

IIS with the US allows immigration decision-makers in Canada to check applicants seeking to come to Canada against a vast system of records on immigration-related encounters of travelers to the US, much broader than the volume of encounters in Canada.

Interview and survey findings highlighted the added benefits of having IIS with the US for immigration decision-making (admissibility and eligibility) at the application stage.

4.3 Use of Biometrics and IIS in the refugee context

Finding: Biometrics and IIS with the US provide valuable information to support identity management and decision-making in the refugee context, particularly for Canada’s asylum system.

4.3.1 Asylum in Canada

Asylum claimants represented only a small proportion of biometric enrolment and IIS intake between 2014 and 2017.Footnote 30 However, analysis of administrative data showed proportionately comparable or higher match rates for asylum claimants, both to information in the RCMP’s RTID system and to information exchanged with the US, compared to match rates for biometric-required TRs.

Interviews highlighted the important contribution of biometric and IIS information to decision-making on asylum claims, but also noted implementation-related challenges.

4.3.2 Resettlement from abroad

Like asylum claimants, resettled refugee applicants only made up a small proportion of the biometric enrolment and IIS intake between 2014 and 2017. Correspondingly, the match rate was quite small for this client group.

Interviews highlighted that while possibly not as useful as in the asylum context, biometrics and IIS with the US are still important in the resettlement context.

4.4 Use of Biometrics for verification at POEs

Finding: The approach to biometric verification largely relied on the digital photographs, and not fingerprints, during the reporting period for the evaluation. However, Biometrics Expansion will increase capacity for fingerprint verification, notably through automation at Primary Inspection Kiosks at several major airports, taking more full advantage of the available biometric tools at POEs.

Biometrics are verified at POEs by BSOs with a view to providing greater assurance that the person being granted entry to Canada is the same person to whom a visa was issued abroad.Footnote 32

At the time of the evaluation, eight major airport POEs were equipped under the TRBP for both photograph and fingerprint verification in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The other air and land POEs were only equipped for photograph verification.

Consistent with instructions to the field, administrative data analysis showed that generally BSOs at POEs used their discretion not to verify fingerprints between 2014 and 2017.Footnote 34

For other POEs (equipped to verify photographs only), there were 114,153 biometric-related passages, and almost all (97.6%) were biometrically verified through photographs.Footnote 36

As previously noted, fingerprint verification is becoming automated at PIKs at ten airports through Biometrics Expansion and the PIK initiative. It is also being expanded to additional POEs on a discretionary basis through Biometrics Expansion.

Biometrics, such as fingerprints and photographs, can be used to uniquely identify and reliably verify an individual’s identity. While the digital photograph, captured in GCMS for biometrically enrolled clients, offers an additional data point from a trusted source to help verify their identity, fingerprints offer a more objective means to do so. Expansion of the capacity to verify biometrics at POEs, and in particular SFV, will take fuller advantage of the biometric tools available, and is expected to further strengthen identity management at POEs.

4.5 Use of Biometrics to support criminal investigations

Finding: There is an indication that Biometrics have assisted police agencies in Canada by providing access to additional immigration and refugee related information to support criminal investigations and the identification of individuals.

Biometric-based information from RTID is used by the RCMP’s CCRTIS. Administrative data analysis showed that CCRTIS received close to 2 million criminal submissions and transactions from 1,500 police agencies between 2014 and 2017.Footnote 37

The interviews highlighted how biometrics have provided increased support for criminal investigations in Canada by allowing for the identification of individuals and by providing investigators in the field with additional information on their identity and status.

4.6 Contribution to safety, security and program integrity

Finding: Biometrics and IIS with the US have contributed to enhancing safety and security and to preventing abuse of Canada’s immigration system, largely at the application phase, by providing reliable information on potential criminal, security and immigration risks associated with clients to help support refusals in immigration decision-making.

The Biometrics and Canada-US IIS Initiatives provide access to important information related to immigration, criminality, and security issues, which can be used by officers to help detect potential risks associated with these individuals, and eventually support refusals if deemed appropriate.

Administrative data analysis found that Biometrics revealed derogatory information about a number of applicants, and some applicants were eventually refused.

Most Migration Program Managers (MPMs), MOs and BSOs surveyed indicated that Biometrics and IIS with the US contribute to: detecting individuals who may pose a risk/threat to Canada; detecting abuse/fraud of Canada’s immigration system; and enhancing the safety/security of Canada (see Appendix E for detailed information on these survey results). These results also suggested that the requirement to enrol biometrics may act as a deterrent to those wanting to commit fraud or abuse of Canada’s immigration system.

5. Performance – Implementation of the initiatives

This section considers performance in relation to various aspects of implementation of the Biometrics and Canada-US Initiatives, including: the effectiveness of policies, procedures and guidelines; communication and coordination; biometric enrolment service coverage; capacity to enrol, use and verify biometrics; capacity to use IIS; and resource utilization.

5.1 Effectiveness of policies, procedures and guidelines

5.1.1 Legal authorities, privacy measures and quality assurance

Finding: The necessary legal authorities and privacy measures are in place to effectively support the initiatives. While various quality assurance measures are also in place, notably in relation to privacy, there is an indication of gaps with respect to quality assurance in relation to decision-making.

Legal Authorities and Privacy Measures: Document review and interview findings confirmed that legal authorities, information sharing mechanisms and privacy measures supporting the collection and use of biometrics and the exchange of immigration information with the US are in place and are generally considered to be sufficient/effective.

Quality Assurance: Interview, document review and survey findings showed that while some quality assurance (QA) measures are undertaken in relation to the initiatives, there are gaps for IRCC and CBSA.

Thus, the QA measures in place focus more on privacy, systems and biometric enrolment, and less on IIS with the US and using biometric and IIS in the decision-making context, either abroad or at POEs.

5.1.2 Functional guidance and training

Finding: While program delivery guidelines are in place to support the initiatives, there are challenges related to functional guidance for IRCC and CBSA, and officers tend to learn how to work with biometrics and IIS with the US through informal ways, rather than through formal training.

Functional Guidance: Document review, interviews and survey findings indicated that the effectiveness of functional guidance and training varied among departments, and highlighted some issues for IRCC and CBSA.

Training: Interview and survey findings suggested that while there is some formal training, IRCC and CBSA officers tend to learn through informal ways. The RCMP provides training, both general and specific to the Biometrics initiative.

5.2 Communication and coordination

Finding: While there are formal and informal mechanisms in place to support coordination and communication in relation to the Biometrics and Canada-US IIS initiatives, there is an indication that they are not always effective, particularly for the asylum context.

Document review and interviews showed that there are coordination/communication mechanisms related to the initiatives.

While no challenges were noted in the interviews with respect to coordination and communication for the RCMP, various challenges were highlighted for IRCC and the CBSA, including:

Survey findings indicated a greater reliance in Migration Offices abroad on informal avenues for discussion to address issues/questions related to using biometrics and IIS information in application processing, as well as a need for more formal avenues for discussion with IRCC-NHQ. Moreover, avenues for discussion within one’s Migration Office were more frequently perceived to be effective compared to avenues with IRCC-NHQ. See Appendix F for detailed information on these survey results.

5.3 Coverage for biometric enrolment abroad

Finding: VAC country coverage for biometric enrolment is generally adequate for the client populations being enrolled abroad; however, there is an indication that there are challenges related to the proximity of VAC service locations to clients.

Analysis of administrative data showed that most biometric enrolment between 2014 and 2017 was conducted abroad, and largely at VACs for biometric-required TRs.Footnote 50 As such, the evaluation largely examined service coverage in relation to VACs.

Thus, while many countries had VACs to conduct biometric enrolment during the reporting period for the evaluation, their proximity to clients may have not always been ideal.

5.4 Capacity abroad to enrol and use biometrics

Most biometric enrolment occurred abroad during the reporting period. Similarly, most applications involving biometrics (about 94%) were processed abroad. As a result, the analysis largely focused on the capacity of VACs, ASCs and Migration Offices abroad to enrol and use biometrics in application processing.

Finding: Technical issues with respect to the equipment, IT systems and network in place create challenges for staff abroad in collecting biometrics and using the related information to support application processing.

Survey and interview findings largely indicated capacity issues for IRCC in relation to the IT systems and network, as well as the equipment, supporting biometrics.

5.5 Capacity in Canada to verify biometrics at POEs

Finding: There is an indication that there can be issues at the POE with respect to equipment, functional guidance and support for biometric verification, and that capacity to verify biometrics based on client volumes can be a challenge.

Survey findings suggested that there are issues at POEs related to equipment, functional guidance and support, as well as overall capacity to verify biometrics based on client volumes.

5.6 Capacity abroad to use IIS with the US

BSOs and IRCC officers (in Canada and abroad) can use IIS information in the context of their work. However, it is most often used in the context of application processing abroad. As a result, the analysis largely focused on the capacity of MOs to use IIS information in application processing abroad.

Finding: Some Migration Officers abroad have difficulty interpreting derogatory information returned from the US through IIS.

While survey findings also suggested challenges with the IT systems and network supporting the use of IIS with the US, they pointed to larger issues with respect to effectively using IIS results in decision-making, particularly in relation to interpreting codes for derogatory information.

5.7 Resource utilization

5.7.1 Contribution to facilitated movement and application processing abroad

Finding: Biometrics and IIS with the US have contributed to the facilitated movement and processing of admissible individuals by providing evidence to support decision-making. Potential processing efficiencies to be gained through the initiatives will likely be realized downstream.

Interview and survey findings suggested that Biometrics and IIS with the US have facilitated application processing and the movement of travellers by making immigration decision-making easier, but not necessarily faster or more efficient.

Thus, while some efficiencies have or will be realized with Expansion, officers using biometric and IIS information in their application processing still have to take time to review it. More information can lead to more time for its review. Similarly, the more questions there are related to the meaning of the information received, the more time it can take to use it.

5.7.2 Value for the investment

Finding: There is an indication that Biometrics and IIS with the US have generated value for Canada’s investment by enhancing identity management and immigration decision-making. It is expected that the benefits will increase as enrolments and information sharing partners expand.

Costs associated with the initiatives: Budget estimates indicated that about $213.9 million was allocated to BiometricsFootnote 58 and $131.7 million to IIS with the US.Footnote 59

Value for the investment: Interview findings noted that it is difficult to quantify the value of preventing the entry of people posing a security risk to Canada. However, interview and survey findings pointed to qualitative benefits related to these initiatives.

6. Conclusions and recommendations

In sum, the evaluation examined the relevance and performance of the Biometrics (Steady State) and Canada-US IIS initiatives and found that they are well aligned with domestic and international security priorities, as well as with Canada’s objectives under IRPA. The initiatives provide important tools for Canada’s identity management, immigration and border decision-making processes, and play an important role in protecting the integrity of Canada’s immigration and refugee programs, as well as in maintaining public and partner confidence in these efforts.

The evaluation focused on results related to the ongoing operations of these initiatives with a view to informing implementation of the Biometrics Expansion project. At the time of the study, Expansion efforts were already underway: the biometrics requirement was being expanded to all TRs as well as PRs; capacity to verify biometric fingerprints was being expanded beyond the eight major airport POEs; and immigration information sharing was being expanded to other M5 partners. With this in mind, the conclusions highlight key findings from the evaluation of Biometrics (Steady State) and IIS with the US, while providing considerations within the context of Expansion, and presenting recommendations for the way forward with this work.

Biometrics and IIS with the US for Immigration Decision-Making: Use and Capacity

The evaluation found that Biometrics and IIS with the US have been contributing to identity management and decision-making, largely at the application stage, for Canada’s TR and refugee programs. Biometrics provide objective, reliable information to establish and confirm a client’s identity, and IIS with the US provides access to a larger system of records to help confirm a client’s identity and travel history. Both also provide information on potential criminal, security and immigration risks associated with the client.

Correspondingly, the evaluation found added benefits for officers as result of having Biometrics and IIS information for decision-making, including being better informed about the information provided on the client’s application, increased ability to detect risks/threats associated with the applicant’s identity, and increased confidence in decision-making. Stakeholders also highlighted the contribution of this information to enhancing Canada’s safety and security and detecting abuse/fraud in the immigration program.

However, the study also revealed some challenges affecting the capacity of officers to effectively and efficiently use this information in their decision-making, including issues related to the functional guidance, training and support available, and with interpreting derogatory information returned through IIS with the US. The evaluation also found that QA related to using this information for decision-making has been limited, and that the equipment and IT systems and network supporting their use are not always reliable.

As the amount of biometric and IIS information to review increases with Expansion, it will be important to ensure that officers are well supported to use this information, and that mechanisms are in place to ensure that they are using it effectively and efficiently in decision-making for clients.

Recommendation 1: IRCC should, in consultation with partners, review and enhance functional guidance and training related to Biometrics and IIS and put in place a Quality Assurance Strategy to monitor the use of this information in immigration decision-making.

Recommendation 2: IRCC should identify and prioritize technical issues related to the Biometrics and IIS equipment, IT systems, network and support, and put in place a plan to address these issues where feasible.

Biometrics and IIS with the US for Immigration Decision-Making: Refugee Context

The evaluation found that Biometrics and IIS with the US have been useful to decision-making for both the asylum and resettlement contexts and play an important role in supporting identity management and program integrity, particularly for the asylum system. However, the evaluation also revealed areas for improvement, unique to the asylum and resettlement contexts:

Recommendation 3: IRCC should, in collaboration with CBSA and the IRB, put in place a strategy to improve coordination, information sharing and support for the use of Biometrics and IIS in the asylum context.

Recommendation 4: IRCC should develop options for biometric information sharing on resettled refugee applicants with the UNHCR and implement a selected option to enhance identity management in the resettlement context.

Biometric Verification at POEs: Use and Capacity

The evaluation found that the approach to biometric verification largely relied on the digital photographs, and not fingerprints, during the reporting period for the evaluation. Photograph verification was mandatory for all biometric-related passages, while fingerprint verification was discretionary at eight major airport POEs equipped under the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project (TRBP). BSOs were instructed to refer clients for fingerprint verification if there were identity concerns after a visual inspection of their biometric photograph. Correspondingly, only 4.4% of biometric-related passages at these POEs were biometrically verified through fingerprints.

However, fingerprint verification is becoming automated at PIKs at ten airports through Biometrics Expansion and the PIK initiative. It is also being expanded to additional POEs on a discretionary basis through Biometrics Expansion. Expansion of the capacity to verify biometrics at POEs, and in particular SFV, will take fuller advantage of the biometric tools available, and is expected to further strengthen identity management at POEs.

The evaluation also found that many BSOs were not aware of functional guidance related to biometric verification, and that they tended to learn how to verify biometrics through informal ways rather than training. Furthermore, there were no quality assurance mechanisms in place to monitor their decision-making in the biometric verification process. Given the increased client volumes that will come with Expansion, there is a need to disseminate adequate guidance on biometric verification to support effective decision-making at POEs.

Recommendation 5: CBSA should review, enhance and promote functional guidance, training and support for biometric verification.

Biometric Enrolment: Service Coverage and Accessibility

At the time of the evaluation, most biometric enrolment was conducted abroad by VACs. While VAC country coverage was generally adequate for clients from the 29 countries and one territory subject to this requirement, there was an indication of possible gaps related to the proximity of service locations. The evaluation did not directly capture information on the client experience related to biometric enrolment, so challenges related to service coverage were based on the perspectives of IRCC representatives.

Biometrics Expansion is extending the enrolment requirement to TR and PR client populations from all countries. Eventually, clients within Canada will also have to enrol their biometrics, broadening the demand for enrolment services domestically beyond the asylum system. With more and more clients being impacted by biometric enrolment, it will be critical to better understand the client experience with respect to service coverage and accessibility.

Recommendation 6: IRCC should put in place a strategy to measure and monitor the quality of client services related to biometric enrolment, taking into account enrolment services provided abroad, as well as those eventually provided in Canada.

Appendix A: Nationalities of Temporary Residents requiring biometrics under Steady State

29 countries and one territory*

Appendix B: Logic models

Appendix B1: Logic Model for Biometrics (Steady State)

Logic Model for Biometrics (Steady State) described below
Text version: Logic Model for Biometrics (Steady State)

Appendix B1 illustrates the logic model for Biometrics (Steady State) at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, which serves as a visual representation of the activities, outputs and intended outcomes of the Program.

The logic model is divided into three major components, related to the following: Client service delivery, Collection and verification, and domestic information sharing.

Program activities

The three components of the Biometrics (Steady State) initiative relate to four activities.

Activity 1: The Client service delivery component of the logic model relates to the program activity of establish and oversee visa application centre contracts and service arrangements.

Activity 2: The Collection and verification component of the logic model relates to two program activities:

  1. Collect and store biometrics (photo and fingerprints)
  2. Verify and assess biometric information.

Activity 3: The Domestic information sharing component of the logic model relates to the program activity of share immigration information with Canadian law enforcement agencies, as appropriate.

Program Outputs

These four main program activities are expected to directly lead to three groupings of program outputs.

Output 1: The Client service delivery component of the logic model relates to the program output of service locations for select populations. This program output is expected to lead to program activities 2 (Collect and store biometrics (photo and fingerprints) and 3 (Verify and assess biometric information).

Output 2: The Collection and verification component of the logic model relates to the program output of biometric data, including biographic data.

Output 3: The Domestic information sharing component of the logic model relates to the program output of shared biometric data with law enforcement.

Program Outcomes

These program activities and their subsequent expected program outputs are intended to lead to a number of immediate and intermediate outcomes.

Program activity 1 and program output 1 under the Client service delivery component lead to the immediate outcome of practical and feasible service coverage to collect biometrics.

Program activity 2 and 3 and program output 2 under the Collection and verification component lead to the immediate outcome of Strengthened identity management for informed admissibility decision making.

Program activity 4 and program output 3 under the Domestic information sharing component lead to the immediate outcome of Increased support of criminal investigations.

Collectively, these three immediate outcomes are expected to lead to three intermediate outcomes.

Intermediate outcome 1: Enhanced safety and security of all Canadians.
Intermediate outcome 2: Prevention of abuse of the immigration system.
Intermediate outcome 3: Facilitated processing of returning clients.

Together, these immediate and intermediate outcomes lead to ultimate/strategic outcomes for each of the horizontal partners, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The ultimate/strategic outcome for Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada is managed migration and facilitated travel that promote Canadian interests and protects the health, safety and security of Canadians.

The ultimate/strategic outcome for Canada Border Services Agency is international trade and travel is facilitated across Canada’s borders and Canada’s population is protected from border-related risks.

The ultimate/strategic outcome for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is criminal activity affecting Canadians is reduced.

Appendix B2: Logic Model for Immigration Information Sharing (Canada-United States)

Logic Model for Immigration Information Sharing (Canada-United States) described below
Text version: Logic Model for Immigration Information Sharing (Canada-United States)

Appendix B2 illustrates the logic model for Immigration Information Sharing Initiative at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, which serves as a visual representation of the activities, outputs and intended outcomes of the Program.

The logic model is divided into two major components: The Development Stage, and Delivery of Immigration Information Sharing.

Inputs

Both components are supported by four inputs: financial resources, human resources, capital resources and legal and policy authorities. The inputs are expected to lead to six program activities.

Program activities

The two components of the Immigration Information Sharing initiative relate to ten activities.

The Development Stage component of the logic model relates to five program activities:

  1. Negotiations
  2. Policy and regulatory development
  3. Information technology development
  4. Staffing
  5. Training

The Delivery of Immigration Information Sharing component of the logic model relates to five program activities:

  1. Send, receive and retain criminal removal information
  2. Send queries for immigration administration and enforcement
  3. Receive and respond to United States immigration queries and requests
  4. Request and provide further immigration information
  5. Analyze results of shared immigration information.

Program Outputs

These ten program activities are expected to directly lead to four program outputs.

The Development Stage component of the logic model relates to three program outputs:

  1. Treaty and Memorandum of Understandings
  2. Memorandum to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submission and Regulations
  3. Information Technology Systems

The Delivery of Immigration Information Sharing component of the logic model relates to the program output of additional immigration information for decision making.

Program Outcomes

These program activities and their subsequent expected program outputs are intended to lead to a number of immediate, intermediate and ultimate outcomes.

Program activities and outputs under the Development Stage component are expected to leady to the immediate outcome of legal authority and operational ability to share immigration information in a timely manner.

Program activities and outputs under the Delivery of Immigration Information Sharing component of the logic model relate to three immediate outcomes:

  1. Enhanced ability to establish and verify the identity of individuals seeking to enter and/or remain in Canada
  2. Enhanced ability to detect individuals who may pose a risk and/or threat to Canada
  3. Enhanced ability to detect individuals seeking to enter and/or remain in Canada for mala fide purposes

Collectively, these three immediate outcomes under the Delivery of Immigration Information Sharing component are expected to lead to two intermediate outcomes.

  1. Facilitated movement of admissible individuals into Canada
  2. Inadmissible individuals are not allowed entry into, or allowed to remain in, Canada.

Together, these immediate and intermediate outcomes under the Delivery of Immigration Information Sharing component are expected to lead to the ultimate outcome of strengthened security and program integrity, and improved movement of admissible individuals.

Collectively, the ultimate outcome under the Delivery of Immigration Information Sharing component and the immediate outcome under the Development Stage component are expected to lead to mandate/strategic outcomes for five departments: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and Shared Services Canada.

The ultimate/strategic outcome for Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada is managed migration that promotes Canada’s interests and protects the health, safety and security of Canadians.

The ultimate/strategic outcome for Canada Border Services Agency is international trade and travel is facilitated across Canada’s border and Canada’s population is protected from border-related risks.

The ultimate/strategic outcome for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is criminal activity affecting Canadians is reduced.

The ultimate/strategic outcome for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada is resolve immigration and refugee cases before the Immigration and Refugee Board efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.

The ultimate/strategic outcome for Shared Services Canada is mandated services are delivered in a consolidated and standardized manner to support the delivery of Government of Canada programs and services.

Appendix C: Overview of the surveys used in the evaluation

Three online surveys were administered as part of the evaluation to gather information on capacity and use related to Biometrics and IIS with the US in Migration Offices abroad and at Ports of Entry (POE) in Canada.

  1. Survey of Migration Officers (MOs): Administered online – February 21 to March 19, 2018.
    • Potential participants were identified in consultation with International Network representatives based on a list of MOs currently posted abroad, and sent an email with a unique survey link inviting them to participate in the survey.
      • A total of 234 MOs were identified at various levels who were currently working in a Migration Office abroad responsible for processing applications.
      • After bounce-backs and out-of-office replies, there were a total of 215 possible respondents for the survey.
    • Participation was voluntary. A total of 101 MOs across 39 different Migration Offices responded to the survey, representing a response rate of 47%.
      • The survey was designed for MOs involved in application processing and using Biometrics and IIS with the US in their decision-making.
      • While the survey was sent to all MOs on the list, it was expected that some would decide not to participate, as they were not currently involved in application processing (given their level and duties) or did not have experience processing applications involving Biometrics (given the locations of their postings abroad and client populations associated with these locations).
    • At the time of the survey, respondents were currently working in Migration Offices representing all four world regions: Africa and the Middle East (21), Asia and Pacific (38), Europe (22) and the Americas (20).
      • Included respondents from 14 of the 15 top Migration Offices for processing resettled refugees (based on 2014 to 2017 admissions) and 16 of the 19 Migration Offices that were responsible for processing TR applicants from biometric-required countries.
    • 95 respondents indicated experience processing applications involving Biometrics.
      • 51 respondents had experience processing applications for biometric-required TRs only, 3 with applications for resettled refugees only and 41 with applications for both client groups.
    • 62 respondents indicated experience processing applications prior to 2014 and 60 indicated both prior experience and experience with Biometrics.
      • 2014 was the first full year in which Biometrics and IIS (biographic only) information from the US were available for immigration decision-making.
      • MOs with experience processing applications prior to 2014 were asked in the survey to reflect on changes (pre-post) as result of the introduction of Biometrics and IIS with the US.
    • The survey questions examined issues related to: coordination and communication related to the initiatives; policies, procedures, functional guidance, training and support related to Biometrics and IIS with the US; the value and contribution of Biometrics and IIS with the US to immigration decision-making, program integrity and safety and security; and the efficiency of the initiatives.
  2. Survey of Migration Program Managers (MPMs): Administered online – February 21 to March 19, 2018.
    • An email invitation with a unique survey link was sent to 49 MPMs who were currently working in Migration Offices abroad responsible for processing applications.
      • After bounce-backs, there were a total of 47 possible respondents for the survey.
    • Participation was voluntary. A total of 32 MPMs (or delegates) responded to the survey, representing a response rate of 68%.
      • The survey was designed for MPMs to complete on behalf of their Migration Office.
    • At the time of the survey, respondents were currently working in Migration Offices representing all four world regions: Africa and the Middle East (9), Asia and Pacific (11), Europe (5) and the Americas (7).
      • Included respondents from 12 of the 15 top Migration Offices for processing resettled refugees (based on 2014 to 2017 admissions) and 15 of the 19 Migration Offices that were responsible for processing TR applicants from biometric-required countries.
    • All respondents indicated that their Migration Office processed applications involving Biometrics.
      • All respondents indicated that their Migration Office processed applications for biometric-required TRs and 21 indicated that it processed applications for resettled refugees.
    • The survey questions examined issues related to: coordination and communication related to the initiatives; learning and training related to using Biometrics and IIS with the US; IT systems and network and related support; quality assurance practices; equipment and capacity for biometric enrolment; and the value and contribution of Biometrics and IIS with the US to immigration decision-making, program integrity, and safety and security.
  3. Survey of Border Services Officers (BSOs): Administered online – April 5 to May 15, 2018.
    • Potential participants were identified in consultation with CBSA representatives, and sent an email with a unique survey link inviting them to participate in the survey.
      • A total of 901 BSOs were identified who were currently working in one of the eight major airport POEs which were equipped as part of the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project (TRBP).
      • After bounce-backs and out-of-office replies, there were a total of 858 possible respondents for the survey.
    • Participation was voluntary. A total of 194 BSOs responded to the survey, representing a response rate of 23%.
      • The survey was designed for BSOs involved in biometric verification and/or enrolment, and/or reviewing the results of Biometrics and IIS with the US in the asylum context.
      • While the survey was sent to all BSOs on the list, it was expected that some would decide not to participate, as they were not currently involved in work related to Biometrics and IIS with the US.
    • Survey respondents were obtained for all eight major airport POEs: Halifax (8), Montreal (17), Ottawa (21), Toronto (86), Winnipeg (10), Edmonton (2), Calgary (22) and Vancouver (28).
    • 119 respondents indicated experience with biometric enrolment and 135 indicated experience with biometric verification
      • 105 indicated experience verifying digital photographs at Primary Inspection and 113 with verifying digital fingerprints at Secondary Inspection.
    • 148 respondents indicated general experience with Biometrics (either enrolment or verification), and 76 indicated experience both with Biometrics and working as a BSO or Superintendent prior to 2014.
      • 2014 was the first full year of implementation of Biometrics and IIS with the US (biographic only).
      • BSOs with experience prior to 2014 were asked in the survey to reflect on changes (pre-post) as result of the introduction of Biometrics and IIS with the US.
    • 58 respondents indicated experience reviewing the results of automatic IIS with the US.
      • Though they hadn’t used it, 35 respondents indicated an awareness of automatic IIS with the US.
    • The survey questions examined issues related to: policies, procedures, functional guidance, training and support related to Biometrics (enrolment and verification) and IIS with the US; equipment and capacity to enrol and verify biometrics; the value and contribution of Biometrics and IIS with the US to decision-making at the POE, program integrity, and safety and security; and the efficiency of the initiatives.

Appendix D: Limitations and considerations

Difficulties in extracting and using the data captured in the Global Case Management System (GCMS):

Challenges in obtaining the perspectives of Border Services Officers (BSOs):

Gaps in financial data:

Appendix E: Survey findings on the contribution of Biometrics and IIS with the US to safety, security and immigration program integrity in Canada

Table E1: Contribution of Biometrics to Safety, Security and Immigration Program Integrity in Canada
Biometrics contribute to: Agree (%) Disagree (%) Don't Know (%)
Detecting individuals who may pose a risk/threat to Canada
Migration Officers (n=95) 86 7 6
Migration Program Managers (n=32) 91 6 3
Border Services Officers (n=148) 89 9 1
Detecting abuse/fraud of Canada's immigration system
Migration Officers (n=95) 88 5 6
Migration Program Managers (n=32) 91 6 3
Border Services Officers (n=148) 91 7 2
Enhancing the safety/security of Canada
Migration Officers (n=95) 82 8 9
Migration Program Managers (n=32) 94 6 3
Border Services Officers (n=148) 89 9 2

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Table E2: Contribution of IIS with the US to Safety, Security and Immigration Program Integrity in Canada
IIS with the US contributes to: Agree (%) Disagree (%) Don't Know (%)
Detecting individuals who may pose a risk/threat to Canada
Migration Officers (n=101) 91 7 2
Migration Program Managers (n=32) 100 0 0
Border Services Officers (n=93) 90 9 1
Detecting abuse/fraud of Canada's immigration system
Migration Officers (n=101) 93 5 2
Migration Program Managers (n=32) 94 0 6
Border Services Officers (n=93) 86 10 4
Enhancing the safety/security of Canada
Migration Officers (n=101) 91 7 2
Migration Program Managers (n=32) 100 0 0
Border Services Officers (n=93) 88 10 2

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Appendix F: Survey findings on formal and informal avenues for discussion for IRCC migration offices abroad

Table F1: Presence of formal avenues for discussion
Presence of formal avaenues for discussion Yes (%) No (%) Don't Know (%)
Within the Migration office
Migration Officer (n=101) 47 38 16
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 47 47 6
With other Migration office
Migration Officer (n=101) 21 48 32
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 34 56 9
With IRCC-NHQ
Migration Officer (n=101) 29 27 45
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 38 34 28

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Table F2: Presence of informal avenues for discussion
Presence of informal avenues for discussion Yes (%) No (%) Don't Know (%)
Within the Migration office
Migration Officer (n=101) 97 2 1
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 97 0 3
With other Migration office
Migration Officer (n=101) 68 12 20
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 100 0 0
With IRCC-NHQ
Migration Officer (n=101) 48 17 36
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 81 6 13

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Table F3: Need for more formal avenues for discussion
Need for more formal avenues for discussion Yes (%) No (%) Don't Know (%)
Within the Migration office
Migration Officer (n=101) 36 57 7
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 13 78 9
With other Migration office
Migration Officer (n=101) 53 36 11
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 25 66 9
With IRCC-NHQ
Migration Officer (n=101) 72 16 12
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 66 16 19

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Table F4: Effectiveness of avenues for discussion
Effectiveness if avenues for discussion Agree (%) Disagree (%)
Within the Migration office
Migration Officer (n=98) 77 23
Migration Program Manager (n=31) 74 26
With other Migration office
Migration Officer (n=70) 73 27
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 69 31
With IRCC-NHQ
Migration Officer (n=59) 63 37
Migration Program Manager (n=26) 69 31

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Appendix G: Survey findings on the value of biometrics and IIS with the US in decision-making

Table G1: Extent to which Biometrics are Valuable to Decision-Making
Decision making A Great Deal
(%)
Quite a Bit
(%)
Somewhat
(%)
Very Little
(%)
Not al All
(%)
Migration Officer (n=95) 37 37 21 5 0
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 34 47 19 0 0
Border Services Officer (n=148) 44 39 12 4 1

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Table G2: Extent to which IIS with the US is Valuable to Decision-Making
Decision making A Great Deal
(%)
Quite a Bit
(%)
Somewhat
(%)
Very Little
(%)
Not al All
(%)
Migration Officer (n=101) 27 46 25 3 0
Migration Program Manager (n=32) 19 63 16 3 0
Border Services Officer (n=93) 40 37 17 3 3

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

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