Privacy Impact Assessment Summary: Information Sharing under the Provincial Nominee Program

Immigration is a concurrent responsibility of both federal and provincial levels of government. The roles and responsibilities of each party are set out in bilateral immigration agreements established between the province or territory and Canada. All Provinces and Territories except Quebec and Nunavut have bilateral agreements enabling them to operate a Provincial Nominee Program. The Provincial Nominee Program, established in 1997, has three objectives: to meet provincial and territorial labour market and economic development needs; to promote immigration to areas of Canada that are not traditional destinations for immigrants; and to encourage economic development of minority official language communities. To achieve these objectives, provinces and territories nominate for permanent residence individuals who possess the skills necessary to address specific labour market demands and who demonstrate the ability and intent to economically establish in the nominating province or territory.

Provinces and territories are responsible for the design and management of their own Provincial Nominee Programs, including the development of stream criteria that establish eligibility. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada ensures provincial/territorial programs are consistent with federal immigration policy and legislation, and is responsible for final selection. Applicants applying to the Department for permanent residence status must possess a nomination certificate to be eligible to apply. Nominations are issued to all applicants found eligible under the Provincial/Territorial program criteria. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship does not reassess provincial/territorial criteria but rather considers the nomination as evidence of the foreign national's eligibility under the provincial or territorial program. The Department makes the final selection decision on all applications for permanent residence received under the Provincial Nominee Program.

In 2014, as the Department began renegotiating provincial and territorial bilateral agreements, measures were taken to expand on program integrity provisions in the Provincial Nominee bilateral agreements as a result of ongoing program integrity issues. A dedicated section on program integrity was added to the agreements which assigned responsibility for program integrity to provinces and territories in the administration of their programs. Clauses were also added to the agreements to coordinate activities between the Department and provinces and territories to improve the identification and addressing of incidents of misrepresentation and fraud, through information sharing.

Scope of the PIA

This privacy impact assessment examined how the Department shares personal information with, and treats personal information received from, its provincial and territorial partners for the purpose of administering and monitoring the Provincial Nominee Program. Included under this scope of work are all exchanges of personal information related to application processing of temporary and permanent applications and the ad hoc exchange of personal information as part of processing applications and maintaining program integrity within the Provincial Nominee Program.

Summary of Privacy Issues and Mitigation Strategies

This privacy impact assessment has identified two privacy risks, including that:

  • personal information could be used or disclosed for personal purposes by employees; or
  • personal information is compromised during transfer between parties.

Though the impact of the above risks could be high should they occur, the Department has assessed that there is a low likelihood of occurrence in light of the strategies adopted by the Department to mitigate these types of privacy risks, including:

  • requiring employees to take an oath of employment, and following the values and ethic code of conduct. Further, employee use of data is monitored, and can be audited at any time; and
  • use of encryption technologies for sharing of personal information between parties.
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