Privacy Impact Assessment Summary: Enrolment of the Biometric Information of Overseas Refugee Resettlement Applicants
This report is an addendum to the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project (TRBP), a joint project conducted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The objectives of the report are to: determine key areas where the collection of biometrics from overseas refugee resettlement applicants differs from the previously assessed collection of biometrics from temporary residents, to determine if privacy risks exist in these key areas, and to provide recommendations on measures to mitigate or eliminate identified risks.
As part of this project, the collection of biometric information from overseas refugee resettlement applicants began in November 2014 and involves sharing the information with the RCMP for verification against the immigration and Canadian criminal fingerprint repository, the results of which are communicated to IRCC’s Global Case Management System. The verification results support the decision-making process for overseas refugee resettlement applications.
The collection of biometric information from overseas refugee resettlement applicants differs from the collection of biometrics from temporary residents in four key areas:
- Biometric information from overseas refugee resettlement applicants is not collected in visa application centres, but rather by IRCC officers or locally-engaged staff in an overseas IRCC office, or in a refugee camp using mobile collection kits.
- Retention of biometric information collected from overseas refugee resettlement applicants is longer than the retention period for temporary resident applicants. Overseas refugee resettlement applicants’ biometric information will be retained until they are granted Canadian citizenship or reach the age of 100 years.
- The authority governing the collection of biometrics from overseas refugee resettlement applicants differs from the authority governing the collection of biometrics from temporary residents.
- Collection of biometric information may occur, in the future, at a Port of Entry, particularly in circumstances where it is not possible, or determined to be necessary, to collect biometric information from overseas refugee resettlement applicants when they are overseas.
The goal of biometric collection is to improve the quality of information available to IRCC and CBSA officers to allow them to make more informed decisions relating to an applicant’s admissibility. Through biometrics, where it is collected, the biometric identity of an overseas refugee resettlement applicant will be fixed at the time of application, authenticated through checks with Canadian criminal and immigration databases, and verified by CBSA Border Services Officers when the individual arrives at a Port of Entry. As a result, the Government of Canada will be in a better position to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and prevent abuse of the immigration system while facilitating the processing of persons in need of protection.
This report has identified privacy risks and their respective mitigation mechanisms. It is worth noting that no high-level risks were identified related to the privacy and security of personal information. Risk mitigation measures related to IT security and providing adequate notice to individuals regarding the collection of their personal information have already been implemented. Risk mitigation measures related to updating Personal Information Banks and documenting the roles and responsibilities of IRCC, CBSA and RCMP are expected to be completed shortly.
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