Privacy Impact Assessment: Negative Discretion Authority

Under Section 22.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (“the Minister”) may declare that a foreign national may not become a temporary resident for up to three years if the individual raises public policy concerns. This authority, referred to as “negative discretion” came into force on August 30, 2013.

Guidelines, available on the Department’s website, provide examples of behaviours and activities that may attract the Minister’s attention for consideration under the authority, such as promoting terrorist activity or inciting hatred that is likely to lead to violence against vulnerable groups.

A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) report was completed to determine if the use of the negative discretion authority is compliant with privacy principles, if there are any associated privacy risks, and to provide recommendations for the mitigation or elimination of these risks.

The PIA report identified a few privacy risks that will be mitigated or eliminated by modifying existing personal information banks. The Department and CBSA are modifying their relevant personal information banks to reflect the identified new consistent use of personal information and to incorporate sharing of personal information with transporters for the purpose of enforcing IRPA and its regulations. Also, CBSA will replace the manual transporter notification process for the airline industry with an electronic notification system through the Interactive Advance Passenger Information (IAPI) program. There will be a separate IAPI PIA that will address the electronic notification process.

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