Privacy in our programs

We collect your personal information when you apply for our programs. Find out how we manage your personal information.

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Response to the Office of the Information Commissioner’s Systemic Investigation

On February 26, 2020, the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) initiated the systemic investigation into Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) processing of Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests for client immigration files, to understand the cause of an increase in the number of delay and time extension complaints related to IRCC Access to Information Act requests, as well as to examine the strategies employed by the Department to effectively address the root cause of the issue.

On February 18, 2021, IRCC received the OIC’s findings from the Systemic Investigation, as well as its recommendations for actions necessary to resolve each of the identified issues.

IRCC has responded to the OIC to acknowledge the OIC’s recommendations, and has further committed to submit a Management Action Plan to outline how IRCC is responding to the OIC recommendations. For detailed information, please refer to the OIC Report and IRCC’s Management Action Plan.

IRCC sees the advancement of these issues as having the potential to enhance ATIP services to Canadians, permanent residents, and other IRCC clients, as well as increase our efficiencies as Canada’s busiest ATIP office.

Biometrics: Collecting information and ensuring privacy

We have developed policies on the collection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposition of biometric information that comply with the Privacy Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

These measures also apply to the sharing of biometric-based information with country partners (M5).

Technological safeguards ensure that client information is collected, stored and transmitted securely using encryption.

Your information is deleted from the collection system once it’s been successfully transmitted to the Canadian Immigration Biometrics Identification System.

Personal information is stored in our Personal Information Bank (PIB). A person has the right to access their personal information under Canada’s privacy laws. If they want to do so, they can make a formal request. For more information, they can visit Info Source or contact the Canadian visa office responsible for the country or region where they live.

Personal information is stored in the PIB IRCC PPU 039, 068 and 042, and fingerprints will be stored in the PIB CMP PPU 030. The PIB information should be included with the request.

Sharing information with Elections Canada

We collect personal information from non-Canadian citizens in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to decide their eligibility to enter or stay in Canada. We also use this information to run our programs.

Elections Canada (EC) keeps the National Register of Electors (NRoE) database. The NRoE is a permanent, regularly-updated database of Canadians who are qualified to vote in federal elections and referendums. EC uses the information in the NRoE to create lists of electors (voters’ lists) for federal elections and referendums.

Canadian citizenship status is one of the criteria needed in order to vote in Canadian federal elections and referendums. Foreign Nationals (FN) and Permanent Residents (PR) are groups of people who do not meet this criteria. Therefore they’re not eligible to vote in Canadian federal elections and referendums.

Since 1997, we have shared information with EC as the authoritative source of new citizen data to help ensure that the NRoE is as complete, accurate and as up-to-date as possible. As of April 1, 2019, we’ll also share with EC select personal information of existing and new FNs and PRs on a scheduled, timely basis, initially until 2023. We will do this to help make sure people who are FNs or PRs are not accidentally listed in the NRoE.

The disclosure of this personal information by us to EC in order to update the NRoE is authorized by the Canada Elections Act.

The Privacy Act gives you the right to access, protect, and correct your personal information. If you’re not satisfied with how we handle your personal information, you may file a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The collection, use, disclosure and retention of your personal information is stored in the following Personal Information Banks:

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada

Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement (PPU 008);

In-Canada Asylum (PPU 009);

Federal Immigrant Investors and Entrepreneurs (PPU 010);

Permanent Economic Residents (PPU 042);

International Students (PPU 051);

International Mobility (PPU 054); and

Elections Canada

Voter Registration and Identification (PPU 037)


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