Bill C-21 (“An Act to Amend the Customs Act”) which received Royal Assent on December, 13, 2018, gives Canada the authority to collect basic biographic information on all Canadians who leave the country by land and by air. Previously, this information was only collected as entry requirements. This information will be used for complete travel history information for travelers which will help the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) and its Federal partners (ex. Public Safety Canada) strengthen Canadian borders. The CBSA stated, “This initiative will help Canada make better, timely decisions on border management, law enforcement, national security, citizenship applications, immigration, and social services.”
At Land Ports of Entry, Canada will receive the biographic information from the United States for travelers entering the US which will create an “exit record.”
At Air ports, Canada will gather exit records that air carriers collect from passenger manifests. This information, however, will not be shared with the U.S.A.
Canada and the U.S.A. have been coordinating an entry-exit information system since 2011. In short, the record of a land entry to one country can be used to establish an exit record from the other country. This system was confirmed successful after a 2013 joint report summarized the findings of four U.S.-Canada land ports which reconciled the biographic entry information of certain travelers from September 30, 2012 to January 15, 2013.
For those interested in applying for Canadian Citizenship and renewing their Permanent Resident cards, there are physical residency requirements to be tracked. For example, 730 days of physical presence must be proven for an applicant to apply for a new Permanent residence in Canada. The new exit record and exit stamps will be used to confirm applicants’ days in and out of Canada.
Concerned about cross border mobility between Canada and the United States? Please contact Partner Véronique Malka, Chair of the Canadian Law Group: firstname.lastname@example.org.