Canada and the U.S are implementing a program that will provide customs and border officers of both countries information on each trip you make across either border. The Border Protection officer will be able to see when you left each country, and when you return. A pilot program has begun that will establish procedures to fully implement this capability in 2014.
Ports to be used in the pilot project
- Pacific Highway, Surrey, British Columbia / Pacific Highway, Blaine, Washington
- Peace Arch, Surrey, British Columbia / Peace Arch, Blaine, Washington
- Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Niagara-on-the Lake, Ontario / Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, Lewiston, New York
- Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, Ontario / Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, New York
Border crossing information to be shared in the pilot program
- first name, last name, middle name
- date of birth
- document type
- document number
- document country of issuance
- work location code / U.S. port of entry codes
- date of entry
- time of entry
- border crossing port used by the traveler
Exit / Entry Program Benefits
- identify persons who potentially overstay their lawful period of admission
- track the departure of persons subject to removal orders
- verify that residency requirements are being met by applicants for continued eligibility in immigration programs
- help identify people involved in organized crime or terrorism
Both countries state that the process of collecting and sharing personal information will be done in accordance with each country’s privacy laws and policies. However, you should be aware that as a general rule, courts do not grant you the same protections for information regarding your border crossings that they do for other types of personal information.
The official press release also says that that during the pilot program, “the intention is that there will be no enforcement action” based on information obtained during the pilot program. We suspect that the words for the press release were very carefully chosen, and that you should not expect to get away with a violation of the law if it is noted during this implementation period.
This pilot program is titled the Entry/Exit initiative and is part of the “Beyond the Border Action Plan”. For more information on what types of information is collected and retained during your border crossing see our page “What They Know About You”.