New law to let Canadian officials share immigrants personal info
Posted on March 5, 2015
Immigration officials would be given access to permanent residents’ and citizens’ personal information from other government agencies for enforcement purposes under Ottawa’s proposed changes to the laws.
The plan, published Friday, would allow information sharing between border enforcement officials, Employment and Social Development Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, the RCMP and the regulator of immigration consultants, as well as other federal and provincial bodies.
“There is a need to clarify and make explicit the legislative authority for CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) to share personal information through its different business lines and with these partners,” it said.
“CIC has relied on the Privacy Act to support some information sharing. However, this has created uncertainty regarding what information can and should be shared, and has limited CIC’s ability” for enforcement.
According to the plan, the revenue agency would play a key role in the new information regime as the changes would let immigration authorities access the secure Income Verification Program as a source to identify “possible false representation, fraud, concealment of material circumstances, or discrepancies” provided by immigration and citizenship applicants.
The information sharing, said the proposal, is meant to allow authorities to crack down on fraud, validate citizenship status for government services, authenticate the identity or status of individuals and “proactively” alert other officials of changes in their immigration status.
“This would help uphold the integrity of the immigration system as a whole and improve client service, both in the citizenship and across the government,” it said.
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