Biometric Information Sharing Under the High Value Data Sharing Protocol

Canada Flag + ROW IconThe Citizenship and Immigration Canada Operational Bulletin 226 of Aug 25, 2010 states: The Five Country Conference (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand) meets annually at the Deputy Minister level to discuss immigration matters including irregular migration. In 2006, a Biometrics and Technology Sub-group was struck to encourage biometric information-sharing among partners. In 2007, under the auspices of the then Four Country Conference, Canada, the US, the UK and Australia committed the FCC to work toward the systematic exchange of biometric data for immigration purposes. As an early step, the FCC partners have launched a biometric information-sharing initiative: the High Value Data Sharing Protocol (the Protocol).

Biometric data sharing with Australia, the UK and the US has commenced. New Zealand, which joined the FCC in June 2009, is preparing to participate in the data sharing. Under the Protocol, which is premised on a bilateral exchange dynamic, each FCC partner is to share approximately 3,000 fingerprint records per year for possible matching against the fingerprint holdings of the other countries. For Canada, the records will consist of refugee claimant cases, as well as those involving foreign nationals subject to enforcement measures. With respect to refugee claims, the information received from FCC partners is expected to help corroborate refugee claimant narratives; as well as serve as a basis for Ministerial intervention and eligibility redetermination. It may also assist the CBSA in closure of outstanding immigration warrants, and in the removal process.

In order to ensure a representative sample, refugee claimant cases are being randomly selected based on time periods. It is expected that the information exchanged under the Protocol will be available to decision makers at the IRB to assist in determining individual refugee claims. The Protocol does not affect CIC’s existing bilateral info-sharing arrangement with the United States. As such, individuals identified as designated officials under the current info-sharing Statement of Mutual Understanding may continue to be approached with respect to case-by-case-biographic checks. For more information, please refer to Information Sharing manuals IN 1 and 2.  Continued

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