Information Sharing Between Canadian Immigration Authorities and Other Countries

Meurrens LawImmigration Trends

The Five Country Conference (the “FCC“), commonly referred to as the “Five Eyes” is a forum for cooperation and information sharing between the border and immigration agencies of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Under the FCC, Canada participates in manual case-by-case and automatic information exchanges with other FCC partners.

In 2009, Canada began manually running a small number of fingerprint-based immigration checks with each FCC partner as part of the High Value Data Sharing Protocol, an immigration information-sharing arrangement that was introduced as a pilot for automated information sharing.

In 2011, the members of the FCC agreed to expand and automate the manual, low volume, and case-by-case exchanges.

Since 2013, under the Beyond the Before Initiative, Canada has been automatically sharing immigration information with the United States.  Perhaps the most visible consequence of this information is the dramatically increased number of people who are determined to be inadmissible to Canada for not disclosing their United States visa applications, especially refusals.

In May, 2017, the Trudeau government expanded upon the Harper government’s initiative, and introduced regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to allow for the automatic sharing of immigration information with Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Perhaps the most immediate consequence of the new information sharing agreements will be the automatic sharing of information regarding inland asylum claimants, overseas refugee resettlement applicants, and on visa applications for individuals from certain countries that the government has deemed high risk (including Colombia, Iran, and several other Middle Eastern countries that Canada collects biometrics from).