Canada Gazette, Part 1, Volume 152, Number 14: Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

April 7, 2018

Statutory authority

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Sponsoring departments

Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Executive summary

Issues: Accurately establishing and managing identity is fundamental to the integrity of Canada’s immigration programs and essential to ensuring the safety and security of Canadians. Biometrics provide a reliable and accurate means of validating and verifying identity while facilitating the entry of travellers for trade, commerce, study, tourism and other legitimate purposes that yield social and economic benefits to Canada.

International partners are increasingly relying on biometrics as part of an effective migration control and security framework. However, Canada’s biometric requirements apply to only 20% of the total visa-required population and currently there is limited authority and capacity to use biometrics upon arrival. These gaps leave Canada’s immigration programs and border management vulnerable to identity fraud and prevent Canada from taking full advantage of the benefits that biometrics have to offer.

Description: The regulatory proposal would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) to provide specificity to provisions of the general legislative framework approved through the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 in June 2015, but not yet in force, by implementing the expansion of biometrics collection to all persons applying for temporary or permanent residence (including all those applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa or status, work permit, study permit, or temporary resident permit) under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act). The proposed Regulations would exempt certain applicants from the biometrics collection requirement (e.g. applicants under the age of 14 years) and would also outline the procedures for the collection of biometric information and for the verification of this information upon arrival to Canada.

Cost-benefit statement: Total monetized cost impacts of expanding Canada’s biometrics collection, for the period 2018–2019 to 2027–2028, are estimated to be $118.8 million in present value (PV) and total benefits are estimated to be $159.2 million (PV). The net monetized impact is an estimated $40.4 million (PV) in benefits to Canadians.

“One-for-One“ Rule and small business lens: The “One-for-One“ Rule and the small business lens do not apply to this proposal, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Domestic and international coordination and cooperation: Should this proposal be approved, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will work closely with key partners, including the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Shared Services Canada (SSC) to expand Canada’s biometrics program. From an international perspective, Canada must keep pace with international partners that are increasingly relying on biometrics for effective screening practices. More than 70 countries worldwide have implemented or are planning to implement biometrics in their immigration and border programs, including allies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union.

Background

At the centre of every immigration and border system is the inherent trade-off between facilitating the movement of legitimate travellers while deterring and detecting people who may pose a risk to the country’s security and its economic and social prosperity. The use of biometric information (i.e. fingerprints and photograph) has become an integral part of immigration screening and border management. Set against the backdrop of an increasing number of immigration applications to Canada, changing international travel patterns and greater sophistication in identity fraud, accurately determining identity is key to optimizing positive outcomes for both IRCC and the CBSA, which share the administration and enforcement of the immigration programs. While names can be changed and identity documents can be stolen or used by imposters, biometric information is reliable and helps to mitigate these challenges while facilitating entry to those who pose no risks.

The collection of biometric information is not new to Canada. Canada’s immigration and border authorities have been collecting biometric information since 1993 through discretionary authorities under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In 2013, IRCC and its partners implemented the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project (TRBP). Through the TRBP, as set out in regulations, foreign nationals from 29 visa-required countries and one territoryfootnote1 are required to provide biometric information (i.e. fingerprints and photograph) in support of their temporary resident visa, work permit or study permit applications. Biometrics have also been collected from overseas refugee resettlement applicants since late 2014. Biometrics are collected via a network of Visa Application Centres overseas and Application Support Centers in the United States. Applicants pay a biometric fee of $85, which was determined to be competitive with similar fees charged by international partners, including the United States.

Biometric information helps immigration and border authorities make decisions about the admissibility of foreign nationals applying to come to Canada. Once collected, fingerprints are transmitted to the RCMP for storage and searching against fingerprint records of known offenders, past refugee claimants, persons who were previously deported and previous immigration applicants. Fingerprints are also automatically checked against United States immigration fingerprint holdings. At the ports of entry, border services officers compare the photograph with the photo in the passport and the face of the individual presenting themselves. At Canada’s major airports, when a person’s identity is called into question, border services officers can conduct fingerprint verification at secondary examination where the traveller’s fingerprints can be compared against the fingerprints previously collected in support of their application.

Biometrics have been effective in protecting the safety and security of Canadians, bolstering the integrity of Canada’s immigration system while facilitating entry for travellers. Under the TRBP, IRCC collected biometric information from approximately 1 213 733 applicants, resulting in matches to 2 011 previous asylum claimants, 186 161 previous immigration applicants, 720 Canadian criminal records, and 134 individuals who possessed both a Canadian criminal record and a previous asylum claim. These matches helped authorities confirm identity, identify applicants with criminal histories, and those who misrepresented themselves in their applications. Better detection has likely deterred inadmissible persons from applying in the first instance, which has reduced the administrative burden of processing these applicants. Biometric verification at ports of entry has made it more difficult for foreign nationals to assume another person’s identity to gain entry into Canada. Taken together with Canada’s experience of collecting biometrics on asylum claimants and refugees, the TRBP adds to a long and proven record of success with biometrics.

The Government of Canada recognized that expanding the TRBP model to other immigration programs would capitalize on the benefits of biometrics. As a result, the Biometrics Expansion Project was initiated. In June 2015, an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was approved through the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1, which expanded the biometrics collection requirement to include all persons applying for temporary or permanent residence under the Act and provided the authority to establish regulations to implement the legislative change. This legislative amendment is anticipated to be brought into force on July 31, 2018.

IRCC is leading the Biometrics Expansion Project in partnership with the CBSA, the RCMP and SSC. The scope of the project has three broad components:

  1. Collection: Collect biometric information from all visa-required persons, all persons applying for a work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit or temporary resident status (excluding United States nationals), and all permanent resident applicants.
  2. Verification: Introduce systematic fingerprint verification for all biometrically enrolled travellers at Canada’s major airports and expand fingerprint verification capacity at additional ports of entry (i.e. airports and land borders).
  3. Information Sharing:footnote2 Increase biometric information sharing between Canada and the United States and introduce biometric information sharing with other Migration 5 (formerly known as Five Country Conference) partners (i.e. Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand).

Issues

While the TRBP has demonstrated success in better managing identity, current collection requirements are limited to 29 countries and one territory, which represent about 20% of the total visa-required population. This percentage represents a significant gap and exposes Canada’s immigration screening and border management authorities to unnecessary risk. Further, only a limited number of airports are equipped with fingerprint verification capacity and it is only used by officers on a discretionary basis. Taken together, these risks are increasingly unacceptable, particularly in light of the dual challenge of facilitating entry for a growing number of immigration applicants and travellers, as well as upholding the safety and security of Canadians.

Objectives

The objective of the regulatory proposal is to implement the legislative changes contained in the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 that were approved in June 2015, that are not yet in force, and which expand the obligation to provide biometric information to all persons applying for temporary or permanent residence under the Act. The proposed Regulations would prescribe the procedure for the collection and verification of biometric information.

Description

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations would be amended to establish the procedures to enable expanded biometrics collection and verification. The proposed amendments would consist of several key elements, detailed below.

Collection of biometric information

The biometrics collection requirement would include all persons applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa or status, work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit, or refugee protection, whether claimed inside or outside Canada, unless specifically exempted. Note: A person eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) would not be required to provide their biometrics if they were travelling to Canada as a tourist.

Biometrics would be required from persons between the ages of 14 and 79 years applying for temporary or permanent residence. The proposed Regulations would specify that the age of the person would be determined as of the date on which the claim, application or request is made. Note: The proposed Regulations would not specify an upper age cut-off for those making a refugee claim in Canada for program integrity reasons.

The proposed Regulations would require a one-time biometrics enrolment from permanent residents when applying for a new permanent resident card if they were exempt from the biometrics collection requirement at the time they applied for permanent residence because they were under the age of 14 at the time of their application. Further, these applicants would not be issued a permanent resident card until they comply with the biometrics collection requirement.

The proposed Regulations would also require that, where a person is required to provide their biometrics, they follow the prescribed procedures by presenting themselves at an enrolment facility located overseas, at a port of entry in Canada, or at other locations, if authorized or directed by an officer to do so.

Persons who are biometrically required and authorized to apply at a port of entry must present themselves at a port of entry that provides biometrics collection services. These persons would include

The proposed Regulations would ensure that asylum claimants would continue to be able to make a claim for refugee protection at any port of entry.

Protected persons and Convention refugees who make an application for permanent residence from within Canada would be required to re-enrol their biometric information at a service location in Canada.

The proposed Regulations would specify that foreign nationals who make more than one temporary resident application (e.g. applications for both a work permit and study permit) before providing their biometric information would only need to provide their biometrics and pay the collection fee once.

Exemption — Collection requirement not applicable

Persons under the age of 14 would not be required to provide their biometric information. Given that fingerprints change over time, a cut-off age range of 14 was established. This cut-off age aligns with the existing exemption under the TRBP, as well as the refugee program.

Persons over the age of 79 would not be required to provide their biometric information unless they make a claim for refugee protection in Canada.footnote 4 This upper age cut-off was chosen because fingerprints begin to deteriorate as people age, more so when they are 80 years old and older.

The following persons would not be required to provide their biometric information:

Verification of biometric information

Procedures would be established for biometric verification at ports of entry specifying that all biometrically enrolled persons would be subject to biometric verification when seeking to enter Canada. This regulation would only apply to ports of entry equipped for the verification of biometric information.

Conversion of biometric information

The proposed Regulations would allow the conversion of the person’s fingerprints and photograph into a digital biometric format. This would be used to confirm a person’s identity and their admissibility to Canada.

Exemption — Biometric information previously provided

To reduce the compliance burden on applicants, biometrics previously collected in support of a temporary resident visa, status or permit would be valid for 10 years from the date of enrolment to support a subsequent or new temporary resident visa, status or permit (also known as the “1 in 10“ policy).footnote 5

Foreign nationals who provided their biometrics under the TRBP would also benefit from this reduced collection requirement within the 10-year period they provided it (e.g. biometrics collected in 2013 would be valid until 2023).

Foreign nationals would be exempt from the biometrics collection requirement if they had already provided their biometrics in support of a permanent resident application, asylum claim or overseas refugee resettlement application and subsequently make an application for temporary resident visa, permit or status while awaiting a decision on their permanent resident application or refugee claim.

Exemption — Collection impossible or not feasible

The proposed Regulations would allow for a full exemption (i.e. fingerprints and photograph) or partial exemption (i.e. fingerprints or photograph), as the case may be, if the collection is impossible (e.g. collection system is unavailable, amputations, permanent injury) or not feasible (e.g. the situation is urgent, medical condition).

The exemption could be on a case-by-case basis (i.e. for the application in process) or forever (i.e. current and future applications), depending on the temporary or permanent nature of the situation.

The proposed Regulations would specify that if a partial exemption was for a reason relating to a temporary situation, the person applying for or requesting a temporary resident visa, permit or status would not benefit from the “1 in 10“ policy. Conversely, in situations where the collection would never be possible or feasible (e.g. amputations, permanent injury), that person would benefit from the 10-year validity.

Limitation of temporary resident status

The proposed Regulations would require a person to have valid biometrics for the duration of their intended stay in Canada. Consequently, a visa, permit or status document would not be issued or granted for a period of authorization (or stay) beyond the validity of the applicant’s biometrics. For example, a person who wants to apply for a new 10-year visa and who had last enrolled their biometrics 8 years ago could obtain a new visa for 2 years or, to receive a visa for the full 10 years, they would have to voluntarily re-enrol their biometrics (and pay the fee).

For clarification, applicants applying for permanent residence would be required to enrol their biometrics in support of every permanent resident application (even if the applicant had previously provided biometrics under the temporary resident stream within the last 10 years).

Fees

The biometrics collection requirement as well as the associated fee would not form part of an application; they would be in support of the application. If an application is returned or refused, the biometric information and fee would not be returned to the applicant. The biometric fee is for the collection service; therefore, once the service has been rendered, the fee would not be refunded.

The existing $85 fee related to services in relation to the collection of biometric information would be maintained. To ease the cost burden on families, a maximum fee of $170 would apply if an applicant and their family members make their applications or requests at the same time. Furthermore, a maximum fee of $255 would apply for three or more persons who form part of the same group of performing artists, or that group’s staff, when applying for a work permit at the same time.

Existing fee exemptions established under the TRBP would be maintained. These fee exemptions are in respect of

In addition to maintaining the existing fee exemptions, detailed above, the proposed Regulations would exempt the following persons from the biometrics fee:

The biometrics fee exemptions would also align with existing application fee exemptions in the IRPR for the following individuals who make an application for a temporary resident visa, work or study permit:

Coming into force

The proposed regulatory amendments, outlined above, would apply to claims, applications or requests made on or after the coming-into-force dates of this regulatory proposal. The amendments would be implemented in two phases: the first phasefootnote 7 would come into force upon a date fixed by an order in council — July 31, 2018. This Order in Council would bring into force provisions of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 by expanding the requirement to provide biometric information. The second phasefootnote 8 would come into force on December 31, 2018. This phased-in approach is based on a variety of factors including anticipated travel volume from each country, negotiated terms and conditions with service providers, and operational readiness in each region.

For clarification, persons who, prior to the coming-into-force dates, possess a valid visa, permit or temporary resident or permanent resident status would not be subject to biometrics collection and verification under these proposed Regulations.

Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

The proposed amendments are necessary in order for the Government of Canada to implement the expansion of the biometrics requirements to a wider applicant population. Once the relevant provisions are brought into force, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act would require that a person who makes a claim, application or request under the Act follow the procedures set out in the regulations for the collection and verification of biometric information. Consequently, the Government must prescribe in the IRPR the procedures that these applicants must follow.

Benefits and costs

The total costs of Biometrics Expansion for the analysis period (from 2018–19 to 2027–28) are estimated to be $118.8 million (PV). The total benefits resulting from the amendments are estimated to be $159.2 million (PV). The impact on Canadians is estimated at $40.4 million (PV) in net benefits.

The Biometrics Expansion Project is expected to cost $172.2 million in new fixed upfront program costs, which include operational costs for implementation, new capital, information technology costs, etc. The ongoing annual incremental processing costs are estimated at $120.1 million in the year following completion of the project. The cost benefit statement below does not report the fixed project or processing costs, nor does it account for the fee revenue. This is because the total financial cost of the biometrics project as a whole is, as a matter of policy and other administrative requirements in the Financial Administration Act, expected to be fully financed by the fees collected through the program. As a consequence, the net financial impact on the fiscal framework should be zero. The biometric fee is monitored on an annual basis or whenever there are significant changes to the program to ensure such an outcome.

The project costs for biometrics expansion are fully cost recovered by fees charged to foreign nationals, thus the biometrics program is cost neutral on Canadians. There would, however, be some foreign nationals who are working and studying in Canada who wish to renew their status or apply for permanent residence who would have to travel to a Service Canada location and provide their biometrics and pay the associated fee. The cost impact on them has been monetized in the analysis.

These costs, however, are offset by the many benefits of biometrics expansion. Monetized benefits include the collection of information that would assist in decision making in situations where those who have criminal histories and might recommit crimes would be prevented from entry, thus stopped from imposing great costs on Canadians. Further, the resulting economies of scale, which would reduce the incremental processing cost of each biometrics enrolment under the TRBP program, is a benefit to the Government of Canada, as it would no longer have to fund TRBP enrolments. Other benefits discussed qualitatively include better decision making, improved inspections at ports of entry, and enhanced information to assess asylum cases all provide for increased safety and security as well as improved integrity of the immigration and border services programs.

Cost-benefit statement

Cost-benefit statement

Costs and Benefits

2018–19

2022–23

2027–28

Total

Annualized Average

A. Quantified impacts (in millions of present value [PV] dollars)

Benefits

Stakeholders

- - - - -

Prevented criminality

Canadians / All levels of Government

1.7M

2.0M

1.4M

18.8M

2.7M

Reduced TRBP processing costs due to economies of scale benefits

Canadians/IRCC

23.9M

13.3M

9.5M

140.4M

20.0M

Total benefits

 

25.6M

15.3M

10.9M

159.2M

22.7M

Costs

Stakeholders

- - - - -

Cost to foreign nationals renewing their study or work permits from within Canada

In-Canada study and work permit holders

24.0M

0.0M

0.0M

48.5M

6.9M

Cost to foreign nationals applying for permanent residence from within Canada

In-Canada permanent residence applicants

6.3M

7.6M

5.4M

70.3M

10.0M

Total costs

 

30.3M

7.6M

5.4M

118.8M

16.9M

Total net benefits

40.4M

5.8M

B. Qualitative impacts

Qualitative benefits

Stakeholders

Description

Better detection

Canadians

Biometrics collection and verification at ports of entry would provide officers with a linkage to criminal and immigration databases to help them better detect identity fraud and support their decision making about who can travel to and enter Canada.

Stronger deterrence

Canadians/IRCC

Biometrics collection at the application stage would prompt earlier and automated screening against criminal and immigration databases, thereby deterring and preventing inadmissible travellers from entering Canada and reducing investigation and removal costs.

Improved integrity and enhanced decision making of asylum claims

Canadians/IRCC

Expanded information sharing with the remaining Migration 5 partners (i.e. Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom) would support stronger decision making based on the additional information relevant to an asylum claim made in Canada.

Facilitated movement of admissible travellers into Canada

All travellers arriving in Canada

Systematic fingerprint verification at self-service kiosks would provide a more simplified border experience for travellers, thereby reducing the need for in-depth questioning by officers.

Demand for travel to Canada

Employers of temporary foreign workers, Canadian academic institutions, and tourism operators

The proposed Regulations could have a short-term impact on employers of temporary foreign workers, Canadian academic institutions, and Canada’s tourism industry as certain foreign workers, students and tourists adjust to the new requirements. However, the proposed Regulations are not expected to significantly affect a foreign national’s decision to travel, work or study in Canada as the amount of the fee is small relative to the overall cost of travelling, working, and studying in Canada.

Business and consumer impacts

The biometrics collection requirement is not expected to result in any direct impact on Canadian business or consumers. While there may be some initial impact on tourism, student or work demand, it is not expected to result in significant declines in demand over the medium or long-term. An analysis from the TRBP, as well as experiences from other countries (e.g. the United States and the United Kingdom), has demonstrated that the requirement to provide biometrics does not result in any significant reduction in immigration application demand. Biometrics requirements are now standard practice around the world. More than 70 countries use this tool in their immigration and border programs. The implications for Canada’s competitiveness in attracting visitors, business people and students are expected to be neutral. Also, the regulatory amendments would enhance the service provided to foreign nationals in that they would require temporary resident applicants to enrol their biometrics and pay the $85 biometric fee only once every 10 years if applying again within the temporary resident stream.

Accounting for uncertainty

A sensitivity analysis was conducted to account for uncertainties relating to the extent to which biometrics would prevent inadmissible foreign nationals with previous criminality and immigration violations from entering Canada and the costs to society should they commit a new crime. A range was assigned to the criminal hit rate, understanding that the rate at which criminals would be prevented from arriving in Canada may be higher than assumed in the cost-benefit analysis given the added benefits of information-sharing capacity with partner countries. It could also be lower given the fact that the rate at which criminals would be detected was based on a sample that included much higher-risk TRBP countries. It is reasonable, and thus assumed, that the criminal hit rate could be lower if it was based on a set of lower-risk countries.

The cost-benefit analysis estimates that expanded biometrics could prevent, over 10 years, more than 1 440 foreign nationals with undisclosed previous criminality from entering Canada and up to 430 prevented crimes. At the higher end of the risk spectrum, when factoring in the benefit of expanded information sharing with Migration 5 partners, where there may be a greater variance in the criminal hit rate, it is estimated that up to 1 860 foreign nationals with undisclosed criminality would be prevented from entering Canada, resulting in close to 560 prevented crimes. The prevented criminality benefit is reported, in the main findings above, as a total benefit of $18.8M; however, if variance in the criminal hit rate is accounted for, it is estimated that it could reach up to $24.3M (PV) over 10 years.

The sensitivity analysis underscores the finding that the benefits likely outweigh the costs. Overall, the analysis suggests that the net benefit to Canadians may range from $37.4M to 45.9M (PV) over 10 years.

“One-for-One“ Rule

The “One-for-One“ Rule does not apply to this proposal, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Small business lens

There is no direct anticipated impact on small business, as the proposal does not impose an administrative burden on businesses nor does it impose compliance costs to them.

Consultation

During the development of the TRBP, the Government of Canada consulted with numerous organizations, sector councils, and associations with mandates related to immigration, security, privacy, trade and tourism. These stakeholders and others, which will also be consulted on key elements of the Biometrics Expansion Project, include, but are not limited to, the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants; Universities Canada; the Canadian Association of Tour Operators; the Canadian Bar Association; the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; the Canadian Tourism Commission; the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform; the CIC/Immigration Practitioners; the Construction Sector Council; the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security; the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services; the Fraser Institute; Jonview Canada; the Tourism Industry Association of Canada; the Canadian Airports Council; and the Air Transport Association of Canada.

Based on previous consultations, the Government anticipates that the Canadian public will generally support biometrics expansion as a means to continue to protect the safety and security of Canadians, deter fraud, and ensure effective screening of travellers and immigrants coming to Canada, thus maintaining public confidence in Canada’s managed migration. Foreign nationals, particularly from visa-exempt countries who will be impacted by the new biometrics collection requirement, may complain about the inconvenience and associated cost of having to travel to an enrolment facility to provide biometrics in person.

In response to these concerns, the proposed Regulations would reduce the compliance burden on temporary resident applicants by requiring them to provide their biometrics (and pay the fee) only once every 10 years in support of both their current and future temporary resident applications. This policy would place Canada as an international leader, with the Schengen Area as the only other region providing for a biometrics validity period (in its case, of 5 years), which can support future applications. Foreign nationals who provided their biometrics under the TRBP would also benefit from this reduced collection requirement within the 10-year period after providing their biometrics. A maximum biometrics enrolment fee and fee exemptions would help minimize the financial burden on certain applicants. For example, a maximum biometrics fee will apply to families when an applicant and their family members submit their application at the same time. As well, the biometrics fee exemptions would align with existing application fee exemptions. Finally, while not part of this regulatory package, an extensive service delivery model both in Canada and overseas would minimize the travel burden for applicants to provide their biometrics in person.

To mitigate privacy concerns, IRCC has been working in close collaboration with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) to ensure that adequate privacy protection safeguards are in place to protect applicants’ personal information once biometrics expansion is operationalized. Several Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) related to expanded biometrics collection and verification are currently being prepared or updated by IRCC and its partners. It is anticipated that all PIAs will be submitted to the OPC in advance of the implementation of the Biometrics Expansion Project. In addition, a review of IRCC’s Retention and Disposition Schedules (RDS)footnote 9 for biometric information is currently under way. IRCC and project partners will continue to work closely with the OPC to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected.

Rationale

The anticipated outcomes of biometrics expansion are to build confidence in Canada’s immigration programs, increase the safety and security of all Canadians and prevent abuse of the immigration system. These outcomes can be achieved by taking the measures presented below.

Strengthening identity management for informed admissibility decision making

The expanded collection and screening of biometric information would add a more secure and reliable identity element to a wider range of applicants. This information could be used to confirm identity more effectively and efficiently during initial and subsequent immigration interactions with the applicants, as well as throughout the traveller continuum.

Not allowing inadmissible individuals to enter or remain in Canada

Broader fingerprint collection at the application stage would allow for more applicants to be screened against RCMP records of known criminals, past refugee claimants, persons previously deported, and prior immigration applicants. Fingerprints would also be automatically checked against Migration 5 partners’ immigration holdings. This would increase IRCC and CBSA officers’ ability to make better informed admissibility decisions; better mitigate identity theft; combat irregular migration; and prevent persons who pose a risk to the safety and security of Canadians from entering the country. Undertaking systematic fingerprint verification at the major airports and expanding fingerprint verification capacity at additional ports of entry would help prevent inadmissible individuals from entering Canada.

Facilitating the movement of admissible individuals into Canada

The expanded collection, screening, and verification of biometrics would more easily allow for a traveller’s identity to be confirmed and reduce the need for more in-depth questioning at the application and arrival stages, particularly for individuals with common names or from countries with poor quality and less secure travel documents. Biometrically enrolled travellers would have their identity quickly confirmed upon arrival in Canada on a systematic basis through the self-service kiosks at the major airports. This would support efforts to manage increasing pressures on airport wait times caused by growth in air travel to Canada without putting additional pressure on officers. For returning applicants, biometric identifiers would provide a more efficient tool to help re-establish their identity and facilitate the processing of low-risk returning applicants both overseas and upon arrival in Canada.

Gender-based analysis

It is recognized that the biometrics collection requirement and the associated fee may present a financial hardship for foreign nationals with limited resources. This could have a disproportionate impact on women, as they are more likely than men to have limited resources. In recognition of this, IRCC would continue to include fee exemptions for certain applicants. The new requirements to enroll only once every 10 years should further ease the burden on temporary resident applicants who would be financially impacted.

Culturally appropriate accommodations will continue to be offered to persons during the collection of biometric information (e.g. provision of a private space and an operator of the same gender when taking the photograph).

The regulatory proposal is also intended to help officers identify inadmissible persons to Canada. Men tend to represent the majority of individuals found to be inadmissible. Increased identification of inadmissible persons is consistent with the objectives of this proposal and therefore no mitigation measures are proposed.

IRCC would monitor the roll-out of expanded biometrics collection and its possible effects on gender and diversity to determine if adjustments would be required for the proposed expansion.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

Should this regulatory proposal be approved, these regulatory changes would be implemented in two phases, as per a phased-in regional implementation plan, with the first phase targeting July 2018 and the second phase targeting December 2018. Implementation activities for biometrics expansion are underway in consultation and coordination with the CBSA, the RCMP and SSC. Activities include enhancements to existing information technology systems to support the collection, screening and verification of an increased volume of biometric information; expansion of the service delivery network in Canada and abroad; and the development of business requirements and administrative policies and procedures.

In support of expanded biometrics collection requirements and procedures, the Government of Canada would enhance client services by increasing the accessibility of biometrics collection facilities through the addition of more visa application centre locations; by implementing biometrics collection capacity at ports of entry; and by establishing in-Canada service delivery. Given these enhancements, biometrically required persons would be able to enrol their biometrics at a location most convenient to them.

IRCC’s biometrics collection services are subject to extensive information quality and service delivery standards, including capabilities to ensure the security, privacy and protection of personal information. The biometric collection system features prevent unauthorized access to client information by securely collecting and encrypting client information before it is stored and transmitted. Further protections include the deletion of client information from the collection system once the information has been successfully transmitted to the Canadian Immigration Biometrics Identification System.

A comprehensive communication strategy would be implemented to inform and engage foreign governments whose nationals will be required to provide biometric information, as well as to build awareness for affected applicants. Other communications activities would include engaging non-governmental organizations for the purpose of consultation and building awareness and engaging with the media and the general public for the purpose of increasing awareness about the expansion of biometrics in Canada’s immigration system.

Performance measurement and evaluation

The proposed Regulations align with the performance measurement indicators established for the expanded program as set out in the following:

A horizontal evaluation of the TRBP is underway and is expected to be completed by June 2018. The evaluation intends to assess core issues relating to program relevance, performance and impacts. The results of this evaluation, along with the implementation and continued review of the approved performance information profiles (listed above), will assess the effectiveness of existing performance indicators and targets and ensure that IRCC and its partners are positioned to report on outcomes.

IRCC will continue to report annually on highlights and program results and the achievements of the biometrics and information-sharing programs through IRCC’s public and internal Departmental Performance Reports.

Contacts

Contacts

Emmanuelle Deault-Bonin
Director
Identity Management and Information Sharing
Admissibility Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
180 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1
Email:
ircc.admissbep-pebadmiss.ircc@cic.gc.ca
Dale Brown
Acting Director
Traveller Transformation — Air Mode
Programs Branch
Canada Border Services Agency
335 North River Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1R 6M8
Email:
Dale.Brown@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca
PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 5(1), section 10.02footnote a, subsections 14(1) and (2)footnote b, paragraph 32(f) and subsection 89(1)footnote c of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act footnote d, proposes to make the annexed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Emmanuelle Deault-Bonin, Director, Identity Management and Information Sharing, Admissibility Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration, 180 Kent Street, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1 (tel.: 613-437-5894; email: ircc.admissbep-pebadmiss.ircc@cic.gc.ca).

Ottawa, March 29, 2018

Jurica Čapkun

Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

Amendments

1 Section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations footnote 10 is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

Clarification

(2.1) For greater certainty, neither the information referred to in subparagraphs 12.3(b)(i) and (ii) nor the fee referred to in section 315.1 form part of the application.

2 Section 12 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Return of application

12 Subject to section 140.4, if the requirements of sections 10 and 11 are not met, the application and all documents submitted in support of it, except the information referred to in subparagraphs 12.3(b)(i) and (ii), shall be returned to the applicant.

Request or application at port of entry

12.001 Subject to sections 198 and 214, a person — who under section 10.01 of the Act is required to provide their biometric information — may only make a request for a temporary resident permit under subsection 24(1) of the Act or an application for a work or study permit at a port of entry if that port of entry provides collection services for biometric information.

3 (1) Section 12.1 of the Regulations and the heading before it are replaced by the following:

Collection and Verification of Biometric Information

Collection — claims, applications, and requests

12.1 Section 10.01 of the Act does not apply to claims, applications and requests under the Act, other than the following:

Non-application — persons

12.2 (1) Section 10.01 of the Act does not apply to

Determination of age

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the age of a person shall be determined as of the date on which the application, claim or request is made.

Non-application

(3) Section 10.01 of the Act does not apply to

Procedure for collection of biometric information

12.3 For the purposes of section 10.01 of the Act, the procedure for the collection of biometric information is the following:

Processing of biometric information

12.4 For the purposes of section 10.01 of the Act, a biometric template may be created, and the information collected under paragraph 12.3(b) may be converted into a digital biometric format by using the template.

Verification of biometric information — procedure

12.5 For the purposes of section 10.01 of the Act, the procedure for the verification of biometric information to be followed by a person who has made a claim, application or request referred to in any of paragraphs 12.1(a) to (m) is that, on seeking to enter Canada and when directed by an officer or by alternative means of examination referred to in paragraph 38(b), the person shall provide the information listed in subparagraphs 12.3(b)(i) and (ii) by means of an electronic device made available for that purpose, in order to verify the biometric information that they provided under paragraph 12.3(b).

Exemption — multiple applications or requests

12.6 A person who makes more than one application or request before providing their biometric information referred to in any of paragraphs 12.1(d) to (i) is not required to provide their biometric information more than once with respect to those applications or requests.

Exemption — biometric information previously provided

12.7 (1) Subject to section 12.9, a person who makes an application or request referred to in any of paragraphs 12.1(d) to (i) is not required to provide their biometric information under section 10.01 of the Act if

Limitation

(2) Paragraph (1)(c) ceases to apply on the latest of the expiry dates of any work permit or study permit — including any renewal of them — any temporary resident visa or any temporary resident permit having an expiry date that was issued to the person if that person made the application for the permit or visa during the processing of their claim or application, referred to in any of paragraphs 12.1(a) to (c) or (j) to (l), and the claim or application referred to in any of paragraphs 12.1(a) to (c) or (j) to (l) is refused.

Exemption — collection of biometric information impossible or not feasible

12.8 A person who makes a claim, application or request referred to in any of paragraphs 12.1(a) to (m) is not required to provide, with respect to the claim, application or request in question, the information referred to in subparagraph 12.3(b)(i) or (ii), as the case may be, if the collection is impossible or not feasible.

Exception

12.9 Paragraph 12.7(1)(b) does not apply to

Clarification

12.91 For greater certainty, despite sections 12.7 to 12.9, a person may choose to provide their biometric information under section 10.01 of the Act in support of their claim, application or request.

(2) Subsection 12.2(3) of the Regulations is repealed.

4 Part 4 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following before Division 1:

DIVISION 0.1

Expiry Date

Limitation

24.6 (1) The expiry date of any work permit, study permit — including any renewal of them — temporary resident permit having an expiry date, temporary resident visa, or document that indicates the temporary resident status of a person who is a member of the visitor class, issued to a person who is required to provide their biometric information under section 10.01 of the Act, must not be later than 10 years after the latest day on which the person provided their biometric information under section 10.01 of the Act.

Determination of latest day

(2) The latest day on which the person provided their biometric information is determined at the time of the issuance of the permit, visa or other document.

5 Subsection 59(1) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “and” at the end of paragraph (c) and by adding the following after that paragraph:

6 The portion of section 140.4 of the Regulations before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

Return of documents

140.4 An application for a permanent resident visa made under this Division, its related sponsorship application made under Division 2 of this Part and all documents submitted in support of the applications, except the information referred to in subparagraphs 12.3(b)(i) and (ii), shall be returned to the person who sent the applications as a result of the choice made under subsection 140.2(1) if

7 Subsection 183(4) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (c) and by adding the following after that paragraph:

8 The heading before section 315.1 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Services in Relation to Collection of Biometric Information

9 (1) Subsections 315.1(1) and (2) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

Fee — $85

315.1 (1) A fee of $85 is payable for the provision of services in relation to the collection of biometric information under section 10.01 of the Act.

Exemptions

(2) The following persons are not required to pay the fee referred to in subsection (1):

(2) Paragraphs 315.1(3)(a) and (b) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

10 (1) The Regulations are amended by adding, after Schedule 1, the Schedule 1.01 set out in the schedule to these Regulations.

(2) Schedule 1.01 of the Regulations is repealed.

Coming into Force

11 (1) These Regulations, except subsections 3(2) and 10(2), come into force on July 31, 2018.

(2) Subsections 3(2) and 10(2) come into force on December 31, 2018.

SCHEDULE

(Subsection 10(1))

SCHEDULE 1.01

(Subsection 12.2(3))

Country