Agreement for Canada-British Columbia
Co-Operation on Immigration - 2004

Annex G:
Canada-British Colombia Memorandum of Understanding on Information-Sharing on Immigration and Social Assistance


A. BETWEEN:

The Government of Canada, Department of Citizenship and Immigration, as represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (hereinafter referred to as “Canada”):

and

The Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Human Resources, as represented by the Minister of Human Resources (hereinafter referred to as “British Columbia”);

B. WHEREAS British Columbia desires to obtain certain personal information in the possession of Canada for the purposes of:

  1. administering and enforcing the Employment and Assistance Act, the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act and related Regulations;
  2. administering and enforcing social assistance cases administered under the former Guaranteed Available Income for Need (GAIN) Act, the former BC Benefits (Income Assistance) Act, the former BC Benefits (Youth Works) Act, the former Disability Benefits Program Act and related Regulations; and
  3. Demanding and recovering a debt due to a province by virtue of subsection 145(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, subject to this agreement between British Columbia and Canada.

C. AND WHEREAS paragraph 8(2) (f) of the Privacy Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-21 provides that a federal government institution may disclose personal information under an agreement or arrangement between the Government of Canada or an institution thereof and the government of a province, or any institution of any such government, for the purposes of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation;

D. AND WHEREAS Canada desires to obtain certain personal information in the possession of British Columbia for the purposes of:

  1. administering and enforcing the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations, or carrying out a lawful investigation there under;

E. AND WHEREAS Canada is authorized to collect and disclose personal information for the purposes described above under sections 4 and 8 of the Privacy Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. P-21);

F. AND WHEREAS section 30 of the Employment and Assistance Act and section 21 of the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act provide that British Columbia may enter into an information-sharing agreement with Canada for the purposes of administering and enforcing those acts, certain social benefit programs, and administering section 145(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;

The Parties, therefore, agree as follows:

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to put in place a formal mechanism for the exchange of information between the parties for the purposes described herein.

2.0 Use of Information

2.1 The information provided by Canada to British Columbia under clause 3.1 herein shall only be used to:

  1. Administer and enforce the Employment and Assistance Act, the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act and related Regulations,
  2. administer and enforce social assistance cases administered under the former Guaranteed Available Income for Need (GAIN) Act, the former BC Benefits (Income Assistance) Act, the former BC Benefits (Youth Works) Act, the former Disability Benefits Program Act and related Regulations; and
  3. Administer subsection 145(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;

And which uses shall include, inter alia,

  1. The determination of eligibility of individuals to benefits and services under the Acts in (a),
  2. The detection of abuse and fraud under the Acts in (a) and (b),
  3. The identification and collection of overpayments, including the institution of legal proceedings, and
  4. The identification and recovery of debts incurred as a result of immigration sponsorship default, including the institution of legal proceedings;

2.2 The information provided by British Columbia to Canada under clause 3.2 herein shall be used only to:

  1. Administer and enforce the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations, which uses shall include, inter alia,
    1. The determination of eligibility of individuals to submit sponsorship undertakings on behalf of foreign nationals seeking permanent resident status in Canada,
    2. The determination of foreign nationals’ admissibility,
    3. The confirmation of the validity period of an undertaking and identification of sponsorship default,
    4. The determination of the location of persons who have eluded examination, inquiry or removal under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and
    5. The detection of individuals who provide false or misleading information or who are otherwise in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations

2.3 Anonymized, non-identifiable information exchanged between British Columbia and Canada pursuant to this Memorandum of Understanding may be used to carry out research, studies, analyses and evaluations in support of immigration policy development by both parties.

2.4 Neither party shall use the information provided under this Memorandum of Understanding unless it is for a purpose specifically authorized herein or specifically permitted or required by law.

3.0 Information to be Exchanged

3.1 Upon being provided by British Columbia with the name, date of birth, and, if known, the federal client identification number or document identification number of an individual, Canada will search its records and will provide British Columbia, if available, the following information about the individual:

  1. Federal client identification number(s) or document identification number(s);
  2. Name(s) and/or aliases;
  3. Date of birth;
  4. Sex;
  5. Current and/or last known addresses;
  6. Current and/or last known telephone numbers;
  7. Marital status;
  8. Date of entry or date of arrival in Canada;
  9. Date of landing or date of permanent resident status;
  10. Immigrant category or class;
  11. Immigration status which shall include but is not limited to information relating to the individual’s:
    1. Current residency status in Canada,
    2. Application for refugee protection status, eligibility decision with respect to the individual’s refugee protection claim and date of final determination,
    3. Status of the individual’s application for Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.
    4. Application for permanent resident status,
    5. Date immigration warrant issued,
    6. Status of current and prior removal orders, including date of issuance and date of actual removal or departure,
    7. Appeals of a decision of the Immigrant Refugee Board (IRB);
  12. Details of any sponsorship undertaking including, but not limited to:
    1. Name, aliases, date of birth and current and/or last known address(es) of sponsor,
    2. Name, aliases, date of birth and current and/or last known address(es) of undertaking co-signer,
    3. Name and date(s) of birth of person(s) listed on the sponsorship undertaking,
    4. Start and end dates of the sponsorship undertaking;
  13. Details of any notifications of sponsorship default sent to sponsors and/or co-signers
  14. Eligibility to apply for a work permit, status of application or validity period of work permit if one has been issued;
  15. Eligibility to apply for a student permit, status of application or validity period of student permit if one has been issued;
  16. Financial assets;
  17. Status of the individual’s application for assistance including financial assistance in cash or kind, such as that provided by a government resettlement assistance program or a private sponsorship program, eligibility decisions with respect to the individual’s claim for assistance and date of final determination.

This information shall only be used for the purposes described in clauses 2.1 and 2.3 herein.

3.2 Upon being provided by Canada with the name, date of birth and if known, the provincial Person Identification Number of an individual, British Columbia will search its records and, if the individual is currently or since 1985 has been in receipt of social assistance under the

  1. Employment and Assistance Act, the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act and related Regulations; or
  2. Under the former Guaranteed Available Income for Need (GAIN) Act, the former BC Benefits (Income Assistance) Act, the former BC Benefits (Youth Works) Act, the former Disability Benefits Program Act and related Regulations;

Provide Canada, if available, the following information about the individual:

  1. Provincial Person Identification number (PID);
  2. Name(s) and/or aliases;
  3. Date of birth;
  4. Sex;
  5. Current and/or last known addresses;
  6. Current and/or last known telephone numbers;
  7. Marital status;
  8. Details of any social assistance applied for, if no final determination has been made, or received, including but not limited to:
    1. Start and end dates of social assistance payments made,
    2. Type of monthly social assistance paid,
    3. Name(s) and date(s) of birth of any family member(s) covered by the social assistance,
  9. Details regarding repayment of any amount resulting from sponsorship default, including but not limited to:
    1. Whether the sponsor or co-signer is willing or able to resume sponsorship obligations and if not, the reasons why;
    2. Reason for deferred collection,
    3. Confirmation that any debt resulting from sponsorship default has been repaid to the satisfaction of British Columbia;
  10. Other sources of earned income;
  11. Financial assets;

This information shall only be used for the purposes described in clauses 2.2 and 2.3 herein.

3.3 Each party shall communicate the information covered by this Memorandum of Understanding in such form and at such intervals as shall be mutually agreed upon between the parties concerned.

3.4 Exchange of information under this Memorandum may occur through such computerized exchanges as may be developed between the parties, respecting the purpose and context of this Memorandum.

4.0 Social Assistance

4.1 Section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations defines ‘social assistance’ as “any benefit in the form of money, goods or services provided to or on behalf of a person by a province under a program of social assistance, including a program of social assistance designated by a province to provide for basic requirements including food, shelter, clothing, fuel, utilities, household supplies, personal requirements and health care not provided by public health care, including dental care and eye care”.

  1. Programs of social assistance designated by British Columbia are listed in clauses 4.2 and 4.3 herein.

4.2 Pursuant to paragraph 133(1) (k) (social assistance) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, an individual will be ineligible to sponsor an application for permanent residence of a foreign national if he or she is in receipt of:

  1. “Income assistance”, “hardship assistance” or a “supplement” under the Employment and Assistance Act (S.B.C. 2002, c. 40)

4.3 Pursuant to paragraph 133(1)(g)(i) and section 135 (default) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, a sponsor is considered to be in default and ineligible to sponsor an application for permanent residence of a foreign national if, during the validity period of a sponsorship undertaking, a previously sponsored person received:

  1. “Income assistance”, “hardship assistance” or a “supplement” under the Employment and Assistance Act (S.B.C. 2002, c.40);
  2. “Disability assistance”, “hardship assistance” or a “supplement” under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act (S.B.C. 2002, c.41);
  3. “Income assistance” or social services under subsection 2(1) of the former Guaranteed Available Income for Need Act (R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 158);
  4. Income assistance or benefits under section 3 of the former BC Benefits (Income Assistance) Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 27);
  5. Hardship assistance under section 4 of the former BC Benefits (Income Assistance) Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 27);
  6. A youth allowance or benefit under section 4 of the former BC Benefits (Youth Works) Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 28); or
  7. A disability allowance or benefits under section 2 of the former Disability Benefits Program Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c.97).

5.0 Enforcement of Sponsorship Default

5.1 Pursuant to the authority of subsection 145(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, an amount that a sponsor is required to pay under the terms of an undertaking is payable on demand to Her Majesty in right of Canada and Her Majesty in right of the province concerned and may be recovered by Her Majesty in either or both of those rights.

  1. With regard to any debts arising under subsection 145(2) as the result of social assistance payments made by British Columbia as described in clause 4.3 herein, the amount payable is payable to Her Majesty in right of British Columbia.

5.2 Pursuant to section 135 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, default ends when the sponsor reimburses the province, in full or in accordance with an agreement with the province, for amounts paid by it. These agreements may permit, for example, partial repayments or staggered re-payment. In either case, default continues until the total amount that a person is required to pay is repaid to the satisfaction of British Columbia.

5.3 In cases of family violence, British Columbia will make a determination pursuant to its own guidelines whether collection action should be taken immediately or deferred until a later date. Canada will consider the sponsor to remain in default until social assistance payments are repaid to the satisfaction of British Columbia.

6.0 Financial Arrangements

6.1 Each party waives any claim for reimbursement from the other party of any cost it may incur in carrying out its obligations under this Memorandum of Understanding.

7.0 Confidentiality and Limitations

7.1 Each party undertakes to maintain, respect and protect fully the confidentiality of the information received under this Memorandum of Understanding and not to release it to anyone other than the individual to whom it relates, unless such release is clearly authorized herein or specifically required by law.

7.2 In order to prevent the unauthorized disclosure, copying, use, or modification of information provided to a party under this Memorandum of Understanding, the receiving party is to restrict access to such information on a need to know basis, and use recognized security mechanisms such as passwords, encryption or other reasonable safeguards.

7.3 Any personal information supplied by either party to the other shall be maintained, retained and disposed of in accordance with,

  1. in the case of information in the possession of Canada, the National Archives of Canada Act (R.S.C. 1985, c.1 (3rd) (Supp.)), the Privacy Act and regulations made there under and with the Government of Canada Security Policy covering the administrative and technical safeguarding of personal information; or
  2. in the case of information in the possession of British Columbia, British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Document Disposal Act and supporting operating directives and guidelines covering the administrative, technical and physical safeguarding of the personal information;

Whichever shall apply.

7.4 The parties agree the information requested under the terms of this Memorandum of Understanding will be a copy of the information requested, and do not guarantee its accuracy and will not be held responsible to the other party for any damages resulting from the transmission or use of any information that is inaccurate or incomplete.

7.5 Where the providing party has supplied information that is later found to be inaccurate, it is to give written notice to the receiving party who is, subject to its laws, to take the action necessary to conform its records to those of the providing party.

7.6 Upon the termination of this Memorandum of Understanding, the information supplied by one party to the other shall be destroyed or shall be disposed of in accordance with the laws governing the retention and disposal of the information of the respective parties. Each party shall acknowledge in writing to the other that the disposal of the information has been effected in the agreed manner.

7.7 British Columbia and Canada will ensure that staff members having access to the information exchanged under this Memorandum of Understanding are fully familiar and compliant with their respective security and confidentiality policy, legislation and regulations.

8.0 Monitoring and Audit/Evaluation

8.1 Monitoring of this Memorandum of Understanding will be subject to regular discussion on an as-needed basis upon the request of either party and through the consultation mechanisms established under the Agreement for Canada-British Columbia Cooperation on Immigration.

8.2 Both parties reserve the right to inspect and investigate any matter of concern arising from the implementation, administration and enforcement of this Memorandum of Understanding. Such inspections or investigations shall be performed directly by the parties or through an agent mutually agreed upon by the parties.

8.3 British Columbia will conduct its own audit of the practices and procedures employed in the information management processes to verify compliance with the specific terms of this Memorandum of Understanding and with the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The audit will be conducted at a time between 18 months from the date the Memorandum of Understanding is signed and before it expires.

8.4 The results of such audits and/or inspections or investigations shall be reported to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (BC) in accordance with section 42(1) (a) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and to the federal counterpart.

9.0 Notices

9.1 The parties may agree to amend in writing this Memorandum of Understanding in whole or in part. The parties undertake to give one another notice of any change in policy, regulations or legislation relating to their respective programs that is likely to affect this Memorandum of Understanding.

9.2 Any notice to be delivered in this Memorandum of Understanding should be sent to the party concerned as follows:

Address for notice to Canada:

Deputy Minister
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

Copy to:

Director General, Selection Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
7th Floor, 300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

Director General, BC and Yukon Region
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
641 - 800 Burrard Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2V8

Director General, Departmental Delivery Network
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
14th Floor, 365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

Address for notice to British Columbia:

Deputy Minister
Ministry of Human Resources
7th Floor - 614 Humboldt Street
P.O. Box 9932 Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9R2

Copies to:

Director, Planning, Performance and Data Services Branch
Ministry of Human Resources
614 Humboldt Street
P.O. Box 9932 Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9R2

Director, Immigration Policy and Intergovernmental Relations
Immigration Division
Ministry Responsible for Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services
800 Johnson Street - 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 9214, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9J1

10.0 Coming into Force/Termination of Memorandum of Understanding

10.1 This Memorandum of Understanding shall commence on, and take effect from, the date on which it is signed by the last of the parties to do so.

10.2 This Memorandum of Understanding may be amended or extended only by written agreement of the parties hereto.

10.3 Unless extended pursuant to clause 10.2 herein, this Memorandum of Understanding shall terminate 5 years from the date the last party signs the Memorandum of Understanding, or earlier if terminated by either party in accordance with clauses 10.4 and 10.5 herein.

10.4 Either party shall reserve the right to terminate this Memorandum of Understanding by giving three months written notice of termination to the other party.

10.5 Notwithstanding clause 10.3, either party shall reserve the right to terminate this Memorandum of Understanding unilaterally in the event of non-compliance with the provisions regarding the use of, security, confidentiality, collection, disclosure, maintenance, retention, destruction, disposal and the information that are contained herein. The party wishing to terminate this Memorandum of Understanding shall send to the other party a written notice of termination stating the reasons for termination and the latter party shall then have 10 business days from the date of receipt of this notice to remedy the situation to the satisfaction of the first party, failing which the Memorandum of Understanding shall be automatically terminated.

10.6 Either party shall reserve the right to suspend this Memorandum of Understanding giving seventy-two (72) hours written notice of suspension to the other party, unless both parties mutually agree in writing to the immediate suspension of the Memorandum of Understanding. Once a party suspends this Memorandum of Understanding, both parties are no longer required to continue supplying each other with information but are otherwise bound to respect the terms of this Memorandum of Understanding. The suspension shall be for a specified period, pending the resolution of matter(s) of concern, but it will not constitute an act of termination pursuant to clause 10.4 or 10.5 herein.

IN WITNESS THEREOF this Memorandum of Understanding has been signed on behalf of Canada by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and on behalf of British Columbia by the Minister of Human Resources on the dates written below:

For Canada:

original signed by
The Honorable Joseph Volpe
Minister, Citizenship and Immigration

16 May 2005
Date

Witness

For British Columbia:

original signed by
The Honorable Susan Brice
Minister, Human Resources

10 November 2004
Date

Witness

Date Modified: