Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency and the United Kingdom Secretary of State for the Home Department acting through the Home Office Regarding the Exchange of Information

The Department of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) as the Canadian Participants and the United Kingdom Home Office as the United Kingdom Participant, hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Participants”,

Having Regard for the longstanding cooperative relationship between the immigration authorities in Canada and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;

Considering global patterns in regular and irregular migration and that the compelling need to welcome migrants and confer refugee protection on those who need it, while tackling identity-related fraud and abuse of immigration and citizenship laws, including those governing refugee resettlement and asylum systems, is important to maintaining the prosperity and security of their respective countries;

Confirming that this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is intended to facilitate the exchange of Information between the Participants to support the administration and enforcement of their respective immigration and citizenship laws, including those governing refugee resettlement and asylum systems, with due regard to their national and international human rights obligations;

Recognising the need to establish a mechanism for the exchange of Information in a manner that respects privacy, civil liberties, and human rights; and

Acknowledging that the identification of individuals who are inadmissible under their respective laws enhances their ability to facilitate the travel of bona fide visitors;

Have come to the following understanding:

  1. Scope and Purpose

    1. This MOU Regarding the Exchange of Information establishes conditions to facilitate the exchange of Information between the Participants, pursuant to their respective domestic laws and common law powers, regulations, and policies.
    2. The purpose of Information exchange under this MOU is to assist in the administration and enforcement of the Participants’ respective immigration and citizenship laws, including those governing their refugee resettlement and asylum systems.
    3. This MOU is not intended to affect the exchange of Information between the Participants under other established bilateral Information sharing arrangements or agreements.
  2. Definitions

    For the purpose of this MOU:

    1. “Refugee Resettlement and Asylum System”
      means the sum of laws and administrative and judicial practices employed by each of the Participants’ domestic governments for the purpose of adjudicating asylum claims and refugee resettlement applications, both inland and overseas;
    2. “Information”
      means data collected for the purpose of administering or enforcing the Participants’ respective domestic immigration and citizenship laws, including those governing their refugee resettlement and asylum systems, and includes but is not limited to Personal Information, policy documents and best practices, procedures, trend analysis, and statistical data;
    3. “In Writing”
      refers to communications using text, including those in electronic or automated format;
    4. “Personal Information”
      means data that relate to an individual who can be identified (i) from those data or (ii) from those data and other Information that is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the Participant, including personal identifiers such as biographic details or biometrics, any immigration or citizenship decisions made related to the individual, and any indication of the intentions of the Participant or any other person in respect of the individual. For Canada, Personal Information also includes Information about an individual who has been dead for fewer than 20 years.
  3. General

    1. Pursuant to this MOU, the Participants intend to securely exchange Information, including Personal Information, for the purpose set out in paragraph 1(b).
    2. The Participants will carry out exchanges pursuant to relevant Annexes developed by mutual consent under this MOU. The Participants understand that:
      1. The Annexes will set out any additional details about the Information that may be exchanged, methods of sharing, storage and retention, any operational procedures or additional security mechanisms, or other safeguards to be followed; and
      2. The Annexes are intended to be consistent with the terms of this MOU and the Participants’ respective domestic laws, regulations, and policies.
    3. A Participant may initiate an exchange of Information by requesting Information from the other Participant or by providing the other Participant with Information because it is relevant to the purpose set out in paragraph 1(b).
    4. The Participants intend to initiate exchanges of Information In Writing. If it is not reasonably practicable to make a request In Writing prior to Information being exchanged, the requesting Participant will confirm the request In Writing as soon as possible thereafter. If Information is provided because it is deemed relevant to the purpose set out in paragraph 1(b) and this exchange cannot be initiated In Writing, the initiating Participant intends to confirm the exchange In Writing as soon as possible thereafter.
    5. The Annexes to this MOU may, where specified, constitute a prior written arrangement for the exchange of the Information specified therein, thereby satisfying the need to request Information or initiate exchanges In Writing as stated in paragraph 3(d).
    6. If a Participant determines that sharing Information under this MOU may be inconsistent with its domestic laws or international obligations, or detrimental to its national sovereignty, national security, public policy, or other important national interest, the Participant may decline to provide all or part of the Information or offer to provide all or part of the Information subject to such terms and conditions as it may specify. When a Participant declines a request or postpones a response to a request for Information, whenever possible, that Participant will communicate to the other Participant the reasons for declining or postponing the sharing of Information In Writing as soon as possible.
    7. The Participants do not intend to exchange Information if the exchange, use or further disclosure of the Information may:
      1. Cause the Information to become known to any government, authority or person of a third country from which the subject of the Information is seeking or has been granted protection under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the “1951 Convention”) and its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (the “1967 Protocol”), the 1984 Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the “1984 Convention Against Torture”), or under either Participant’s domestic laws implementing the relevant Conventions or Protocol;
      2. by virtue of that government, authority or person becoming aware of such Information, cause the subject of the Information to become eligible for the protections set out above;
      3. Cause the subject of the Information and/or the subject’s family to be placed at risk of serious harm, including refoulement, persecution, torture or any other type of harm contemplated under the 1951 Convention, the 1967 Protocol or the 1984 Convention Against Torture.
    8. The Participants intend to exchange Information in a timely manner recognizing that getting Information to decision makers within reasonable timeframes is critical in ensuring informed decision making in the administration and enforcement of domestic immigration and citizenship laws, including those governing refugee resettlement and asylum systems.
    9. Each Participant intends to notify the other by telephone or In Writing in the event of a disaster or other situation that disrupts the intended transfer of Information between them within 24 hours of becoming aware of the disaster or other situation, or as soon as possible.
  4. Exchange of Information on Refugee Resettlement Applicants and Asylum Claimants

    The Participants understand that:

    1. subject to the parameters described in paragraph 3, the Participants may exchange Information to support their respective Refugee Resettlement and Asylum Systems, including verification of identity and informed decision-making in these systems, except when the subject of the exchange of Information is alleging persecution against one of the Participants’ countries; and
    2. in addition to the conditions described in paragraph 6 with respect to sharing Information onward, disclosure by the receiving Participant of any Information received on an asylum claimant or refugee resettlement applicant to other governments or institutions will require the prior consent In Writing of the providing Participant unless otherwise stated in the Annex.
  5. Designation of Officials

    1. The Participants intend to designate officials to administer this MOU and will inform each other In Writing of such designations and related changes.
    2. The Participants may designate officials, groups of officials or entities authorised to share Information under an Annex or specify points of contact.
  6. Use and Onward Disclosure of Information

    1. The Participants may, for the purpose identified in paragraph 1(b), disclose Information received under this MOU to other domestic authorities responsible for pursuing the same purpose as they carry out their official duties. The Participants intend to ensure that their respective domestic authorities apply the same level of protection to the Information and will limit its disclosure in accordance with this MOU and its Annexes.
    2. The Participants do not intend to use or disclose Information received under this MOU and its Annexes for any purpose other than the purpose identified in paragraph 1(b), except:
      1. to the extent that a Participant’s domestic laws require that use or disclosure; or
      2. to the government of a third country, for the purposes of verifying identity or establishing the provenance of identity documents, in connection with re-documentation or return of an individual to that country.
    3. For disclosure of Information under paragraph 6(b) and subject to the limitations on sharing included in paragraphs 3 and 4:
      1. The Participant disclosing the Information will ensure that authorities to whom Information is disclosed apply a similar level of protection to the Information, and limit its use and disclosure, in accordance with this MOU and its Annexes.
      2. Where a disclosure is required under 6(b)(i), the Participant will, where not infeasible, notify the other Participant in advance and provide details of the intended disclosure and use. In the exceptional case where advance notice is infeasible, the Participant disclosing the Information will notify the other Participant as soon as possible.
      3. For disclosure under 6(b)(ii), the Participant disclosing the Information will obtain prior approval In Writing from the other Participant.
    4. The Participants intend to ensure that security classification and any restrictions, conditions or special handling instructions are appropriately marked on all Information exchanged pursuant to this MOU. In any particular case, the Participant providing the Information may, by way of protective marking or otherwise, apply additional restrictions, conditions or special handling instructions to Information exchanged pursuant to this MOU. The Participant providing the Information may decline to provide all or part of the Information if the Participant requesting the Information is unable to comply with the restrictions, conditions or special handling instructions.
    5. To prevent the unauthorised disclosure, copying, use, or modification of Information received under this MOU, each Participant intends to restrict access to the Information to those who need access to it for the purpose set out in paragraph 1(b) and to use recognised security mechanisms such as passwords, encryption, or other reasonable safeguards to prevent unauthorised access. Each Participant will ensure that all persons authorised to have access to Information received under this MOU are appropriately trained on the handling and usage restrictions that apply to this Information and intend to safeguard the Information in a manner consistent with this MOU.
    6. Each Participant intends to notify the other of any accidental or unauthorised access, use, disclosure, modification or disposal of Information received under this MOU and to provide all necessary details of the accidental or unauthorised access, use, disclosure, modification or disposal of that Information within 24 hours of becoming aware of the security breach.
  7. Accuracy of Information

    1. The Participants intend to provide each other with the most current and accurate Information available. In the event that either Participant becomes aware that the other Participant may be using or relying on inaccurate Information exchanged under this MOU, it intends to notify the other Participant immediately and provide correcting Information, where available.
    2. When a Participant receives correcting Information, that Participant intends to dispose of or correct inaccurate Information. That Participant also intends to notify the other Participant, In Writing, that it has disposed of or corrected the Information.
  8. Right of Access and Rectification

    1. When Information is shared on a particular individual or group of individuals, the Participants intend to make a notation on the subject’s client case record that the sharing has occurred. Additionally, the Participant receiving the Information intends to mark any Information retained as a result of the exchange as Information received from the providing Participant under the authority of this MOU.
    2. Each Participant will confirm, before the execution of a new Annex, that it has in place a system by which individuals may request Information about themselves that was exchanged under this MOU and its Annexes, and, where that Information is releasable to the individual, may request a correction or a notation that a request for correction was made. Any release of Information received under this MOU to the individual about whom the Information pertains is subject to the terms of paragraph 6.
    3. Each Participant will confirm before the execution of a new Annex that it has a system that allows individuals to seek redress when it is unable to release Information to the individual about whom the Information pertains.
  9. Retention and Disposal of Information

    1. Each Participant intends to retain Information exchanged pursuant to this MOU in accordance with the terms of this arrangement, the applicable Annex and its domestic law.
    2. Each Participant intends to assess the continued relevance of Information received under this MOU and to dispose of the Information securely when it is no longer relevant or necessary in accordance with its domestic law.
  10. Transactions, Performance and Management Reporting

    The Participants intend to maintain records of Information exchanged under this MOU and its Annexes and to develop performance management measures that include, but are not limited to, the number and severity of any security or privacy breaches as well as a summary of the actions taken. The Participants may keep other records in accordance with their respective applicable domestic laws and retention policies and guidance.

  11. Compliance and Review

    1. The Participants intend to conduct quality assurance activities to ensure that the activities carried out under this MOU are consistent with its intent and that of any Annexes. These may include determining:
      1. if Information has been retained instead of being disposed;
      2. if Information exchanged under this MOU was marked as received from the other Participant;
      3. if Information was shared with another entity without a prior request or notice In Writing to the other Participant; and/or
      4. any other quality assurance activities that the Participants mutually establish.
    2. Either Participant may request assurance from the other that sufficient policy, legal, or technical safeguards are being maintained with regard to the Information exchanged under this MOU and its Annexes and may request a review of the safeguards.
    3. When a Participant identifies a deficiency with respect to measures identified under paragraphs 11(a) or 11(b), the Participants intend to address such deficiency through mutual consultation. However, if a Participant considers it necessary to decline a request or postpone a response to a request for Information pursuant to this MOU pending resolution of an identified deficiency, it intends to provide notice In Writing to the other Participant.
    4. The Participants intend to jointly review this MOU. The first regular review may take place no earlier than one year and no later than five years from the date this MOU comes into effect, and as mutually decided upon thereafter.
    5. Subject to their respective domestic laws and policies, the Participants intend to take the necessary action to report any serious security or privacy breaches to the appropriate oversight body. Each Participant will confirm before the execution of a new Annex that it has a system in place that outlines appropriate steps for reporting and rectifying security or privacy breaches.
  12. Application and Interpretation

    1. This MOU is not legally binding.
    2. The Participants intend to resolve any differences regarding the interpretation and application of this MOU through mutual consultation.
    3. The Participants intend to advise each other of changes to their respective domestic laws, regulations or policies that may affect the application or interpretation of this MOU and its Annexes.
  13. Financing

    The Participants will pay their own costs and use their own equipment and personnel resources in performing their activities under this MOU.

  14. Final Dispositions

    1. This MOU will take effect upon the last signature by the Participants.
    2. The Participants may amend this MOU or any of its Annexes by their mutual consent In Writing.
    3. Either Participant may terminate this MOU or any of its Annexes at any time by giving 90 days notice, In Writing, to the other Participant. The Participants understand that paragraphs 6 through 10 will continue to apply to any Information shared pursuant to this MOU and its Annexes after such termination.

Signed in triplicate, at London on this 9th day of September 2015, in the English and French languages, with each version being equally valid.

For the Department of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada

For the Canada Border Services Agency

For the Secretary of State for the Home Department acting through the Home Office

Date Modified: