What the Action Plan means for privacy

Washington, D.C.
7 December 2011

The Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness provides a practical road map for speeding up legitimate trade and travel across the Canada-U.S. border, while enhancing security. 

Canada and the United States have a long history of working together to defend the freedoms and rights of our citizens and dealing with threats to our collective security. Cross-border cooperation and information sharing are crucial to these efforts.

In launching work on an action plan, both countries subscribed from the very beginning to two fundamental principles:

  • First, each country would respect the other’s sovereign right to act independently in accordance with their own interests and laws; and
  • Second, promotion of the principles of human rights, privacy and civil liberty by both countries is essential to the rule of law and effective management of our perimeter.

Consistent with these principles, both countries are committed to protecting privacy in all the initiatives undertaken and to ensuring that information sharing is pursued responsibly and with the appropriate safeguards. To this end, as an early deliverable, Canada and the U.S. will develop a set of joint privacy protection principles to guide and inform the implementation of all initiatives in the Action Plan. Information will be shared responsibly and in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian privacy laws.

Along with other issues to be determined, the set of joint principles will guide the following: data quality; necessity and minimization; access; record ratification; purpose specification and use limitation; onward transfer to third countries; retention; security safeguards; effective oversight; redress and transparency; and appropriate exceptions, such as exceptions intended to protect the privacy and identity of a victim and the identity of an informant, or to protect against disclosure of information that could jeopardize a law enforcement investigation.

Further details on these initiatives are available in the Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, available at www.borderactionplan.gc.ca