Proposed measure seeks to improve Canadian security

Proposed changes to Canada's Customs Act would help officials better track who is leaving the country and help improve security. That is the intention of Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who has proposed the amendment to the act.

Goodale noted that the amendment would require border guards to collect only basic information on people leaving the country. All of that information, including name, birth date, nationality and gender, is already included on passports. Therefore it is tracked for people who leave the country via air, but not those who cross the border by other methods.

By tracking who is leaving the country and when, officials hope to better prevent terrorism, smuggling, human trafficking and parents and others illegally taking children out of the country. It will also help track people who are collecting government benefits who are no longer living in Canada. Further, it would save immigration enforcement resources spent looking for people who are no longer in the country. According to Goodale, all of this could save the country "several tens of millions of dollars a year, perhaps more."

The amendment would help implement the last part of a joint border initiative signed by Canada and the U.S. in 2011. It would also bring Canada up-to-speed with procedures already in place by the "Five Eyes" countries -- the intelligence alliance that Canada has with the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Goodale assured Canadians that the measure is meant to step up security and not to "impede the flow of people and goods across the border." The amendment shouldn't impact anyone who's legally crossing the border and not doing anything to break the law. However, if you run into issues, an immigration lawyer can provide guidance.

Source: CBC News, "New bill would allow border guards to collect biographic data on those leaving Canada," Peter Zimonjic, June 15, 2016

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