Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has advised that the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project it is leading in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has moved from the planning to implementation phase, with an anticipated start date of 2013.
Biometrics is the measurement of an individual’s unique physical characteristics such as his or her fingerprints for purposes such as verifying identity.
Beginning in 2013, individuals applying for visitor visas, study permits or work permits in Canada will be required to provide 10 electronic fingerprints and have their photo taken before they arrive in Canada. When the visa holder arrives in Canada, the CBSA will verify, using biometrics, that he or she is the person to whom the visa was issued.
According to CIC’s Backgrounder on the Biometrics Project, biometrics will help reduce identity fraud and enhance the safety and security of Canadians. In their view, biometric verification significantly reduces the chance that one individual could pose as another individual. It also means that there will be a reduced risk that an applicant’s identity will be fraudulently used by someone else to enter Canada. Finally, CIC notes, implementing biometrics will bring Canada in line with other countries—such as the United Kingdom and the United States—that already use biometrics for immigration and border security purposes.
CIC has promised to conduct a comprehensive privacy analysis for the biometrics project to ensure that the personal information it collects is protected in accordance with Canadian privacy laws.