Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM)

The Standing Committee on Citizenship & Immigration (CIMM) met twice this week to examine the current issues of security in Canada’s immigration system.

On Tuesday (February 14th), the Committee heard testimony from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) and the Canadian Boarder Services Agency (CBSA) on the current use of biometrics technology on refugee claimants and temporary foreign worker visa applicants as well as the proposed use of electronic travel authority (ETA) forms to prevent inadmissible individuals from reaching Canada.

On Thursday (February 16th), the Committee heard testimony from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Office of the Auditor-General of Canada, and the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The Committee examined the privacy concerns involved with the use of biometrics technology, the potential problems of sharing the data collected with Canada’s allies (especially the United States), the current gaps and inefficiencies in the processing of visa applications, and the problems involved with the processing of refugee claimants including their detention and removal.

Minister Jason Kenny also introduced Bill C-31 in the House of Commons on Wednesday (February 15th), a bill which will allow the minister to select ‘safe’ countries from which to accept refugees and confirms the implementation of biometrics technology in the tracking of refugee claimants.

In the following weeks, the Committee will continue to assess the use of biometrics technology and the ways in which Canada’s immigration system can be made more secure.