Increased Canadian Immigration Obligation on Transportation Companies (Pt. 1)

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This is the first part of a multi-part series which will look at the effect of the Canadian Government’s increased security and information sharing measures may have on transportation to and from Canada.

On June 27, 2015, the Federal Government introduced new proposed “Regulations Amending the Protection of Passenger Information Regulations” through Part 1 – Canada Gazette.

While these regulations are several months away from being in force,  I thought it would be an interesting exercise to see how the Immigration and Refugee Protections Regulations are being amended by the new legislation. In essence, I wanted to ask the question – “what will change?”

You will see below in the embedded pdf that I have taken a particularly interesting snippet from the proposed regulations, those placing obligations on commercial transporters to report information about their passengers, and done a comparison.


The highlighted portions represent major changes.

Lessons Learned from this Exercise

I think the one thing we can take away is that the legislation in this area is becoming much more specific. The broad language that governed previous rules is being replaced by specific steps that commercial transporters (with a heavy emphasis now on both air and ground transport) must take and when they must take it.

It is very interesting to note that the requirements will be placed on commercial transporters to provide information about not only who was on the vessel but who is expected to be on the vessel. While not clarified in the legislation, it can be reasonably assumed that the Government wants to know more about the entire process – from the reservation to who actually boards the flight.

Another very interesting revelation is that the proposed regulations suggest that there will be much more communication between Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the commercial transporters. CBSA will let the commercial transporters know in advance who may be inadmissible and who may not have adequate documentation. This makes a lot of sense in the context of the electronic-Travel Authorization (eTA) requirement being implemented on August 1, 2015. Meanwhile, commercial transporters appear now to have increased obligations to guarantee the swift exit of those who are not authorized to enter Canada, including strict time deadlines.

What does this mean for the traveller? I think it means that much more vetting will occur at the front end with many airline/transport companies playing the role of a “quasi-2nd line CBSA officer.” I think travellers also need to be very careful when questioned by CBSA officers that they provide accurate information about their travel itineraries. What does this mean for the transport companies?  I think it is time to seek competent counsel (either in-house or external), as I expect the liabilities and compliance costs to increase drastically under several of these new regimes.

More to come in future posts on this topic!

About Us

Will Tao is an Award-Winning Canadian Immigration and Refugee Lawyer, Writer, and Policy Advisor based in Vancouver. Vancouver Immigration Blog is a public legal resource and social commentary


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