The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has been fighting to protect Canadians’ right to privacy for decades. The announcement of the “Beyond the Border” action plan in February 2011, preceding the implementation of the Canada-U.S. Security Perimeter, raised concerns for CCLA. In particular, CCLA has been concerned about the consequences of the proposed security perimeter with regards to privacy, due process, the cross-border integration of law enforcement, and information gathering and sharing. How will the border agreement affect citizens, travelers and migrants on both sides of the border? Will international and constitutional guarantees be upheld? Does the agreement include redress mechanisms, as well as judicial, independent oversight in sensitive areas such as intelligence gathering and listing?
Since the February 2011 announcement of the “Beyond the Border” plan, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has been advocating for the respect of constitutional guarantees, to ensure that privacy rights and other fundamental rights are not weakened or violated by the agreement. CCLA expressed its concerns early on, with a nationally published op-ed written ahead of the 2011 Federal Election. Since then, CCLA has been proactive on this issue.
Specifically, CCLA has taken the following steps:
>> Presented oral and written submissions to the “Beyond the Border” Working Group (BBWG). Composed of representatives from various departments and offices of the respective federal governments, the BBWG was tasked with conducting a public consultation. It released its report in September 2011.
To read more about the BBWG report and CCLA’s submissions, click here.
>> CCLA, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Privacy International (UK) released 12 Core Legal Principles for the Canada-U.S. Security Perimeter in early December 2011. Given the international, cross-border nature of the Security Perimeter and its potential effects, an international perspective which brings together civil rights groups from key affected countries is important.
The 12 Core Legal Principles for the Canada-U.S. Security Perimeter, are available here for download (PDF), or here in HTML format. Read the press release here. (Version française disponible ici (PDF) ou ici en version HTML)
>> CCLA joined forces with a number of Canadian civil rights and advocacy groups, calling on the Canadian government to protect and uphold the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens.
The final document, entitled “Statement of Principles on the Canada-U.S. Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness agreement”, is available here for download (PDF), or in HTML format here.
CCLA continues to monitor developments around this issue, and will keep you abreast of key issues, challenges and questions raised by the implementation of the Security Perimeter.
>> Watch Sukanya Pillay, Director of the National Security Program, discuss issues raised by the Canada-U.S. border agreement on CPAC Prime Time Politics (click on the image below to watch)