This week, the federal government introduced Bill C-21, which will create a log of all travellers leaving or expected to leave Canada. The bill opens the door to a number of potential problems, from profiling to breach of privacy and information sharing on a major scale.
According to the bill, individuals could be subjected to profiling and closer scrutiny based on the origin of their name, their citizenship or nationality, the type of travel document they carry, and their travel destination. Moreover, anyone could be stopped and questioned by an officer, which again could result in profiling, as well as arbitrary questioning and breach of privacy since no limit is set on what kind of questions may be asked. Information collected could be shared with a number of government ministers and departmental directors, including the minister of citizenship and immigration, the minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Transport Security Authority, the Commissioner of the RCMP, and the Director of CSIS.
It is unclear, under the bill, how much of the information collected would be shared with United States authorities and how they would use it, but Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, has said only basic passport information will be shared.
The bill comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Washington last March, when he and US President Barack Obama agreed to strengthen Canada-US border security agreements and to share more information. It is also intended to track individuals attempting to leave to join terrorist organizations abroad.