Canada and the United States have enjoyed an excellent working relationship in the development and implementation of Phase I. Based on the results of Phase I, both Canada and the United States are optimistic about the success of the future phases of the Entry/Exit Information System.
Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness committed both nations to the pursuit of a shared approach to strengthening perimeter security and accelerating the legitimate flow of people, goods and services between the two countries. It also explicitly identified a joint Entry/Exit Information System as a key element where each country's entry data would serve as the other country's exit data at the land border.
Under the Beyond the Border Action Plan, Canada and the United States committed to establishing coordinated entry and exit systems at the common land border so that the record of a traveller's entry into one country can be utilised to establish the traveller's exit from the other.
On September 28, 2012, CBSA and DHS announced the commencement of Phase I as outlined in the Action Plan, effective September 30, 2012.
When fully implemented, the Entry/Exit Information System will support the integrity of U.S. and Canadian immigration programs by allowing for improved access management to either country; increasing the effectiveness of border management; and enabling targeted policy development and implementation. Both countries have a need to know when third country nationals and permanent residents enter and depart their country in order to be able to determine whether domestic immigration laws are being followed. Exchanging entry data between Canada and the United States allows both countries to obtain the departure data needed to achieve this objective without requiring expensive new infrastructure and procedures that would slow down travel, trade, and commerce between the two countries.
Phase I of this program consisted of a proof of concept which enabled both governments to exchange biographic entry data to evaluate the validity of the information sharing concept and for statistical and analytical purposes, and to identify the steps necessary for improvements to subsequent phases. The biographic entry data exchanged was only used for specified purposes, and the scope for the exchange was limited, in terms of population and ports of entry participation.
Phase I was launched on September 30, 2012, and its scope was limited to the exchange of biographic entry data on third country nationals and permanent residents of either country at four automated common land border ports of entry (POEs)(3). The Phase I proof of concept ran from September 30, 2012 until January 15, 2013.
Biographic Entry Data
The United States and Canada selected 12 data elements, based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards that were believed to provide the best reconciliation results. These data elements were already being collected automatically by each country as part of their entry processes and allowed both countries to determine that the individual fell within the scope of the initiative. The collected data elements that were exchanged about the travellers were first name, middle name, last name, date of birth, nationality, gender, document type (e.g., a passport), document number, document country of issuance, work location code / U.S. POE codes, date of entry, and time of entry.
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