Canada recently signed an agreement with the United States that commits Canada to share information regarding those entering Canada.  The agreement, called the Immigration Information Sharing Treaty, is a component of the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan.

The treaty specifically commits Canada and the United States to share information regarding third-country nationals who apply for a visa or a permit to travel to either country or asylum claimants. The treaty will not apply to citizens or permanent residents of Canada or the United States.   

The federal government has touted the treaty as a way to improve the screening of temporary entrants, including temporary foreign workers.  Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has pointed to the system as a method to not only improve national security, but also to ensure the integrity of the immigration, visa, and work permit system.  The Minister has also stated that better information sharing should help to catch individuals who violate immigration rules.  Under the treaty, biometric immigration information sharing will begin in 2013, while biometric information sharing will begin in 2014. 

Canada will retain its sovereignty in making immigration decisions. Customs officers will specifically review all information, including that received from the United States, before making any decisions regarding the admissibility of an individual to Canada.

Increased information sharing between immigration authorities in the United States and Canada almost invariably means increased scrutiny relating to applications for entry to Canada and the United States, including applications for temporary worker permits.  The treaty serves to emphasize the importance of organizations ensuring that they are taking the steps necessary to comply with all immigration laws when their employees cross borders.