Government surveillance. One of the many unfortunate consequences of rapid technological progress. And not just with one government but with many governments.
The Entry and Exit Initiative is a major initiative between Canada and the United States. Information about citizens is shared between the two countries to create data on citizen movements. Entry into the United States will create an exit record in Canada. Entry into Canada will create an exit record in the United States.
What information is recorded?
On entry and exit your first name, middle name, last name, date of birth, nationality, gender, document type, document number and name of country that issued the travel document. Also collected will be the date and time of entry or exit and the port of entry or exit.
The information will be transmitted to both governments.
This is how the Canadian government explains the benefits of the Entry and Exit Initiative:
The Entry/Exit Initiative aligns Canada with its international partners who have or are in the process of implementing entry-exit systems. The initiative will benefit Canadians by strengthening the efficiency and security of the Canada-U.S. shared border.
- It will enable the CBSA and its federal government partners to:Respond to the outbound movement of known high-risk travellers and their goods prior to their actual departure from Canada by air (i.e., fugitives of justice, registered sex offenders, human/drug smugglers, exporters of illicit goods, etc.);
- Address time sensitive situations more effectively, such as responding to Amber Alerts and helping find abducted children or runaways;
- Identify individuals who do not leave Canada at the end of their authorized period of stay (i.e., visa overstays) and provide decision-makers with an accurate picture of an individual’s complete travel history;
- Focus immigration enforcement activities on persons still in Canada by eliminating wasted time and resources spent on issuing immigration warrants and conducting investigations on individuals who have already left the country;
- Verify whether applicants for permanent residency or citizenship have complied with residency requirements;
- Verify travel dates to determine applicable duty and tax exemptions and continued entitlement to social benefit programs;
- Help prevent the illegal export of controlled, regulated or prohibited goods from Canada.
Canadians are still limited to six months less a day within any 12 month period when travelling to the United States. That does not change. Canadian Snowbirds must be mindful of the substantial presence test to determine whether an 8840, Closer Connections form, should be submitted to the IRS. If a Canadian spends more than four months a year annually in the United States, then the 8840 form needs to be submitted by June 15 to avoid being taxed by the IRS.
Since the Canadian government appears keenly interested in the movements of its citizens to ensure, in part, that we have continued entitlement to social benefit programs (aka health care), I suspect that there will be far more scrutiny in terms of our travel back and forth to the United States.
We are very careful of our days in the United States. Looks like we have little choice now but to be extra careful.