OTTAWA – A new agreement has been signed between the United States and Canada which will allow biometric information about Canadian visa applicants to be shared with third countries.
This means the fingerprints and photo of someone who may visit, study or work in Canada could be passed to Washington, from where it might be shared with another country to help verify the person’s identity. Concerns have been raised by the federal privacy commissioner’s office that such personal information provided by Canada could end up in countries that have a poor human rights record, possibly endangering the applicant or their family.
At a ceremony to sign the information-sharing agreement, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and U.S. ambassador David Jacobson stressed that the information would be handled with due regard for privacy. The initiative, affecting nationals of 29 visa seeking countries, is part of a perimeter security deal reached in 2013 between Canada and the United States.