On February 28, 2015, the Canadian government proposed changes to a law under the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (SCCA) that would enrich the lines of communication between Employment Canada, Revenue Canada, the RCMP, immigration and border enforcement officials as well as provincial authorities. As a result, immigration officials would have access to the personal information of permanent residents and citizens across the nation.
This noteworthy change will certainly be of interest to the hundreds of thousands of immigrants living in Ottawa who may want to find the best immigration lawyer to find out exactly how this will affect them.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has relied on the Privacy Act in the past to support some information sharing but this created uncertainty as to what information can and should be shared, and has limited its ability to enforce its programs.
The government position on SCCA is that information sharing is meant to allow authorities to minimize fraud, validate citizenship status for government services, authenticate the identity or status of individuals and proactively alert other officials of changes in their immigration status. They maintain that the goal is to “help uphold the integrity of the immigration system as a whole and improve client service, both in the citizenship and across the government.” This proposal also stipulates guidelines concerning grants of citizenship status for “lost Canadians” and adopted persons.
However, the SCCA has far reaching implications for the rights of individuals involved, and will likely be challenged in Court in due time. Some Ottawa immigration lawyers believe that it goes too far and breaches the constitutional rights of those impacted by the legislation.
If you are unsure about whether these proposed changes could affect you or your family, consult an Ottawa immigration lawyer today.
To read the full Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, click here.