The Advance Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) program is designed to protect Canadians by enabling the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to perform a risk assessment of travellers prior to their arrival in Canada.
While information is a key tool to ensure the safety of our country, the CBSA equally respects the fundamental right to privacy and is vigilant in ensuring that the proper privacy safeguards are in place.
The objective of the API/PNR program is to facilitate the entry of legitimate travellers and trade while preventing terrorism, terrorism-related crimes and other serious crimes from entering Canada.
While the API/PNR program will ultimately be implemented for all modes of transportation, the current focus is on air travel.
Under Canadian law, all commercial carriers are required to provide the CBSA with API/PNR data relating to all persons travelling to Canada. Airlines collect API data when passengers check in; PNR is drawn from airline flight reservations systems.
Advance Passenger Information (API)
Basic data identifying a person including the traveller's name, date of birth, gender, citizenship or nationality and travel document data. This type of information can be obtained from the machine-readable area of a person's passport.
Passenger Name Record (PNR)
Data that relates to a traveller's reservation and travel itinerary including type of ticket, date of travel, number of bags, etc. This type of information can be obtained from a commercial carrier's departure control and reservation systems.
API/PNR data has historically been available from travellers upon their arrival in Canada through a review of their identification and travel documentation such as passport, ticket and itinerary and by questioning during the customs and immigration processes.
Similar programs are successfully being used by a number of other border inspection agencies worldwide, including those of the United States and Australia.
Canada and the U.S. have an agreement to share passenger data under the terms of initiative No. 8 of the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration and associated 32-point Action Plan. Under this agreement, the passenger data provided will not be shared with any third parties.
The purpose of these international arrangements is to enhance Canada's national security interests while safeguarding the privacy of the API/PNR data provided by international commercial carriers.
The CBSA is committed to ensuring the safety and security of Canada's borders in a manner that respects and upholds an individual's fundamental right to privacy. To this end, the API/PNR program has strict safeguards in place to ensure that the information is used only where necessary to support the program and the protection of Canadians.
Passenger data provided to the CBSA by commercial carriers is protected under Canadian legislation. The CBSA does not require commercial carriers to gather or provide any additional PNR data elements that are not already recorded for their own business purposes.
Privacy Impact Assessment Summary
These summaries provide information on what the CBSA is doing to ensure that individuals' privacy rights are respected under programs managed by the CBSA.
You have a right to request a copy of the API/PNR data that commercial carriers provide to the CBSA under the API/PNR program. You can also request that a notation be included if any of the information is incorrect. Disclosure of the API/PNR data is subject to provisions of Canadian law.
Generally, only persons who travelled to Canada by commercial airline can request access to their own API/PNR information. There are instances in which a person could request the API/PNR information of their minor children or under specified circumstances for other persons. Note: Rail and marine carriers currently do not provide API/PNR information to the CBSA.
A parent or legal guardian must sign the access request form if the traveller is under the age of 18. There is no fee associated with accessing this information.
To request access to your API/PNR data or to file a concern or correction, print and complete the CBSA’s Traveller’s API/PNR Information Request form and mail it to the following address:
Canada Border Services Agency
Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
410 Laurier Avenue West, 11th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0L8
The CBSA will respond to your request by mail.