Spy watchdog calls for more information on border agency’s air traveller targeting

OTTAWA –

The national spy watchdog says Canada’s border agency needs to do a better job of documenting how and why it singles out certain air passengers for possible additional scrutiny.

The Canada Border Services Agency’s targeting program uses pre-arrival risk assessments to identify inbound air travellers more likely to be ineligible to enter Canada.

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As a first step, the border agency looks at information about passengers routinely provided by commercial air carriers, including age, sex and national or ethnic origin.

The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency found the border agency relies on information and intelligence from a variety of sources to determine which data elements to treat as indicators of risk.

In a report released late today, the intelligence watchdog says the border agency has the legal authority to conduct such air passenger targeting.

However, it found shortcomings in the border agency’s documentation of its program activities that made it difficult to ensure all decisions complied with legal and regulatory restrictions.