Mix-up by Immigration Officials Discloses Personal Information

A Canadian woman wanted to hire a Bangladeshi man as a live-in caregiver for her child. The man applied for a work permit at the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka and supplied all the necessary documents.

To strengthen the man's application, the woman asked her MP to send a letter of support to the High Commission. She also asked the MP to attach to his letter copies of personal documents such as her passport and federal income tax assessment, which included her date of birth, Social Insurance Number and other personal information.

The MP's office forwarded all this information to officials of Citizenship and Immigration Canada at the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka.

The man's application for a work permit was refused. Following standard practice, the Immigration official returned to the man the entire contents of his file, which included not only his documents, but also the woman's personal documents sent by the MP's office.

According to the woman, the man then shared her personal information with family and friends. She was concerned that this disclosure could result in identity theft or jeopardize her safety if she travelled to Bangladesh. She complained to our Office.

Citizenship and Immigration acknowledged that it did not have the complainant's consent and that her personal information should not have been disclosed to the man. At our request, officials apologized to the complainant in a letter.

We upheld the complaint as well founded.

This is not the first time a breach of this nature has occurred at a Canadian High Commission.

We recommended that all High Commissions create a stamp that says "Destroy/Do Not Return to Applicant" to distinguish documents from sources other than a visa applicant. The Dhaka mission has already done so.

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