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The OPC responds to Canada Border Services Agency consultation on proposed regulations for examining documents stored on personal digital devices

July 29, 2022

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has provided a submission as part of a consultation launched by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) into its proposed Regulations for the Examination of Documents Stored on Personal Digital Devices.

The proposed regulations relate to legislative changes under Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Preclearance Act, 2016, which seeks to clarify the circumstances in which border officers and preclearance officers may examine documents stored on personal digital devices. The submission follows on the OPC’s appearance  before the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (SECD) on Bill S-7 in June.  

In its submission, the OPC highlights a number of procedural and accountability requirements it believes are missing from the Bill and should be included within the legal framework.

The recommendations seek to address key issues raised over the course of two OPC investigations related to the examination of digital devices by CBSA officers in 2019 and 2020. The investigations uncovered failures by the CBSA to follow its internal policy requirements governing the examination of digital devices.

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