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New charter allows USA to share Canadian privacy information

August 2, 2012

On June 28, 2012, a privacy charter identifying principles of information sharing was jointly released by the United States (USA) and Canada.

One of the principles identifies that either country may share personal information about citizens of the other country with a third nation. When a Canadian crosses the USA border, personal information will be available for transfer to a third country when consistent with the law of the domestic country and international agreements.

For information transfer that is not specified in international regulations, the USA will have to notify Canada either before or immediately after the sharing. There is no procedure outlined for denying the other country the right to share information.

All 12 principles identified in the charter will be applied to the “Beyond the Border Action Plan,” a privacy agreement developed between the two nations in November 2011.

When information about mental health is released, it can have consequences for people with mental health conditions or a mental health condition history. The Police Records Check Coalition (PRCC) has documented cases where individuals were denied entry at the USA border because information about their mental health was released to border officials.

For more information, see www.mentalhealthpolicerecords.ca.

Read the full “Statement of Privacy Principles by the USA and Canada” at www.publicsafety.gc.ca.

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