Biometric scanning for immigrants coming: ministry
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's office has confirmed Canada will soon roll out biometric scanning for travellers seeking visas to Canada, but it won't say which country will be first.
On Friday, the Toronto Star reported the federal government is planning to roll out the first phase of the $200-million electronic fingerprinting program in India because of ongoing concerns about widespread immigration fraud on applications from that country.
But spokeswoman Celyeste Power said the story isn't true and there has been no decision yet on which countries are going to get the biometrics.
"There hasn't actually been a decision yet on which countries are going to be involved in biometrics," she said. "There are countries in discussion right now ... No one's being leaned towards."
Power wouldn't say which countries are being considered for the program, but said the ministry expects to make a decision in early fall, or sometime in 2012.
Move to biometrics launched in 2008
Biometric technology uses the measurement of key attributes of either the face, fingerprints or retinas to create digital identification records, but the ministry has not yet confirmed which method it will use.
The government announced in 2008 it was moving to biometrics, which is considered more reliable than the use of subjective photo identification by immigration agents, because of the digital measurements that can be read into computers using scanning technology.
In the 2008 budget, the government said, "Border security remains a priority for Canadians. Criminals are increasingly more sophisticated and well funded, including those who engage in document fraud to illegally move people or goods across borders," according the immigration ministry's website.
"Further to biometric field trials in Canada that were successfully completed in 2007, the government will introduce the use of biometric data, such as fingerprints and live photographs, in its visa-issuing process to accurately verify identity and travel documents of foreign nationals who enter Canada," says the website.