Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Executive Summary

Archived - Enhanced Complaint Mechanism

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In support of the Agency’s Change Agenda initiative, a more accessible, transparent and centralized client feedback process, the Enhanced Complaint Mechanism (ECM), was launched by the Recourse Directorate on January 7, 2011. The goal for this national process is to provide all Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) clients with the opportunity to provide their feedback to the Agency on the services it provides and to use this feedback to improve the delivery of programs and services.

Prior to the launch of the ECM, complaints regarding service quality were managed and processed at the regional level with regions each using a slightly different way of collecting data on complaints. At that time, the CBSA did not have a national mechanism to determine the number and types of complaints received or a feedback mechanism to centrally review and analyze complaints received from its clients.

In July 2010, the Complaints Unit was created to develop procedures, set performance standards, create a national database for case management, conduct analysis, report on complaints and make recommendations for service and program improvement. The ECM has the following three main objectives: provide all CBSA clients with more accessible means to address written service-related feedback; ensure timely responses to clients; and to use this feedback to bring improvements to CBSA programs and services.

Protecting your Personal Information

The following personal information elements will be managed by the Enhanced Complaint Mechanism:

To identify clients

  • Client first and last name
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address

To respond to your complaint, or provide feedback or positive recognition on your experience with the CBSA

  • Your written, narrative submission

For statistical purposes

  • Status or residency or citizenship
  • Purpose of travel
  • Client type (e.g. traveller, importer)

The personal information is being collected directly from the individual. The information provided is collected under the authority of paragraph 5(1)(a) of the Canada Border Services Agency Act. The information may be disclosed to employees of the CBSA, including those involved where the incident occurred, for the purposes of reviewing and/or investigating complaints, providing positive recognition to the office or region indicated in compliments, or to provide feedback to program officials on client experiences with the CBSA. Information may also be shared internally with Security and Professional Standards Directorate for employees to conduct investigations, or may be shared internally or with international, federal, provincial or local law enforcement agencies for law enforcement and investigation purposes as authorized by subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act. The feedback received helps the Agency to understand its clients and improve the delivery of its programs and services.

With respect to a complaint, a record is created in the Complaints Log and a Complaint File Number (CFN) is generated. The complaint is then forwarded to the appropriate area with service standards, for response. A copy of the final response to the client and a completed data input form (Complaint Input Form), where required, is provided to the Complaints Unit for data entry purposes into the Complaints Log and saved on the restricted folder on the local internal server.

To ensure originals are not modified, all written feedback received via ECM is scanned and saved in pdf format prior to forwarding to appropriate area for review. If clients provide the Recourse Directorate with additional or supplemental information (including corrections) pertaining to the previous feedback, it is saved and submitted to the appropriate area in the same fashion.

Right of Access

When you submit your compliment, comment or complaint via the online Feedback Form, you are informed of the program purpose, as well as the related collection, use, disclosure and retention practices. The personal information you provide will be retained for five years plus the current year. Further information about this activity is described within the CBSA Info Source Chapter under the Personal Information Bank CBSA PPU 003 which is detailed at

You may formally request access to your personal information, or access to corporate records related to or created by the Enhanced Complaint Mechanism by contacting the Access to Information and Privacy Division. More information about this process can be found at:


If you have concerns about the collection, use, disclosure or retention of your personal information, you may issue a complaint to the CBSA Access to Information and Privacy Division. Complaints should be made in writing, and include your name, contact information, and a brief description of your concerns. For more information, contact the CBSA ATIP Division.

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