Under the Privacy Act, if the government holds personal information on you, you have the right to receive that information (with some security exclusions) free of charge. This information includes those records held by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). I recently requested records held by the CBSA. It’s a simple and free process, and the results can be absolutely fascinating!
To request your CBSA records, go to the Government of Canada’s Access to Information and Privacy tool. There, you can select your records from the CBSA. Make sure you indicate this is a request under the Privacy Act, not the Access to Information Act. The former is free, whereas the latter would incur a charge.
When you make your request, submit a broad description of the information you want to have. For example, I submitted:
(1) All records held by the CBSA relating to my participation in NEXUS, APEC. (2) All records held by the CBSA relating to my entry into Canada, including any notes on my personal file, and entry records […]
I’m not sure you need to, but I attached a photocopy of my passport, just to provide evidence of who I am. After you submit the request, a government agent may contact you seeking clarification. In my case, I omitted my middle names from my request, so they needed that information (even though it was available on my passport…). A month or so later, I received a letter from the Access to Information office containing all of the requested records.
Largely those records pertained to my application for NEXUS. However, they also included my entry records into Canada, which is pretty cool. It’s also nice to note that the CBSA has nothing bad to say about me 🙂