Tourists, Travelers May Soon Be Fingerprinted

Tourists, travellers may soon be fingerprinted

By Elizabeth Thompson
National Bureau, Sun Media
Last Updated: 9th June 2009, 5:56pm

OTTAWA Tourists and business travellers who require visas to enter Canada will be among those who will be fingerprinted under the next phase of the governments biometric program, officials said yesterday.

The intention is to capture everybody, Deputy Immigration Minister Richard Fadden told a parliamentary committee.

The idea is to increase our capacity to know who is in Canada at a particular point in time.

That means any short-term visitor who needs a visa to enter Canada will have to submit fingerprints, which will be kept in a government database. The measure will also apply to anyone applying for a work or study permit, regardless of whether they need a visa to visit Canada, such as Americans and Europeans.

The only short-term visitors to Canada who wouldnt be fingerprinted are tourists and business travellers who dont require a visa to enter Canada.

Fadden told MPs the program will be phased in between 2011 and 2013, starting with certain countries. Were going to pick countries where there are more concerns, said Fadden, who is leaving the immigration department to head the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the government plans to spend $12.1 million on the program in the coming year.

Given the new context of security issues, Canada needs to ensure that we know who is coming into our country so that we can screen out people who have bad intentions, Kenney told reporters.

Opposition MPs were critical.

Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis questioned whether it will work and why some countries are singled out. If you are going to do it, do it for everybody, dont just pick and choose.

New Democrat Olivia Chow said there are better ways to spend $12 million.