The Advance Passenger Information / Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) program helps protect Canadians by enabling the CBSA to perform a risk assessment of air travellers and crew as they are en route to Canada.
While information is a key tool to ensure the safety of our country, the CBSA equally respects the fundamental privacy rights of travellers and crew and is vigilant in ensuring that the proper privacy safeguards are in place.
The API/PNR program helps the CBSA identify persons who may be subject to closer questioning or examination on arrival in Canada. Factors such as potential relationship to terrorism or terrorism-related crimes, or other serious crimes that are transnational in nature (e.g. smuggling of drugs or humans) may lead to a need for closer examination. This program also helps to effectively facilitate the entry of legitimate travellers and trade.
The current focus of the API/PNR program is on air travel; however, the CBSA continues to implement the program in all modes.
Under Canadian law, all commercial air carriers are required to provide the CBSA with API/PNR data relating to all persons travelling to Canada. Airlines collect API data when passengers check in; PNR is drawn from airline flight reservations systems. This reflects information gathered by airlines as part of standard business practices. The CBSA does not require commercial air carriers to gather or provide any additional PNR data elements that are not already recorded for their own business purposes.
What is Advance Passenger Information (API)?
API is basic data identifying a person who is travelling. It includes the traveller's name, date of birth, gender, citizenship or nationality and travel document data. This type of information can be obtained from the machine-readable area of a person's passport.
What is a Passenger Name Record (PNR)?
PNR is data that relates to a traveller's reservation and their travel itinerary including type of ticket, date of travel, number of bags, etc. This type of information can be obtained from a commercial carrier's departure control and reservation systems.
Air API data has historically been available from travellers upon their arrival in Canada through a review of their identification and travel documentation such as passport, ticket and itinerary. A border services officer conducts the review in conjunction with a risk assessment during the customs and immigration processes.
Under the API/PNR program, the data is provided in advance of the traveller's arrival. This enables the CBSA to identify high-risk air travellers prior to arrival in order to facilitate the entry of legitimate travellers and trade. Similar programs are being used successfully by a number of other border inspection agencies worldwide, including those of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.