Electronic Monitoring Program Pilot

Privacy impact assessment (PIA) summary


The electronic monitoring (EM) of criminal justice defendants and offenders has been done since 1964 and the use of EM technologies in North America has grown steadily since. There are a number of EM technologies available to aid in the detention, restriction and surveillance of individuals within the criminal justice system. Two of the most common are:

  • the Radio Frequency (RF) System
  • the Global Positioning System (GPS)

One of the Correctional Service of Canada's (CSC's) priorities is the safe transition of offenders into the community and to achieve this priority CSC has committed to developing strategies to enhance supervision and monitoring tools for higher-risk offenders in the community. One way to achieve this is the development, implementation and assessment of an Electronic Monitoring Program Pilot (EMPP). The EMPP will allow CSC to test the efficiency of using GPS technology as a supervision tool to assist in managing higher-risk offenders in the community. It will also allow CSC to identify future needs and requirements in relation to a larger-scale, national EM program.

The assessment demonstrates that the proposed information sharing method was developed in accordance with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Privacy Act and Treasury Board Secretariat's Policy on Privacy and Data Protection.

Summary of risks and recommendations

General/overall use


The staff and the contractor who will be involved in the administration of the program may use it for purposes for which it is not intended.

Recommendations for mitigation

Given the fact that the information will pertain to offenders who are approaching the end of their sentence and CSC's experience with the handling of such information, the risks are low. These risks may be further reduced by the inclusion of a description of the authorized uses in the EM program related procedures and protocols.



Because no Canadian owned and operated companies offer a monitoring service of the kind that is required for the operation of the EM program, the short period for which the trial period will take place, and the small number of participating offenders, CSC will most likely choose to use the services of the firm (Premier Geographix Limited) that is currently providing the services for the BC government. This company, however, operates from a US location, which means that it is subject to the USA Patriot Act. Even if the risk factor that the personal information that pertains to the few offenders who will take part in the trial CSC EM program to ever be requested by representatives of the Government of the United States is rather low, the possibility does exist.

Recommendations for mitigation

The unintended potential disclosures, and more particularly as they may occur as a result of the application of the USA Patriot Act to the personal information gathered by the US based contractor, do present some privacy concerns, however, the risks associated with the trial EM program are low and should any such disclosure ever occur, the adverse consequences for the offender(s) would most likely be imposed limitation on their access to the territory of the United States.


Recommendations for mitigation
  • Proper and accepted auditing and monitoring of data, application and server changes.
  • Proper and accepted authentication methodologies.
  • Limited access to systems and data on a need-to-know basis.
  • Proper documentation.
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