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National Fisheries Intelligence Service

Title of the PIA

Privacy Impact Assessment on the National Fisheries Intelligence Service (NFIS)

Government institution

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

Head of DFO or delegate for section 10 of the Privacy Act

Caroline Douglas, Director, ATIP Secretariat

Senior official or executive for the new or substantially modified program or activity

Allan MacLean, Director General, Conservation and Protection

Name and description of the program or activity of the government institution

National Fisheries Intelligence Service 

The primary objective of the National Fisheries Intelligence Service is to collect and analyze all-source information to produce finished intelligence that impacts on decision-makers to support knowledgeable and wise decision-making. In essence, intelligence provides advice about those aspects of the operational environment on which the decision-maker should focus attention. As the Conservation and Protection program evolves to an "intelligence-led organization", accurate actionable intelligence and an ability to establish priorities and follow-up action plans will help to control, reduce, or more importantly mitigate in advance, threats and risks, which is essential to the success of the program and for corporate accountability. Establishment of an intelligence model as a core business practice within the Conservation and Protection program will allow for analyses of fisheries management and compliance practices in order to move beyond crisis response and strategically focus resources on the areas of greatest risk thus ensuring maximum program effectiveness.

Legal authority

Sections 49-56 and 61 of the Fisheries Act and Section 2 of the Criminal Code provide the legal authority for the collection of personal information.

Personal Information Bank (PIB)

A new PIB will be published online in DFO's Info Source publication upon registration of the PIB with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. The proposed title of the PIB is National Fisheries Intelligence Service.

Short description of the project, initiative or change

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has the lead federal role in managing Canada's fisheries and safeguarding its waters.

The Department supports strong economic growth in marine and fisheries sectors by supporting exports and advancing safe maritime trade; contributes to a clean and healthy environment and sustainable aquatic ecosystems through habitat protection, oceans management, and ecosystems research; and supports innovation through research in expanding sectors such as aquaculture and biotechnology.

The Ecosystems and Fisheries Management Sector (EFM) is responsible for managing the commercial and recreational fishery in many areas across Canada, and integrates responsibilities related to Aboriginal fishing, international fisheries issues and conservation and protection of the fisheries. As a decentralized branch, it serves Canadians through six regional offices and at national headquarters in Ottawa.

Within EFM, the Conservation and Protection Program (C & P) is responsible for promoting and maintaining compliance with legislation, regulations and management measures to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of Canada's aquatic resources, and the protection of species at risk, fish habitats and oceans. C & P currently has approximately 645 Fishery Officers (FOs) in over 150 offices located mainly in fishing communities and coastal areas of Canada. C & P's contribution is delivered through a balanced regulatory management and enforcement approach including: promotion of compliance through education and shared stewardship; monitoring, control and surveillance activities; and, management of major cases/special investigations in relation to complex compliance issues.

Like its foreign counterparts, C & P is becoming increasingly reliant on reliable, timely, and accessible information and intelligence as a solid foundation for strategic understanding of environmental, species and fishery and industry profiles that form a basis for risk-based decision-making regarding the greatest threats to the fisheries resource. While the importance of good data is certainly not new to DFO, the worldwide trend towards sustainable fisheries and supporting management practices is necessitating  improvements in monitoring and reporting that are consistent, effective and transparent and which inspire confidence and co-operation among harvesters, consumers and members of the public.

Faced with these evolving information requirements, DFO established the National Fisheries Intelligence Service (NFIS). An integral part of the NFIS development process is the implementation of a national electronic system centred upon an enforcement information/fisheries intelligence database. The C & P Intelligence Database (iBase) will provide the means to synthesize and effectively interpret the enforcement-related data streams available to DFO. The core functionality of iBase will centre upon data matching - the ability to take streams of data from a variety of databases and combine them, followed by analysis of this synthesized data.

Risk area identification and categorization

The following section contains risks identified in the PIA for the NFIS.

Type of program or activity

Personal information is used for investigations and enforcement in a criminal context (i.e. decisions may lead to criminal charges/sanctions or deportation for reasons of national security or criminal enforcement).

Level of risk to privacy: High

Type of personal information involved and context

Sensitive personal information, including detailed profiles, allegations or suspicions, or the context surrounding the personal information is particularly sensitive.

Level of risk to privacy: High

Program or activity partners and private sector involvement

The program involves private sector organizations, international organizations or foreign governments.

Level of risk to privacy: High

Duration of the program or activity

NFIS is planned to be a long-term program or activity.

Level of risk to privacy: High

Program population

NFIS affects certain individuals for external administrative purposes.

Level of risk to privacy: Medium

Technology & privacy

Does the new or substantially modified program or activity involve implementation of a new electronic system or the use of a new application or software, including collaborative software (or groupware), to support the program or activity in terms of the creation, collection or handling of personal information?


Does the new or substantially modified program or activity require any modifications to information technology (IT) legacy systems?


Does the new or substantially modified program or activity involve implementation of new technologies or one or more of the following activities: enhanced identification methods; surveillance; or automated personal information analysis, personal information matching and knowledge discovery techniques?


Overall risk to privacy based on technology: High

Personal information transmission

The personal information is used in a system that has connections to at least one other system. The personal information is transferred to a portable device (i.e. USB key or laptop computer), transferred to a different medium and is printed.

Level of risk to privacy: Medium

Risk impact to the individual or employee in the event of a privacy breach

The most likely impacts to the individual in the event of the privacy breach are reputation harm, embarrassment, financial harm and/or physical harm.

Level of risk to privacy: Medium

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