In accordance with a new Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request, mismanagement has caused the processing of close to 60,000 applications to stall.
In response to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s (CBC) ATIP request, it was discovered that 59,456 pending and reopened applications had been allocated to 779 inactive Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officers for processing. Nonactiveactive officials are individuals who no longer access or use the Global Case Management System (GCMS), the IRCC’s centralized system for handling requests for immigration and citizenship services.
Inactive officers from Canadian border crossing points, processing facilities, airports, and consulates in Brazil, the Philippines, the United States, and other countries were given active cases.
The ATIP request also included information about the inactive immigration officers’ special placeholder codes, the date of their most recent GCMS login, and the number of applications that were allocated to them.
These placeholder codes, which candidates can see on their GCMS notes, are the sole means by which IRCC officials can be publicly identified. GCMS notes are requests made by persons under the ATIP to get IRCC notes on their immigration applications. These notes may include letters to and from IRCC, documents submitted by the applicant, in-depth comments from the officers reviewing the case, and other pertinent material.
Nevertheless, as per CBC, IRCC was not able to delete these inactive accounts from the GCMS. It is currently unknown why IRCC has been allocating applications to inactive users.
The IRCC has made an effort to take action in response to increased scrutiny and the ongoing need to welcome immigrants into Canada. The department has pledged to employ more sophisticated data analytics to speed up application processing and has employed 1,250 additional personnel. It has also committed to spending millions of dollars to create a new department-wide digital system that will eventually replace the GCMS by 2023.
The number of applicants in the backlog of applications has also fallen recently and was 2.2 million as of December 9th, 2022.
Despite these improvements, the IRCC still strives to meet the prior service standards as it manages a huge backlog of applications. This has a more noticeable impact on immigration streams with smaller aims, such as the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP), which is selected annually and is based on a lottery mechanism. In contrast to previously employed procedures, the IRCC has simply recycled applications submitted to its 2020 pool over the past two years. This change has a disproportionately negative impact on older PGP applicants.
Even if the agency made progress in 2022, it is obvious that IRCC has not yet recovered to its pre-pandemic application levels. As a result, it must continue to address these issues in order to restore service standards and routine application processing.