A report by the Canadian Information Commissioner reveals that complaints about accessing the country’s immigration records are mainly caused by a lack of information that applicants can access independently.
In the document released in Parliament on Tuesday, Commissioner Caroline Maynard laments the system’s ambiguities, but makes clear that solutions to mitigate applicants ’experience are at hand.
“The systematic investigation confirmed that the extremely high number of requests as well as the large number of complaints are a direct result of the fact that applicants or their representatives are unable to obtain the information they seek by other means. Not the most effective way to provide potential immigrants with the information they need.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) received a total of 116,928 access requests in 2019-2020, while all other federal institutions combined 39,294 over the same period.
The explosion of these access requests created some kind of traffic congestion in the case handling system, causing delays of more than 30 days in 49% of cases, which in turn led to a marked increase in the number of complaints at UNHCR.
Consequently, the number of complaints affecting IRCC was 4298 for the period 2019-2020. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the second largest federal institution, with a meager total of 355 complaints by comparison.
Solutions at your fingertips
The main solution that has been put forward to reduce the number of complaints received is to simply “reduce the need” for making access requests to obtain the required information by providing more information in advance.
To that end, IRCC is already in the process of updating its MyAccount platform. An improved version can be launched before the end of this year, but a “full launch” of the revamped platform is scheduled for 2023-2024.
In addition, rejection letters addressed to temporary resident applicants will include more details about the reasons for denial, which should reduce the need to submit an access request.
A host of other management measures are also being considered by IRCC, notably the automatic automation of some mechanical tasks.
Commissioner Maynard said, “While these steps seem to indicate that IRCC is committed to ensuring that its applicants have access to timely information, no durable and tangible solution to the root causes of pressure on its access system has been implemented.” “IRCC urges to be bold and ambitious” in its transformation.