The Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA) is reporting over the last three days that our members have been inundated with email messages for past clients from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) who are administering a survey of client settlement experiences for 2021. The survey asks immigrants to Canada to help IRCC evaluate immigrant settlement services funded by the department so they can make future improvements. Moreover, the message informs recipients that they may have previously received the same survey in past years and requests that they redo the survey to help government assess newcomers’ evolving experiences and particularly during the pandemic.
CILA has determined that many clients contacted for this survey were granted permanent residence status many years ago including those landed over 10 years and up to 20 years ago. Given the target population for this survey, many of these people are likely Canadian citizens and their experiences with settlement services are no longer current or relevant to those immigrating in 2021. Hence the purpose of administering this survey while IRCC is grappling with a backlog of applications in all lines of business is concerning for our members.
During the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the voice of newcomers has never been louder. Family class immigrants and Canadian citizens have petitioned the Government of Canada to speed up family reunifications. Essential workers with precarious status in Canada, who were critical to helping Canadians during pandemic, have clamoured for more pathways to permanent residence status. Potential immigrants under the Federal and Quebec Skilled Worker Classes have had their applications for permanent status shelved during the pandemic. International students have had to take extraordinary personal and financial risks to pursue their education in Canada.
With the logistical and technological challenges facing IRCC today, CILA is asking why this survey is being administered by departmental staff who are needed on the front lines to process all types of temporary and permanent status applications, including face-to-face virtual citizenship ceremonies and in person residency status determinations inside Canada. To meet its immigration targets and help Canada’s economy recover from the pandemic, IRCC resources should be readjusted to meet the services needed by those in the queue today. It has been repeatedly cited that immigration is critical to Canada’s economic recovery. CILA is calling for IRCC’s resources to be deployed from those administering this survey to processing applications awaiting decision and for local IRCC offices across Canada to be safely re-opened so that more services can be delivered to newcomers.
For media inquiries, contact CILA at: