CILA’s Statement on IRCC’S Response to “In Demand Yet Unprocessed: Endemic Immigration Backlogs” Study


CILA appreciates IRCC’s response to the CIMM report entitled In Demand Yet Unprocessed: Endemic Immigration Backlogs.

While we value IRCC’s recognition of the challenges and their efforts to address them, it is also prudent to voice some of the concerns with the direction and efficacy of their current approach.

IRCC’s response largely attributes the backlog to the demand for immigration exceeding the number of admissions – an observation that while accurate lacks a tangible plan for resolution. We urge IRCC to adopt a more comprehensive approach, one that not only acknowledges the demand but also focuses on streamlining processes and enhancing operational efficiency to meet this demand effectively.

The emphasis on improving the user-friendliness of the IRCC website and the mention of addressing global humanitarian crises are valid endeavours. However, the simultaneous pursuit of multiple initiatives without full completion risks diluting focus, slowing down progress and causing more front-end delays and issues than solutions. As such, CILA advocates for a more targeted strategy that prioritizes backlog reduction as a primary objective, with ancillary initiatives being pursued in tandem, but not at the expense of backlog alleviation.

IRCC’s mention of its intention to enhance the vitality of francophone minority communities and increase the demographic weight of French-speaking minorities outside of Quebec is commendable. However, as a response to the recommendations, it is unclear how this objective supports the urgent task of backlog reduction. Similarly, the lack of transparency and ability to locate the data being published in various pages of the Government’s website raises the question of accountability and the effectiveness of current measures.

Further, while the implementation of the Digital Platform Modernization Phase 3 (DPM3) is a step forward, the timeline provided for its execution is concerning. Despite being underway for over two years, the progress and timeline for completion remain vague. Its impact on backlog reduction and positive user experience also remains uncertain. CILA urges IRCC to prioritize initiatives that directly contribute to reducing processing times and clearing the backlog, as well as engaging with the public and stakeholders throughout the process, promoting tangible outcomes within a reasonable timeframe.

CILA recognizes the evolving complexity of the challenges IRCC faces and appreciates the resources invested in addressing them. However, we advocate for a more focused and streamlined approach, characterized by clear objectives, transparent communication, and tangible results. We continue to encourage that IRCC prioritize consultation with stakeholders, including the legal community, to ensure that future initiatives align with the needs of all applicants navigating the Canadian Immigration system.

Finally, CILA wishes to continue to emphasize the importance of IRCC ensuring all its clients have access to counsel, which is also pivotal to backlog reduction. Immigration lawyers help to ensure clients submit complete and accurate applications to IRCC, which makes it easier for IRCC to adjudicate the applications and avoid unnecessary delays. Moreover, CILA encourages IRCC to introduce dedicated channels for communications with immigration representatives to help streamline and finalize applications sooner, which would free up time for IRCC to dedicate their resources to adjudicating more challenging cases.

CILA remains committed to collaborating with IRCC and other related departments to achieve a more effective, efficient, and equitable immigration system for all stakeholders.

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