Access to Information Act, Privacy Act, Annual Report 2019-2020
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
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Through its key lines of business, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) interacts with millions of individuals every year, including those seeking temporary or permanent residence into Canada and subsequently settling into Canadian society, and those pursuing Canadian citizenship. The Department is also responsible for passport services in support of individuals seeking to obtain or renew a Canadian passport or other travel document such as a certificate of identity or a refugee travel document.
In recent years, the Department has experienced significant increases in some of its most important lines of business as many around the world seek to enter Canada temporarily or permanently, and as increasing numbers of eligible permanent residents seek to become Canadian citizens. IRCC’s challenge is to effectively manage these requests to enter and remain in Canada, while working with stakeholders to ensure that newcomers have the best opportunities to succeed and that the Canadian economy and society reap the benefits of newcomer success.
Increases in volume in other IRCC business lines are correlated with significant increases in ATIP request volumes. In 2019-2020, IRCC received 50% of all ATIP requests submitted to federal government institutions, and has experienced unprecedented growth in the number of ATIP requests over the past several years.
IRCC is unique in that most of the requests it receives under the Access to Information Act are for the personal information of its clients. This is because the majority of its requests concern IRCC clients who are foreign nationals that rely on representatives to submit an Access to Information Act request on their behalf and with their consent to seek information about their IRCC immigration file.
To manage these volumes effectively, the ATIP Division within IRCC has two teams that process ATIP requests:
- One team manages Access to Information Act requests for corporate records, and personal information requests concerning IRCC employees. This team’s ATIP request process involves branch ATIP Liaison Officers to coordinate the retrieval of records and identification of release sensitivities responsive to ATIP requests.
- The other team manages all ATIP requests that relate to IRCC client files.
The Department is committed to ensuring that its requesters receive timely access to the records they request, and has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve its performance and address a backlog of requests. Despite a 36% increase over the previous fiscal year, IRCC managed to close 26% more requests than the previous fiscal year.
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