ARCHIVED – Status Report on Major Crown/Transformational Projects

The Global Case Management System (GCMS)


The Global Case Management System (GCMS) is the electronic business platform for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). It is integral to making the citizenship and immigration system more modern, efficient, flexible and responsive to Canada’s labour market. It is essential to improving citizenship and immigration services, maintaining program integrity and strengthening the security of Canada.

GCMS is helping CIC move toward an integrated and virtual business model. GCMS also lays the foundation to support future business improvements and innovation, such as the introduction of e-services and improved identity management through biometrics.

Project Phase

The GCMS project close-out phase is now complete. GCMS was granted preliminary project approval by Treasury Board in 2001. In September 2004, it was successfully implemented for the Citizenship Program. The first version of GCMS is being used to process more than 200,000 applications each year for Canadian citizenship and proof of citizenship.

The GCMS major Crown project (MCP) has been successfully completed and has met all of its major milestones on time and under budget authority. The second release of the GCMS, focusing on the overseas immigration program, was deployed on schedule to all overseas visa offices between June 2010 and March 2011. With international roll-out now complete, GCMS provides a single, integrated processing capability for all citizenship and overseas immigration applications.

Leading and Participating Departments and Agencies

Lead Department Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Contracting Authority Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC)
Participating Departments Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

Prime and Major Subcontractor(s)

Prime Contractor None (CIC was responsible for system integration)
Major Subcontractor(s) None (various subcontractors were used)

Major Milestones

Major Milestone Date
Funding approved for the GCMS project at the same time as CIC’s Treasury Board submission on the implementation of policy reforms and the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) August 2000
Preliminary project approval and MCP designation granted to GCMS March 2001
Effective project approval (EPA) granted to GCMS January 2002
Request for proposals (RFP) for the acquisition of a commercial, off-the-shelf software package for case management posted for tender by PWGSC February 2002
Contract for the off-the-shelf software package for case management awarded March 2003
Amended EPA granted to GCMS to address the impact of procurement delays October 2003
The first GCMS business component (Citizenship) implemented September 2004
A second amendment to the EPA granted to address the impact of cumulative slippage that included critical new requirements in project scope and provided for an incremental deployment approach September 2005
Completion of a system-under-development audit of the GCMS project November 2005
A third amendment to the EPA granted to address a wording anomaly with regard to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) December 2006
Independent review indicates the need to assess project status and review options for completing GCMS objectives December 2006
A fourth amendment to the EPA granted to undertake this assessment and to develop a revised go-forward plan February 2007
A fifth amendment to the EPA granted, extending the time frame for completion of a substantive go-forward plan to late fiscal year 2007–08 October 2007
Independent review validates project’s recovery plan and project team’s readiness to deliver December 2007
A sixth amendment to the EPA granted with a reduced scope for the second release of GCMS August 2008
Independent review confirms that technology is sound, project schedule is achievable and “success is within sight” June 2009
Remainder of funding required to complete the project is released September 2009
Deployment of new GCMS version to existing citizenship users May 2010
GCMS deployment to first visa office overseas June 2010
GCMS deployment to all visa offices overseas completed March 2011
GCMS close-out report completed October 2011

Project Outcomes

GCMS is CIC’s secure electronic business platform that integrates citizenship and immigration data world. It provides a secure and effective system for managing clients that delivers improved program integrity, increased overall efficiency and better service delivery—all elements of the government agenda—in a complex and changing business environment. GCMS lays the foundation to support future business improvements and innovations such as the introduction of e-services and improved identity management through biometrics.

Progress Report and Explanations of Variances

The GCMS project was completed under its approved budgetary estimate of $387 million and GCMS Release 2 was successfully deployed to all international offices before March 31, 2011.

In August 2008, Treasury Board granted approval to extend the time required to complete the project to March 31, 2011, and increased the project’s total spending authority to $387 million (including GST). Consistent with recommendations from independent reviews conducted between December 2006 and December 2007, GCMS Release 2 was developed with a reduced scope focused on visa offices overseas.

he GCMS project faced considerable challenges, adding to the cost and time needed to complete the project, including:

  • an overly ambitious scope with no initial phased delivery;
  • a change of government direction to commercial off-the-shelf software;
  • splitting of immigration with the creation of the CBSA;
  • amendments to the IRPA, representing a major change in the administration of the immigration system; and
  • a need to respond to increased security risks, while respecting privacy.

Industrial Benefits

This MCP did not directly benefit Canadian industry; it was a project to provide CIC with an automated, integrated case management tool to support its global business network and to provide enhanced end-to-end client services to support the delivery of CIC’s services.

Temporary Resident Biometrics Project


Today, the use of biometrics is expanding rapidly given its unique approach and its potential to identify an individual reliably. The introduction of biometric technology into the temporary resident stream screening process will enhance the screening of applicants in the Temporary Resident Program, thereby fixing the client’s identity at the time of application for a visa or for a study or work permit, and allowing verification of that identity when the individual seeks entry at the border. As a result, Canada will better ensure the safety and security of Canadian society and reduce abuse of the immigration system by limiting opportunities for persons with Canadian criminal or deportation histories to use alternate identities to return to Canada. The project will also facilitate the processing of legitimate temporary workers, students and visitors. Many other countries, including such key migration countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, have either recently implemented or are planning to implement similar projects.

Project Phase

As of June 2012, the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project (TRBP) moved from the planning phase of the solution design gate into deployment readiness. [Note 1] During the planning phase, CIC, CBSA and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) worked collaboratively to define the solution, as well as the approaches and plans for implementing the TRBP. Comprehensive business and supporting requirements were agreed to by all partners.

Fujitsu Consulting (Canada) Inc. was awarded the technology contract in February 2012. Requirements will be used to design the business solution and how it will work (functional design), how technology will enable the solution (technical design), and how all the pieces fit and work together (supporting architectures). While the next payment milestone for preliminary design review is slightly behind schedule, the overall technology timeline remains intact. Substantive plans and strategies for completing the project and managing the business change are expected to be finalized and approved by all partners, and testing the technological solution will begin in 2013.

Canada currently has 60 visa application centres (VACs) in 41 countries. On January 31st, 2012, CIC launched a request for proposal to create a global VAC network, which will increase coverage up to 150 VACs in 110 countries by early 2014. This global network will provide the platform for biometric collection capabilities, standardize services and enhance service delivery by providing visa applicants easier access to services closer to home, including biometrics enrolment. The award of the contract is scheduled for October 2012.

As part of the project’s overall gating strategy, the project will return to Treasury Board in early 2013 to confirm achievement of deployment readiness activities and to seek authority and release of frozen funding for phase 3, deployment/close-out [Note 2] and ongoing operations.

During the deployment phase, expected to begin in 2013, the project will focus on implementing the technological solution in the global VAC network and ensuring that all business functions continue with minimal impact.

Leading and Participating Departments and Agencies

Lead Department CIC
Contracting Authority PWGSC
Participating Departments CBSA, RCMP

Prime and Major Subcontractor(s)

Prime Contractor

Fujitsu Consulting (Canada) Inc.

Ottawa office:
55 Metcalfe, Suite 530
Ottawa, ON Canada  K1P 6L5
Major Subcontractor(s)

Aware Inc.
40 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, MA, 01730, USA

Major Milestones

Major Milestone Date
Solution design gate 2011–12
Deployment readiness gate 2012–13
Deployment and close-out gate 2013–14

Project Outcomes

Funding was included in Budget 2008 to enhance and strengthen identity management within the Temporary Resident Program, allowing overseas visa officers and border service officers at ports of entry (POEs) to make decisions based on accurate identity and immigration admissibility information, and permitting border service officers to verify applicants’ identity at Canada’s POEs. The following performance measurement information underscores the benefits of the project.

Protect Canadians

Between 2003 and 2007, 0.7 percent of refugee claimants had hits against the RCMP criminal fingerprint database. Based on the current volume of 1.2 million temporary applicants with the assumption of a similar pattern of hit results, it is estimated that fingerprint matching could detect 8,400 known criminals or potential security threats annually.

Reduced Abuse of Visa Program

Biometrics will allow the government to detect and deter temporary applicants who use different identities, including previously refused visa/permit applicants. Fingerprint matching of refugee claimants between 2003 and 2007 found that 2.5 percent of them made repeat claims, likely under different identities. It is expected that the application of biometrics in the Temporary Resident Program will yield similar results.

Reduced Abuse of Refugee Program

Biometrics will make it possible to cross-reference visa/permit applicants against the refugee claimant database and vice versa. Even within the limited scope of the field trial (October 2006 to April 2007), 12 cases out of 1,482 recorded entries into Canada were found between the visa and refugee streams—a rate of 0.8 percent. Under the auspices of the Five Country Conference, CIC, in partnership with CBSA and the RCMP, began sharing 3,000 fingerprint records per country per year under the High Value Data Sharing Protocol in September 2009. Canada is exchanging bilaterally with the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. This initiative covers refugee claimants as well as immigration enforcement cases. To date, the protocol has yielded positive results, including potential interventions and warrant closures. On average, Canadian requests under the protocol have produced an approximate 40-percent biometric match rate with the United States, a 4-percent match rate with the United Kingdom and a 0.1-percent match rate with Australia. U.S. requests have produced an approximate 2-percent match rate with Canadian records. Given these successes, development of future systematic biometric immigration information is being explored in the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan for managing the North American perimeter. This type of biometric matching could increase the quality of evidence available for decision makers at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to establish the credibility of refugee claims.

Facilitate Removals

Biometrics will facilitate the removal of individuals who should not be in Canada by linking undocumented foreign nationals to the identity and place of origin stated on their visa application. Of the approximately 23,000 refugee claimants in 2006, 30 percent were without identity or travel documents. By detecting previous deportees who apply for a Canadian visa under a different identity, biometrics will prevent them from returning to Canada.

Ensure Border Security

Biometric verification at POEs will allow CBSA officers to confirm that the individual arriving in Canada is the same one to whom CIC issued the visa/permit abroad. Currently, one of the key vulnerabilities is the inability to ensure that the visa/permit and the genuine holder remain together once the document is issued by CIC. It is this gap that resulted in 523 Canadian visas being used fraudulently by foreign nationals to travel to Canada in 2006. This includes altered and counterfeit visas as well as impostor fraud. The actual extent of the abuse is expected to be much higher than this figure suggests.

Progress Report and Explanations of Variances

In late 2007, CIC sought policy approval for the introduction of biometrics into the Temporary Resident Program, and funding to support this initiative was included in Budget 2008. In March 2009, CIC received preliminary approval for the implementation of the TRBP.

In June 2012, the TRBP successfully transitioned from planning the solution design gate into the deployment readiness gate. An independent review supported project transition. As a result, the TRBP is pleased to report a green overall project health status. The project remains within budget.

Industrial Benefits

The TRBP will improve the safety and security of Canadian citizens. Immigration and the granting of Canadian citizenship are vital to the continued growth and prosperity of Canada. To support the Government of Canada outcomes of strong economic growth and a safe and secure world, a balance must be maintained between the desire to welcome newcomers to Canada and the obligation to protect the health, safety and security of Canadian society. Criminals, terrorists and other known inadmissible persons must not be allowed to enter or stay in Canada.

Refugee Reform project


Through implementation of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act (BRRA) and the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA), Canada is improving its asylum system with the aim of helping those truly in need and doing so much more quickly. These acts streamline the asylum system to ensure that Canada can continue to provide timely protection to those in need while deterring abuse of the system. All eligible asylum claimants will continue to receive a fair hearing based on their personal situation and will have avenues for appeal.

Before the introduction of the PCISA, which received Royal Assent on June 28, 2012, CIC was working diligently toward implementation of the BRRA.Much of that work will serve as a foundation for the implementation of measures introduced in the PCISA.

Project Phase

The project is currently in the execution phase.

Leading and Participating Departments and Agencies

Lead Department CIC
Contracting Authority PWGSC
Participating Departments CBSA, IRB, Department of Justice Canada, RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Courts Administration Service/Federal Court

Prime and Major Subcontractor(s)

Prime Contractor None
Major Subcontractor(s) Various subcontractors used on a task authorization basis

Major Milestones

Major Milestone Date
CBSA: launch the assisted voluntary returns and reintegration pilot Summer 2012
IRB: begin training Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), Refugee Protection Division (RPD) employees Fall 2012
All: IT critical system modifications complete Fall 2012
IRB: regional accommodations leased and fit-up complete Fall 2012
CIC: launch ministerial reviews and intervention pilot Fall 2012
CIC: finalize new process for protected person status Fall 2012
All: coming into force Fall 2012
RCMP: launch enhanced security screening pilot Fall 2012
CIC: assess backlog reduction strategy Spring 2013
IRB: staff positions for RAD and RPD including Governor in Council Summer 2013
CIC/IRB: transfer pre-removal risk assessment function to IRB Fall 2014
Project completed Spring 2015

Project Outcomes

The business outcomes of the Refugee Reform Project include:

  • streamlining the process from the point of claim to the end of the determination process and imposition of specific timelines for each step of the process;
  • enhancing system integrity by:
    • reducing abuse of the system through ongoing monitoring and analysis,
    • increasing capacity to conduct ministerial interventions and to designate countries of origin,
    • introducing enhanced security screening on a pilot basis, and
    • increasing efficiency by maximizing use of resources (time, human, financial); and
  • ensuring timely removals through increased removals capacity at CBSA and the introduction of an assisted voluntary returns pilot project.

To underscore Canada’s commitment to protection, reform measures are complemented by efforts to strengthen Canada’s role as a global leader in refugee protection. By 2013, an additional 2,500 resettled refugees will be welcomed to Canada, bringing the total number of resettled refugees to as many as 14,500 per year. CIC and relevant partners are also developing metrics to measure the success of the project.

Progress Report and Explanations of Variances

The PCISA amends the coming-into-force date of the BRRA to a date set by the Governor in Council. All dates for the milestones are tentative and will be finalized once a coming-into-force date is formally established.

Industrial Benefits

Bona fide refugee claimants will benefit from a streamlined process and Canadian society at large will benefit from system integrity and timely removal of failed claimants.


  • [1] Deployment readiness: The technical solution will be built and business readiness activities undertaken to prepare stakeholders for the implementation of biometrics. [back to note 1]
  • [2] Deployment/Close-out: To complete deployment of biometrics, confirm that the project delivery objectives have been met and close out the project. [back to note 2]
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