Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits
Response to parliamentary committees
On June 4, 2013, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) decided to study the Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) for visitors system in Canada. In particular, the Committee agreed to examine 1) the integrity of the system; 2) the cost and practical implications of introducing an appeal mechanism; and 3) a comparison of Canada’s visitor visa system with programs in peer countries. The Committee also agreed to consider certain issues for international students as they relate to the visa process and to incorporate testimony received on the subject of TRVs for visitors during the Committee’s recent study on the security of Canada’s immigration system.
In March 2014, CIMM presented its report and 12 recommendations. Generally, the report recommended that the Government take steps to:
- facilitate the ease of use of applications and applicant guides;
- ensure the protection of private information;
- prevent fraud and combat human trafficking; and
- examine various measures to streamline the screening of legitimate travellers.
The Government of Canada’s response to the committee report was tabled on July 16, 2014.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance undertook a study on income inequality in Canada and tabled its report to the House of Commons on December 10, 2013. Of the 24 recommendations in the report, one noted that the federal government, working with the provinces and territories, should continue to improve the successful economic integration of immigrants and continue to eliminate professional barriers for newcomers through continued work on improved foreign credential recognition.
The Government of Canada response to the committee report was tabled on April 9, 2014.
The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade undertook a study on the economic and political developments in the Republic of Turkey, their regional and global influences and the implications for Canadian interests and opportunities. The committee report was originally tabled in the Senate in June 2013, re-tabled on November 28, 2013, and adopted by the Senate on February 27, 2014. Of the six recommendations contained in the report, one suggested that the Government of Canada undertake to enter into a youth mobility agreement with the Government of the Republic of Turkey, which could include young professional and international co-op experiences, with reasonable quotas for each category.
The Government of Canada response to the committee report has not yet been tabled.
In 2011, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology undertook a study on social inclusion and cohesion in Canada. The report identifies ongoing barriers to inclusion and offers 39 recommendations designed to make Canada more inclusive and cohesive. Following the prorogation of the First Session of the 41st Parliament, the report was re-tabled on December 9, 2013.
Several recommendations made by the committee had direct and indirect implications for Citizenship and Immigration Canada:
- That the Government of Canada enhance the availability of the full suite of pre-arrival services provided to immigrants prior to their departure for Canada.
- That permanent residents and their dependants between the ages of 18 and 54 and members of the family class of permanent residents within the same age range be assessed for their skills in one of the two official languages following arrival in Canada;
- That based on this assessment, those tested be directed to an appropriate level of language training under the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Program;
- That enrolment in the LINC program be strongly encouraged for all those falling below a predetermined level of linguistic ability; and
- That the Government of Canada continue to make improvements to the LINC program. In particular, such improvements should take into consideration those language skills that are work-specific and that enhance the ability of newcomers to interact with Canadians in ways that facilitate community involvement.
- That the Government of Canada employ campaigns to explain the importance of community engagement and promote volunteerism among immigrant communities.
- Where warranted, such as for immigrant women who stay at home to care for young children, that immigrants be granted admission to the LINC program for up to five years following arrival regardless of acquisition of Canadian citizenship.
- That CIC expand the number of LINC program sites equipped with child care facilities for preschool children.
- That the Government of Canada initiate efforts to expand the Local Immigration Partnership model beyond the province of Ontario.
- That the Government of Canada work in partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal levels of government to promote civic awareness among new Canadians. Such programs should emphasize both the rights and the responsibilities of citizens vis-à-vis their communities.
- That, as part of pre-departure services, prospective immigrants be advised when their academic or other credentials do not meet the standards required by Canadian employers.
- That the Government of Canada support initiatives that empower members of minority communities to become better represented in federal boards, commissions and in public office.
- That the Government of Canada continue actions to combat racism and discrimination as set forth in Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism.
The government response to the committee report was tabled on May 13, 2014.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts undertook a study on the special examinations of Crown corporations, held by the Auditor General of Canada, and tabled its report to the House of Commons on June 10, 2013.
The Committee made two recommendations with respect to the Canadian Race Relations Foundation:
- That the Canadian Race Relations Foundation inform the Public Accounts Committee when an individual with appropriate investment expertise has been appointed to its board of directors; and
- That the Canadian Race Relations Foundation report to the Public Accounts Committee, by March 31, 2014, on the extent to which the Foundation is meeting its investment objectives.
The Government of Canada response to the committee report was tabled on October 16, 2013.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertook a study on the Canadian entertainment software industry and tabled its report to the House of Commons on April 30, 2013. Chapter 4 of the report dealt with labour-related issues and contained one recommendation addressed to CIC and other departments:
- That CIC and relevant departments work together with video game companies to facilitate the recruitment of specialized foreign workers to Canada.
The Government of Canada response to the committee report was tabled on October 16, 2013.
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) tabled an audit report on November 22, 2013, entitled “Audit of Preventing Illegal Entry into Canada.”
The audit was government-wide and not specific to CIC. The objective of the audit was to determine whether selected Government of Canada systems and practices to prevent the illegal entry of people into Canada are working as intended.
The OAG examined selected federal government systems and practices to prevent the illegal entry of people into Canada as defined under the IRPA and the Customs Act. CIC’s Global Case Management System and Field Operations Support System were examined.
There were no recommendations specific to CIC.
External audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
In September 2013, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) completed a horizontal audit of federal institutions, including CIC, entitled “Horizontal Audit of Accountability for Official Languages Transfer Payments to the Provinces (Part VII of the Official Languages Act).” The objective of the audit was to examine the procedures and mechanisms in place across federal institutions to ensure that funds transferred to provinces to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities and to support their development were used for these purposes.
OCOL recommended that CIC ensure the Government of British Columbia accounts for its activities and spending for Francophone newcomers separately and in more detail when preparing its final annual report, which was presented to CIC on August 31, 2014.
CIC has communicated this concern to British Columbia, and the province has undertaken to provide more detailed information on activities and spending for Francophone newcomers separately in their annual reports for 2012–2013 and 2013–2014.
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