Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

Canada is a country that has been positively impacted by immigration, welcoming 19 million people since Confederation and home to over 200 ethnic communities. Immigration has been crucial in shaping Canada into the diverse and prosperous nation it is today and, looking forward, stands to be equally fundamental to Canada's future social cohesion and economic prosperity. To this end, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada facilitates the entry of temporary residents, manages the selection, settlement and integration of newcomers, grants citizenship and issues passports to eligible citizens. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is responsible for this organization.

Note: Until the establishing legislation is amended, the legal name of the Department for the purposes of appropriation acts remains Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

Mandate and role

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) selects and welcomes, as permanent and temporary residents, foreign nationals whose skills contribute to Canadian prosperity. It also reunites family members.

The Department maintains Canada’s humanitarian tradition by welcoming refugees and other people in need of protection, thereby upholding its international obligations and reputation.

IRCC, in collaboration with its partners, conducts the screening of potential permanent and temporary residents to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians. IRCC is also responsible for the issuance and control of Canadian passports and other travel documents that facilitate the travel of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons.

Lastly, the Department builds a stronger Canada by helping all newcomers settle and integrate into Canadian society and the economy, and by encouraging, granting and providing proof of Canadian citizenship.

IRCC offers its many programs either directly or through contract, grant or contribution agreement, or in partnership with other government departments.

Immigration services are offered through the IRCC website, by telephone during local business hours within Canada, or by email, as well as at 23 in-Canada points of service and 61 points of service in 50 countries. As of January 2020, there were 161 visa application centres in 108 countries, 133 application support centresFootnote 1 in the United States, and a network of just over 2,000 panel physicians operating in 178 countries.

Settlement and integration services are offered prior to arrival in Canada and across the country, outside Quebec, through a network of over 500 service provider organizations across Canada.

The Department also works with Employment and Social Development Canada to deliver in-Canada biometrics collection and domestic passport service delivery, leveraging the latter’s extensive network of passport processing centres and walk-in sites (34 full service passport offices and over 310 Service Canada sites). IRCC also partners with Global Affairs Canada, which provides passport services abroad in over 210 different locations in 148 countries.

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