Operating context

The COVID–19 pandemic has affected many aspects of IRCC’s operations and prospective clients in 2020. IRCC has faced multiple challenges: its workforce has had to adapt to working remotely; domestic, international and third-service providers’ offices have temporarily closed; processing paper-based applications has been challenging; and inventories have grown as a result. Despite the situation, IRCC continues to facilitate the entry of individuals and families, process Canadian citizenship applicants, passports and other travel documents, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians.

The Department balances competing pressures, notably: responding to domestic labour market demands and an increasingly mobile work force; contributing to overall economic growth; and addressing efforts to streamline service delivery and enhance the client experience, while responding to complex safety and security challenges.

IRCC interacts annually with millions of individuals. This includes people seeking temporary or permanent resident entry into Canada and subsequently settling into Canadian society, those pursuing Canadian citizenship, Canadians seeking a Canadian passport, or other individuals seeking travel documents, such as a certificate of identity or a refugee travel document.

To ensure the successful integration of newcomers into the Canadian economy and society, IRCC engages regularly and extensively with federal partners, provinces and territories, as well as other stakeholders on a variety of key immigration-related topics, such as immigration levels planning, economic immigration, and settlement and integration of newcomers, including refugees and protected persons.

IRCC also ensures the best possible client experience through an array of online and advanced analytical tools designed to maintain a positive client experience and an ongoing trend of lower processing times and reduced application inventories.

In recent years, with the exception of 2020, the Department experienced significant increases in some of its most important lines of business, as many around the world seek to enter Canada temporarily or permanently. This trend is expected to continue into future years, with a permanent resident immigration target of 401,000 admissions planned in 2021, increasing to 421,000 by 2023. Visitor, temporary worker and student volumes, which also experienced a significant decline in 2020, are expected to return to previously high volumes in future years.

IRCC’s challenge is to effectively manage increases in application volumes across all of its lines of business as international borders reopen and Canada’s economic recovery takes hold, while working with stakeholders to ensure that newcomers have the best opportunities to succeed in Canada’s economic recovery following the negative economic impacts due to COVID–19.

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