ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 195 – March 23, 2010

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Emergency referrals to local offices for work permits


Emergency referral process for work permits.


Citizenship and Immigration Canada has organized its Inland Delivery Network so that applications for work permits (WP) are submitted to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V). Local Canada Immigration Centres are only expected to process complex or exceptional cases. However, certain types of requests for emergency WP processing may be received by CPC-V or referred to local CICs.

Current policy and procedures

Requests to CPC-V for emergency processing are most often received when:

  • the client contacts the Call Centre to request emergency processing, or
  • an MP contacts CPC-V via fax to request emergency processing for a constituent.

The cases that warrant emergency processing at CPC-V are as follows:

  • Medical doctor involved in the treatment of patients (e.g. a pathologist involved in the treatment of cancer patients) who is changing employers, relocating to another province or renewing their medical licence. (Please note, a medical doctor who teaches, but who is not actively involved in the treatment of patients, does not qualify for urgent processing);
  • Live-in caregiver who is urgently required to provide care for an elderly person or a person with a disability;
  • Worker who is travelling urgently for business or due to death in the family or serious illness.

If the Call Centre agent feels the client meets the criteria for emergency processing, a non-computer based entry (NCB) is entered in the system of record, indicating that the request has been received and that the client will submit an application to CPC-V for emergency processing. It is the officer at CPC-V who makes the determination on whether or not emergency processing will begin.

Local CICs

With the exception of referrals to the St. Clair office in Toronto, there is no formal referral system in place between the Call Centre and CIC local offices.

New instructions – CPC-V

In addition to the above list of cases that warrant expedited processing, we will now be running a 6-month pilot project (effective immediately) in which workers travelling urgently due to business may also be referred by the Call Centre to CPC-V for emergency processing. This pilot will use the instructions provided in Webcart for emergency processing at CPC-V.

In such cases, clients will be asked to provide all required documents, e.g. fees, as well as proof of the urgency, such as a letter from the employer and travel arrangements. Clients must be informed by the Call Centre that it is the officer at CPC-V who determines whether or not emergency processing will begin. In the event that emergency processing is deemed warranted, the request will be processed within 48 hours to 5 business days (plus additional time for mailing). In the event that the case does not warrant emergency processing, it will be put in queue for regular processing. 

If the client had submitted an application to the regular CPC-V processing queue prior to the onset of the emergency, and the agent later processing the initial application is satisfied that the emergency work permit has authorized all of the work that the client wishes to perform, then the fees will be refunded for this initial application as the client fees would have been processed for the emergency processing. CPC-V is asked to document the volumes and nature/circumstances of the workers travelling urgently due to business and to report regularly to Operational Management and Coordination Branch (OMC) to allow us to better outline “urgent business travel” for use in future procedures.

New instructions – Local Offices

  1. The Call Centre will continue to refer cases meeting the current criteria to CPC-V.
  2. Cases meeting these same referral criteria but where processing must occur in less than 10 business days should now be referred to the office responsible for the area in which the client is living. (Note that the CPC-V pilot for business travellers is a CPC-V pilot only and that these workers should not be referred to local offices for processing).
  3. The Call Centre will:
    1. confirm the emergency meets the referral criteria;
    2. inform the client that they will be contacted by the local office within 2 business days (except in the case of St. Clair where the client can show up at the front counter without an appointment) and;
    3. advise the client of the required documentation to bring to the local office.
  4. Clients must be informed by the Call Centre that it is the officer at the local office who determines whether or not emergency processing will begin.
  5. The Call Centre will then complete the referral template and send an e-mail referral to the appropriate local office. OMC should be copied on these e-mails at An NCB will be placed on file by the Call Centre reflecting the outcome of the call as well as the client contact information. In addition to an e-mail referral, St. Clair clients will continue to be directed by the Call Centre to present themselves at the local office as per the hours of operation.
  6. The local office will monitor the mailbox and contact the clients referred to them to advise them of the time and location that they are available to see the client. Since clients will continue to be referred directly to St. Clair, and due to volumes, the St. Clair local office will not be contacting clients as a result of the e-mail referral sent to them.
  7. When contacting clients, the local office should once again remind them of the documentation required to issue the WP as well as evidence of the existence of the emergency. For example, if the request for expedited service is based on an illness or death of a family member, it may be appropriate to request evidence of the illness or a copy of the death certificate. It may also be appropriate to request evidence of travel plans. Supporting documentation requirements will have also been relayed to clients by the Call Centre.
  8. If the officer at the local office does not agree that the case meets the criteria for emergency processing, then the client will be asked to submit their application to
    CPC-V for regular processing. In these cases, officers are requested to indicate in an NCB that the file was declined for emergency processing and that the client has been referred for regular processing to CPC-V. These negative outcomes should also be sent via e-mail to OMC at
  9. In cases where the client has previously submitted an application to CPC-V, the local CIC should only process the application if CPC-V cannot reach a decision before the onset of the urgent situation for which the document is required. Refer to for the latest processing times.
  10. If referral volumes are such that a local office determines that they are unable to complete processing prior to the 10 business day turnaround offered at CPC-V, we request that they contact their Regional Program Advisor who can raise the issue for discussion with OMC. Instructions will be issued to all impacted parties, if required.


If the client has already submitted an application for a new work permit, or for an extension of their existing work permit to CPC-V, but the processing of that application has not yet begun, then the Canada Immigration Centre processing the emergency work permit should confirm that the client wishes to withdraw the application in queue at CPC-V and receive a refund of those processing fees. This information is to be noted in an NCB or WIP for the information of CPC-V. For the purpose of withdrawals and refunds arising as a result of the issuance of emergency work permits, verbal confirmation of the client's desire to withdraw the earlier application at the local office will satisfy the second policy Statement in CIC's Refund Policy.

If there is evidence in FOSS that the application is already in process at CPC-V, then the client will not be eligible for a refund of fees.

Next steps

  • OMC will work with the Regions to review if possible timelines for local office processing can be provided to the Call Centre.
  • OMC will work with the Regions at a later date to determine if the list of referral cases requires any amendments.

The provision for the emergency processing of work permits is neither a legislated activity nor a delegated decision. Local management is expected to exercise sound judgement to determine the level and manner of service required in a particular situation. Local managers are responsible for service delivery in their areas and should brief local staff on the application of these guidelines.

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