Operational Bulletin 236 - October 14, 2011

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

Officer Name Disclosure in Correspondence Abroad

Issue

This Operational Bulletin (OB) informs staff of the new guidelines for disclosure of the name of an overseas officer.

Background

As a result of a number of incidents that have taken place in the international context, a threat and risk assessment by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) National Headquarters (NHQ) Corporate Security Directorate was completed which has led CIC not to include the name of overseas officers on all correspondence to clients and their representatives. These instructions apply to positive and negative Permanent Resident (PR) and Temporary Resident (TR) decision letters, requests for information and any other day to day correspondence that is sent to the client from the mission.

Officers should be aware that their names may be released if there is a request for this information or where CIC is required to disclose this information under the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) legislation or pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Board and other court proceedings, unless exceptional circumstances justify further non-disclosure.

Name Disclosure in Correspondence

This OB takes effect immediately. However, a transition period of two weeks is provided to the missions to update templates and modify current procedures.

For all case types processed abroad:

  • Letter templates used shall reflect generic titles, such as Visa Officer or Officer, as found in the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Act letter templates.
  • The signature of the decision-maker shall not identify the officer’s name or any other identifiable characteristics.

Name Disclosure upon Written Request

The decision-maker’s name or any other officer named in a file may be released if the client makes a request in writing or through appropriate channels.

The applicant has a number of options to retrieve the information related to the decision-maker’s identity. These include a request made in writing to the mission, a request under the ATIP legislation or a request made by the Member of Parliament (MP) in the riding to which the applicant is destined. This OB only covers the steps required by the mission to respond to a letter from the applicant. ATIP and MP requests will continue to follow the established procedures.

If there are security or safety concerns about the release of the decision-maker’s identity or any officer named in a file, a preliminary threat and risk assessment (TRA) must be requested to CIC NHQ-Security via secure means, i.e., C5. Based on the findings of the TRA, the name of the officer may or may not be released.

The following procedures describe the steps required for the applicant to obtain the name of the officer who made the decision on their file.

The decision to release the decision-maker’s name falls under the authority of the Immigration Program Manager (IPM). The IPM must consult with International Region (IR) and CIC Corporate Security. The officer must be informed that a request to release their name has been made, and must be involved in the process to determine concerns around the release of the information.

  • Applicant (or representative) contacts the mission responsible for processing the application (contact information can be obtained from the CIC internet site).
  • The employee who receives the requests informs the applicant that the request must be made in writing. Once received in writing, the applicant is notified that the request will be processed and that a written response will be sent within five working days.
  • The employee who received the request logs the requests and notifies the IPM and the decision-maker in question that a request to release the name has been received. In cases where there are no concerns about the proposed release, the IPM authorizes the release of the name.
  • In cases where the IPM perceives a high degree of risk, a TRA process is initiated through CIC security. This process will be concluded in sufficient time to allow the department to respond to the client within the prescribed turnaround time of five working days.

Inland CIC Offices

In some cases, an applicant (or representative) may send their request to an inland office to obtain the name of the officer who rendered the decision outside Canada. The officer who receives the request will ask the person making the inquiry to contact the mission responsible for processing the application and make the request in writing or through appropriate channels. (Contact information is available on the CIC internet site).

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