Audit of the Citizenship Program
The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Internal Audit and Accountability Branch’s Risk-Based Audit Plan (RBAP) for 2010–2013 identifies audit and advisory engagements to be undertaken during that period by weighing a combination of departmental priorities and risks. The RBAP identified the need for an audit of the Citizenship Program. This audit focused on the governance, risk management, and internal control processes and procedures in place over application processing for the Citizenship Program. The examination phase was conducted between December 2010 and April 2011.
The two main business lines of the Citizenship Program are the granting of Canadian citizenship and the issuance of proof of citizenship.
CIC builds a stronger Canada by helping immigrants and refugees settle and fully integrate into Canadian society and the economy, and by encouraging and facilitating Canadian citizenship. Citizenship is fundamentally a legal status that can be obtained by birth in Canada, birth outside of Canada to a Canadian parent or naturalization. A certificate proving citizenship can be requested by any Canadian citizen (proof) or granted to persons who are not Canadians by birth (grant). Other types of applications include applications to voluntarily renounce (renunciations) one’s legal status as a Canadian or to resume (resumptions) citizenship, or a request for a search of citizenship records.
The objective of this audit was to assess the adequacy of the governance framework, risk management practices and internal control framework in the delivery of the Citizenship Program.
The audit concludes that the overall framework for the management of the delivery of the Citizenship Program is in place and for the most part, key elements of the framework are well understood and operating as intended.
Specifically, the audit revealed that:
- the governance framework generally met audit expectations;
- the risk management processes and practices partially met audit expectations; and
- the internal control framework in place partially met audit expectations.
Management’s attention is required in a number of areas outlined in section 3.0 of this report where detailed observations and recommendations are highlighted in order to strengthen areas of concern. These include:
- further strengthen accountabilities, roles and responsibilities for the overall management of the program;
- review and update the basis of allocation of applications;
- review policy and procedures regarding delegation of authority.
The report includes management’s responses, an action plan and proposed implementation dates to address the recommendations.
During the conduct of the audit, the Department was in the process of undertaking a number of key management initiatives to modernize the Citizenship Program to improve and strengthen the delivery of the program. The Department is encouraged to continue in this direction.
Key management initiatives include:
- The Citizenship Operations Review Exercise (CORE)
The CORE is a horizontal analysis of current challenges facing the Citizenship Program from an operational perspective. The CORE examined the current state of the Citizenship Program and provided recommendations to be considered by management in its modernization of the program.
- The Citizenship Program Change Readiness Assessment Review
The review provides a diagnostic assessment of the Citizenship Program’s organizational readiness for change. The assessment identified some key areas on which to focus management strategies and provided recommendations to be considered by management in its modernization of the program.
Other departmental initiatives include:
- The Program Integrity Division (PID) has developed the Departmental Program Integrity Framework to fully integrate risk management, quality assurance (QA) and fraud deterrence and detection within CIC’s day-to-day operations;
- The PID has also developed a Citizenship Fraud Action Plan and is currently developing fraud risk indicators. It has also hosted the National Citizenship Fraud Conference in February 2011;
- A new process was implemented on April 1, 2011, at the central point of intake for applications (Case Processing Centre-Sydney [CPC-S]) whereby incomplete applications are returned to applicants immediately without further processing.
The audit was conducted in accordance with the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada and the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.
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