Audit of the Immigration Program at the Canadian Mission in Warsaw

Internal Audit & Accountability Branch
December 2014

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Objective and Scope

The objectives of the audit were to assess the adequacy of the Warsaw mission’s:

  1. governance framework for administering the Immigration Program;
  2. risk management and quality assurance practices to support the delivery of the Immigration Program; and
  3. internal controls over administrative, financial and operational activities related to the Immigration Program.

The scope of the audit includes the roles and responsibilities of the Operations Sector at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) National Headquarters to support delivery of the Immigration Program at missions. The time period covered by the audit was from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, with the exception of an inventory count and reconciliation performed during the on-site examination in November 2013.

Why This Is Important

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is the legal federal framework for immigration and protection of refugees in Canada. Through implementation of the IRPA worldwide, CIC employees manage access to Canada through the receipt and processing of applications for permanent and temporary residence.

The operating environment in which overseas immigration staff conduct their duties can be challenging. Sound governance, risk management and quality assurance practices, and internal controls must be in place to ensure compliance with core legislative, policy, and operational requirements, as well as stewardship of funds and safeguarding of key assets.

Key Findings

We found that the governance framework in place at the Warsaw mission was adequate. Resources were planned and managed to support program delivery and the importance of values and ethics was understood and promoted within the mission.

Formal and informal risk management and quality assurance mechanisms were in place at the mission. Risk management practices could be improved by strengthening and centralizing the documentation of mission-specific risks and mitigating strategies.

Improvements to the internal control framework are required to ensure that administrative expenditures are consistently documented and pre-approved, as required by the Financial Administration Act. Further, the development of standard operating procedures for the mission’s lines of business would help to reduce the loss of knowledge upon rotation or turnover of staff and maximize the limited resources available. Controls to ensure the safeguarding and handling of controlled documents are in place and are noted as a good practice.

Conclusion

The governance framework at the Warsaw mission for administering the Immigration Program was adequate. The mission’s risk management and quality assurance practices were adequate. Comprehensive documentation of mission-specific risks would strengthen risk management for delivery of the Immigration Program. Improvements are required to the mission’s internal controls to ensure administrative expenditures and properly approved. Establishing standardized operating procedures for all lines of business would also help to minimize loss of knowledge in the event of staff turnover and maximize the mission's resources.

Statement of Conformance

The conduct of this engagement conforms with the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada, as supported by the results of the quality assurance and improvement program. We examined sufficient, relevant evidence to support the conclusions reached.

Gibby Armstrong
Chief Audit Executive
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Introduction

The delivery of Canada’s Immigration Program abroad is the responsibility of CIC’s Operations Sector at National Headquarters and occurs in 60 points of service at missions abroad. The International Region (IR) manages an overseas workforce of 1,300 immigration employees comprised of public servants and locally engaged staff (LES) who screen and process applicants for admission to Canada. Application types include permanent resident visas (for family class and economic class immigrants, refugees and protected persons); temporary resident visas (for foreign students, visitors and temporary workers); and other immigration documents such as permanent resident travel documents, temporary resident permits and authorizations to return to Canada (for individuals previously subject to a removal order).

The IR also contributes to the advancement of CIC’s international agenda by liaising with foreign governments and program delivery partners, and contributing to the protection of refugees worldwide, the international migration agenda, and the realization of Canada as a destination of choice for foreign students and international youth.Footnote 1

In addition, the IR is responsible for non-Immigration Program activities in missions, such as resource management administration, performance analysis and reporting. Other branches within CIC’s Operations Sector are responsible for the development of policy and procedures, program integrity activities, and information technology systems. Administrative services in missions abroad are provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding.

This audit focused on the Immigration Program activities conducted at the Canadian mission located in Warsaw, Poland, as well as the guidance provided by the Operations Sector at CIC’s National Headquarters. Please see Appendix A for a list of the criteria used for the audit.

Mission Environmental Context

The Warsaw visa office is a full-service centre, providing the full suite of immigration services to a population of over 54 million citizens or persons legally admitted to the five countries within its area of responsibility: Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. As of March 2013, the Immigration Section employed 18 indeterminate employees: two Canada-based officers (CBOs) and 16 LES. Two emergency LES were also employed during the audit period. The mission’s operating (non-salary) budget allocation for 2012 was $42,888.

In 2012, the Warsaw visa office received 938 applications for permanent residence from its area of responsibility and issued 4,091 visas, including cases transferred from another region to Warsaw for processing. The mission received 4,190 non-immigrant applications – visitor visa, work permit and student permit – and approved 83%, 94% and 73% of these applications, respectively. The Warsaw office’s Temporary Resident line of business has steadily declined since the requirement to obtain a visitor visa was lifted on January 1, 2009, for Polish and Lithuanian holders of a biometric passport (chip-enabled). Since 2009, the Warsaw mission has received and processed files from other offices to assist with capacity issues within the network. The mission’s annual targets include Iranian files from outside its area of responsibility. Appendix B presents a summary of the Warsaw mission’s processing data for 2009–2012 and a comparison to CIC’s overseas network.

The Warsaw mission experienced a number of challenges during the audit period. In 2012, 5000 cases were transferred to the Warsaw mission due to the closure of the visa office in Damascus, and it assisted the Moscow office in the processing of its visitor caseload during the peak period. In 2013, the Warsaw office also assumed responsibility for processing the Moscow office’s electronic applications. Further, the decommission of CIC’s legacy Computer-Assisted Immigration Processing System (CAIPS) and transfer of cases into the Global Case Management System (GCMS) began at the end of the audit period, with full decommissioning completed by March 2014.

In addition, during the audit period, the mission experienced a reduction in staff within both the Immigration Program and DFATD, as part of DFATD’s consolidation of administrative services to fewer delivery points within its network of offices. As of June 2013, the majority of financial services are being provided to Warsaw by the Berlin mission.

Findings

For a full summary of all findings against audit criteria, see Appendix A – Control Summary. Key audit findings are described below.

Governance

The objective was to assess the mission’s governance framework for administering the Immigration Program.

We expected to find that roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for the Immigration Program were clearly defined and communicated, that financial and human resources were planned and managed to support program delivery, and that public service values and ethics are promoted, documented and understood within the mission.

Finding 1 – The governance framework in place for administering the Immigration Program at the Warsaw mission is adequate.

Clear roles and responsibilities, management of resources and the promotion of public service values help to foster and maintain an organization with the people, work environment and capacity to achieve organizational objectives. We found that the Immigration Program’s organizational structure is clear and in accordance with business lines and functional responsibilities. The relationships with other programs in the mission are collaborative, and immigration CBOs actively participate in the governance of the mission through its committees. The roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of immigration staff were clear, and the majority of LES have been employed at the mission for a number of years. Values and ethics, as well as conflict of interest disclosure obligations, were understood by all immigration staff. This understanding was confirmed in writing by all Immigration Program LES upon implementation of the most recent CIC and DFATD codes of conduct.

Financial and human resources were planned and used to support the delivery of the Immigration Program. Clear linkages were seen between the distribution of work, the achievement of targets and priorities, and the maintenance of program integrity. For example, temporary resident application processing duties are assigned to a single officer, who rotates on a weekly basis, permitting the majority of the decision-makers to focus on processing the more labour-intensive permanent resident files. In addition, officers travel on temporary duty assignments to other visa offices for which the Warsaw mission processes electronic applications. These trips provide officers with the opportunity to obtain local knowledge and to formulate standard procedures for processing applications outside the mission’s area of responsibility; the audit noted this as a good practice.

Risk Management and Quality Assurance

The objective was to assess the mission’s risk management and quality assurance practices to support delivery of the Immigration Program.

We expected to find that mechanisms were in place to identify, mitigate and monitor risks to the Immigration Program, and that resource allocation was informed by these mechanisms. We also expected to find that the mission immigration staff conducts quality assurance exercises and uses the results of these reviews to improve operations.

Finding 2 – Mission-specific risk information is inconsistently documented and centralized.

Formal risk management and monitoring practices assist in operational decision-making, allocation of resources and identification of internal and external factors that may preclude the achievement of organizational objectives. The value of ensuring that risk information is systematically documented at a mission-level, centralized, and periodically reviewed at National Headquarters is multi-fold: communications may be streamlined, gaps in local knowledge when officers rotate between assignments may be minimized, and it helps to ensure that reliable information is available for decision-making and allocation of financial and human resources across the network of processing offices (in-Canada and overseas).

Mission-specific risk information is obtained through multiple sources but not centrally documented. For the period covered by the audit, the mission had completed the annual Managerial Checklist, which is a mandatory assessment against a standard list of risk indicators as determined by the IR at National Headquarters. This checklist does not require the documentation of mission-specific risks and mitigating strategies. Mission-specific risk information is communicated to the IR office at National Headquarters through emails and other communications; however, this information is not consolidated or systematically documented and monitored.

Nonetheless, mission-specific risks are informally tracked by Warsaw program management, and this information is taken into account in operational and financial decision-making at the mission and the undertaking of quality assurance exercises. For example, the mission requests funding for officer temporary duty assignments for other offices to ensure that officers obtain and maintain their local knowledge for processing higher risk cases and files from other offices. The mission has also implemented a good practice of formally documenting a commitment to communicate issues of concern or of risk to supervisors in the performance agreements of all staff, both LES and CBOs.

Recommendation 1 (Medium): The CIC Operations Sector should formalize its risk management practices to systematically document, monitor and report on mission-specific risk information and mitigation strategies.

Finding 3 – Quality assurance exercises are performed by mission immigration staff and these activities inform operational decision-making.

The implementation of a quality assurance regime allows an organization to ensure that processes are effective and working as designed. A quality assurance regime helps to detect, monitor and resolve issues before they materialize into risks. The Warsaw mission committed to performing quality assurance activities during the audit period as part of the International Region Integrated Management Plan (IRIMP), the annual planning exercise. The mission established its own methodology and expectations for these activities, with reviews, spanning permanent and temporary lines of business and the collection of immigration revenues. The majority of activities performed by the mission were focused queries or a combination of performance reporting and qualitative assessments on decisions or results of processing for a particular business line, application or client type. The results from these activities informed operational decision-making. For example, procedures were updated to increase productivity and efficiency with the introduction of standardized pre-assessment notes. Additionally, security screening procedures were initiated earlier for certain application types in order to minimize delays in the overall processing time. Where applicable, procedures to be followed or changed as a result of quality assurance activities were communicated to staff via email or through team meetings.

The Immigration Program staff shared results of quality assurance activities with stakeholders, such as other missions and the IR, as applicable; however, none of the mission’s exercises were included in the National Headquarters Repository of Program Integrity Exercises. New guidance on program integrity activities and quality assurance activity expectations for missions was released following the audit period. The implementation of this guidance and use of this information by the Operations Sector will be assessed in future audits.

Internal Control

We expected to find that controls over administrative, financial and operational activities, including access to the immigration work space and systems, application processing, controlled documents, cost recovery, and administrative expenditures, were in place at the mission to ensure compliance with legal, policy and operational requirements.

Finding 4 – Formal knowledge transfer mechanisms for mission-specific operational procedures were not in place.

In a mission context, strong internal controls help to ensure that the Immigration Program is delivered in compliance with applicable guidance, assets and revenues are managed and safeguarded, and expenditures are made in compliance with key financial policies.

Applications reviewed as part of the audit were processed in line with standardized departmental procedures. Mission-specific procedures were known and understood by all staff, but were not documented for all lines of business for a variety of factors, including the unpredictability of the mission’s caseload in more recent years and low turn-over of LES at the mission. Given the long-term employment of many of the LES, the retention of corporate knowledge rested with few individuals, including those affected by the reductions. During the audit period, however, some of the Immigration Program LES positions were eliminated within a short timeframe. As a result, a key employee was retained on term and emergency employment to assist in the transfer of knowledge and aid in the redistribution of tasks.

Implementing formal information transfer mechanisms for corporate knowledge, such as a central repository of standard operating procedures, transition workshops, shadowing or rotation of duties would help to ensure that immigration staff are equipped to perform all mission operations. Further, these mechanisms would help to minimize loss of knowledge in the event of staff turnover and maximize the mission's finite financial resources.

Recommendation 2 (Medium): The Warsaw mission should ensure that sufficient knowledge transfer mechanisms are in place for all of its lines of business.

As control issues for the safeguarding of documents have been noted in other mission audits, the Warsaw mission’s control procedures are noted as a good practice. The counterfoil and seal physical inventory count matched the electronic count in the Controlled Key Forms Inventory Tracking System (CKFITS). A sign-out/sign-in log for daily use and printing of counterfoils is not used; however, an alternate control is in place and is sufficient for the low volume of counterfoils printed at the mission. Daily recording and quarterly reporting exercises were completed by the mission as required.

Finding 5 – Documentation of financial approvals for administrative expenditures were inconsistent.

In high-risk environments such as a mission, internal controls help to ensure that revenue is collected, recorded and safeguarded and that expenditures are made in compliance with key financial policies.

Key controls over the collection and safeguarding of revenue were in place at the mission, and quality assurance activities were completed for the mission’s satellite offices during the audit period. Minor weaknesses in the controls for the recording of refunds were observed. Refunds were coded against incorrect or inactive General Ledger (GL) codes. This issue was previously noted in the 2012 audits of the Immigration Program in Nairobi and Lagos and, therefore, may be systemic in nature. Internal Audit and Accountability will follow up on the recommendations from these audits to ensure that the management action plan has been implemented and the measures are sufficient to resolve the issue.

Pre-approvals and certification for section 32 of the Financial Administration Act was inconsistently applied and documented in the majority of the 13 travel and 4 overtime files reviewed. Examples of these errors include the following: manager approval was signed but there was no certification as per section 32 of the Financial Administration Act, certification was incorrectly signed by an individual without the delegated authority to do so, travel was approved without including estimated costs on the approval form, and flights were purchased prior to documented approvals. Similar errors were also noted in the 2012 audits of the Immigration Program in Nairobi and Lagos, and the cause was in part attributed to the previous form used for approval. While a new form has been implemented in missions, it has not resolved the issue.

Pre-approvals for overtime by CBOs were documented for some travel and events, but not on a consistent basis.

Although the materiality and impact of these findings regarding pre-approvals are limited from a single mission perspective, these findings are consistent with those noted in the 2013 audits of the Immigration Program in Nairobi and Lagos. Therefore, Internal Audit and Accountability will continue to review both of these areas in further mission audits to determine if systemic issues exist. 

Recommendation 3 (Medium): The Warsaw mission should strengthen the documentation of approval of administrative expenditures as per the Financial Administration Act.

Appendix A – Control Summary

The conclusions reached for each of the audit criteria used in the audit were developed according to the following definitions:

Well Controlled

Well managed, no material weaknesses noted; and effective.

Controlled

Well managed, minor improvements are needed; and effective.

Moderate Issues

Has moderate issues requiring Management focus (at least one of the following two criteria need to be met):

  • control weaknesses, exposure is limited because likelihood of risk occurring is not high;
  • control weaknesses, exposure is limited because impact of the risk is not high.

Significant Improvements RequiredFootnote 2

Requires significant improvements (at least one of the following three criteria need to be met):

  • financial adjustments material to line item or area or to the department; or
  • control deficiencies represent serious exposure; or
  • major deficiencies in overall control structure.

Line of Enquiry: Governance

Audit Criteria 1.1

Roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for the Immigration Program are clearly defined and communicated.

Conclusion

Well Controlled

Evidence
  • A clear organizational structure is in place for the program and in accordance with lines of business and functional responsibilities.
  • Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and understood by staff members.
  • Responsibility for temporary resident processing is rotated weekly between officers - CBO and designated immigration officer (DIO) - and permits prioritization of resource-intensive permanent resident processing.
  • Delegated financial authorities and designated decision-making authorities under the IRPA at the mission are appropriate.
  • Mandatory training, including the refresher course, has been completed for all DIOs.
  • Functional training is provided to LES on the job, through team meetings and via email.

Audit Criteria 1.2

Resources are planned and managed to support delivery of the Immigration Program.

Conclusion

Controlled

Evidence
  • Immigration Program expense tracking is performed in real-time using manual spreadsheets.
  • Human resource allocation supports the achievement of targets, aids in the management of risks, and provides learning opportunities to staff members, e.g. temporary duty assignments for DIOs.
  • Emergency LES funding was requested to facilitate the transfer of corporate knowledge, following the elimination of a position.
  • Performance tracking is done monthly and on an ad hoc basis.

Audit Criteria 1.3

Public service values and ethics are promoted within the mission, documented, and clearly communicated.

Conclusion

Well controlled

Evidence
  • Public service values and ethics are promoted at the mission through staff meetings and formal training sessions.
  • LES in the immigration section acknowledged in writing their obligations under the CIC and DFATD codes of conduct.
  • Mechanisms to raise values and ethics issues or concerns are in place and understood by all staff.

Line of Enquiry: Risk Management and Quality Assurance

Audit Criteria 2.1

Risk management practices are integrated into mission operations and support the maintenance of program integrity.

Conclusion

Moderate Issues

Evidence
  • The mission completed the standardized assessment of risks in the Managerial Checklist, as required by the IR office at National Headquarters.
  • Immigration staff at the mission are required, as part of their performance management agreements, to communicate issues of concern or of risk to their supervisors, which is noted as a good practice.
  • Risks that arise at the mission which are not included in the Managerial Checklist’s standard risk list are not required to be documented by the IR office at National Headquarters. Although undocumented, they are informally tracked by the Warsaw mission and inform operational and financial decision-making, e.g. the rotation of processing duties and temporary duty assignments, and also inform decisions to undertake quality assurance exercises.
  • CIC’s Critical Function Description Sheets and the DFATD emergency and business continuity plan are complete.

Audit Criteria 2.2

Quality assurance measures, including oversight of visa application centres, are in place at the mission level to support program integrity.

Conclusion

Controlled

Evidence
  • Multiple quality assurance activities were performed by the mission during the audit period, in addition to the two required by the annual IRIMP exercise.
  • The mission establishes its own expectations for quality assurance activities; new guidance on program integrity activities was released by National Headquarters following the audit period.
  • The results from quality assurance activities inform operational decision-making and processes followed by staff.
  • The results of quality assurance activities are shared with stakeholders, such as other missions or the IR, as determined by the mission.
  • The Warsaw mission does not require the services of a visa a centre, as Polish Biometric Passport holders do not require a visitor visa for entry to Canada.

Line of Enquiry: Control

Audit Criteria 3.1

Controls are in place to ensure access and use of the mission’s Immigration Program systems is appropriate and a secure work space.

Conclusion

Controlled

Evidence
  • Access to and use of the mission's key systems - GCMS, CAIPS, Point of Service + 2000 (POS+ 2000) and CKFITS - is generally controlled.
  • Five former CAIPS accounts were still active at the time of the on-site visit, and three individuals had access to a restricted function; these accounts were deactivated during the audit examination, access to the restricted function was removed, and the CAIPS manager confirmed the restricted function had not been inappropriately used.
  • Access to the immigration area by non-immigration mission staff and insufficient storage space are known issues and managed to the extent possible by immigration staff.

Audit Criteria 3.2

Controls are in place to ensure that immigration applications are processed in accordance with applicable legislation, regulations, policies and standard operating procedures.

Conclusion

Controlled

Evidence
  • Mission-specific application processing procedures are in place for electronic application processing and portions of other lines of business.
  • Formal knowledge transfer mechanisms for mission-specific procedures were not in place.
  • Standard departmental procedures were followed for the application files reviewed.
  • The mission has developed and documented some of its own procedures and information requirements for the processing of its foreign caseloads, such as eligibility assessment guidelines and security screening processes.
  • Key decisions were made by individuals with the designated authority to do so.

Audit Criteria 3.3

Controls are in place to ensure that revenues are safeguarded and that cost recovery is performed in compliance with applicable legislation, policy and standard operating procedures.

Conclusion

Moderate Issues

Evidence
  • Immigration revenue is properly safeguarded at the mission.
  • The mission has implemented a good practice of maintaining a log of all voids, although minor errors in the manual recording of information were observed.
  • 8 of the 33 refunds reviewed (24%) were recorded against an incorrect GL code; the current year’s GL was used instead of the prior year’s GL code.
  • As of the audit on-site visit, the DFATD Management Consular Officer and the CIC Immigration Program Manager (IPM) had not attested that key controls related to immigration revenue processes were in place at the mission by completing the Controls Over Revenue-Attestation checklist.

Audit Criteria 3.4

Controls are in place to ensure the safeguarding and handling of controlled documents in accordance with the forms management program.

Conclusion

Controlled

Evidence
  • The counterfoil and seal physical inventory count matched the electronic count in the CKFITS.
  • A sign-out/sign-in log for daily use and printing of counterfoils is not used; however, an alternate control is in place and is sufficient for the low volume of counterfoils printed at the mission.
  • Daily recording and quarterly reporting exercises were completed by the mission as required.
  • Destruction of seals, no longer being used by the mission, is behind schedule; an appropriate mechanism for destroying the seals has not yet been identified.

Audit Criteria 3.5

Controls are in place to ensure administrative activities are conducted in compliance with applicable policies and regulations.

Conclusion

Moderate Issues

Evidence
  • Inconsistent application of and documentation of certification for section 32 of the Financial Administration Act was observed in 11 of 13 (75%) travel files reviewed. Errors included the following: manager approval was signed in lieu of certification in 6 files, certification was signed by an individual without delegated authority in 4 files, travel was approved in 1 file without including estimated costs on the form, and flight expenses were incurred prior to documented approvals in 2 files.
  • Certification of expenditures according to section 34 of the Financial Administration Act was signed by an individual who did not have the authority to do so on behalf of CIC in 2 of 13 (15%) files reviewed.
  • Pre-approvals for overtime expenses for CBOs were not consistently documented.
  • Performance agreements, consistent with duties and including measurable indicators, are in place for all LES at the mission.

Appendix B – Warsaw Application Processing 2009–2012

Business line 2012 2012 – All Offices Abroad 2012 – Warsaw as a % of All Offices Abroad 2011 2010 2009
Permanent residents Visas issued 4,140 266,139 1.56% 3,393 2,515 908
Applications finalized 4,633 310,365 1.49% 3,687 2,616 957
Applications received 4,177 271,048 1.54% 3,427 2,543 930
Temporary visitors Visas issued 1,908 951,256 0.20% 2,625 3,387 4,083
Applications finalized 2,321 1,159,264 0.20% 3,040 3,715 4,344
Applications received 2,356 1,177,895 0.20% 3,086 3,782 4,412
Temporary workers Permits issued 1,626 147,097 1.11% 1,641 1,397 1,159
Applications finalized 1,741 164,449 1.06% 1,817 1,526 1,220
Applications received 1,783 170,191 1.05% 1,630 1,599 1,471
Students Permits issued 149 105,590 0.14% 174 171 225
Applications finalized 200 143,952 0.14% 222 196 245
Applications received 204 146,155 0.14% 222 196 265
Warsaw Approval Rates 2009–2012
  2012 2011 2010 2009
Permanent residents 89% 95% 98% 96%
Temporary visitors 82% 86% 91% 94%
Temporary workers 93% 90% 92% 95%
Students 75% 78% 87% 92%

Source: Data from International Region (NHQ) records as at April 10, 2014.

Note: All data above is in persons rather than cases. A case consists of an application that may include multiple applicants (persons), for example a family.

Appendix C – Management Action Plan

Recommendation 1

The CIC Operations Sector should formalize its risk management practices to systematically document, monitor and report on mission-specific risk information and mitigation strategies.

Management Response (IR):

IR has developed and currently distributes an annual threat and risk assessment survey, the Managerial Checklist, by means of which each mission must identify the risk indicators present within their respective local/regional operations. The mission must also forward a risk mitigation strategy for each identified risk/threat. The checklist comprises 52 risk indicators.

Action Plan:

  • IR will continue to analyze submitted checklists in order to ensure that all identified risks and threats have been addressed appropriately by the risk mitigation strategies forwarded by the missions.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: IR
    • Target Date: Q2 2014-15
  • IR will redesign the Managerial Checklist prior to its next scheduled distribution in Q3 2014-15 to include the additional requirement that missions assess and report all risks that are observed in local or regional operations and confirmed through the delivery of program integrity exercises within the established parameters of the Program Integrity Framework. Missions will be instructed to present risk mitigation strategies for all identified risks and threats.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: IR
    • Target Date: Q3 2014-15
  • IR will establish and centrally maintain this compendium of information related to risks and mitigation strategies in order to ensure that rotating managers and officers throughout the network have ready access to its contents.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: IR
    • Target Date: Q4 2014-15

Recommendation 2

The Warsaw mission should ensure that sufficient knowledge transfer mechanisms are in place for all of its lines of business.

Management Response:

The missions in Warsaw and Moscow presently share temporary resident processing. Both missions have committed in the 2014-15 IRIMP to performing program integrity exercises in order to ensure consistency of decision-making. The results of these exercises will assist in identifying and addressing any knowledge gaps that are relevant to processing outcomes and program integrity. Temporary resident decision-makers in Warsaw have conducted temporary duty assignments to other missions for which the Warsaw mission processes electronic applications in order to maintain the officers’ local knowledge with respect to applications outside Warsaw’s area of responsibility.

Action Plan:

  • The Moscow mission will immediately begin to share trend reports pertinent to cases processed in Warsaw. Videoconferences between Warsaw and Moscow and quarterly temporary duty assignments in Moscow by Warsaw officers will be used to supplement and enhance knowledge transfer and information sharing.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: Warsaw mission
    • Target Date: Q2 2014-15
  • Staff members will be reminded of their obligation to provide sufficient notice should they decide to leave their employment so that their respective managers can plan succession including knowledge transfer.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: Warsaw mission
    • Target Date: Q2 2014-15
  • Arrangements are already in place to have a CBO with expertise of the Moscow permanent resident caseload provide training to Warsaw decision-makers in Q3 2014-15. This will ensure that Warsaw officers are ready to process Moscow permanent residence files.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: Warsaw mission
    • Target Date: Q3 2014-15
  • The suite of staff work performance objectives in Warsaw now includes the objective of acquiring the knowledge to adequately perform the role of any co-team member. This will ensure that the back-up system already in place at the mission is effective. To this end, the mission will immediately begin to provide staff members with the opportunity to review the standard operating procedures applicable to the work of co-team members, shadow co-team members, and participate in job exchanges and in team information sharing sessions.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: Warsaw mission
    • Target Date: Q3 2014-15
  • Process maps have been drafted for a number of business lines including temporary residence processing and some permanent residence processing. These process maps have been shared and discussed with present staff members and will be shared with all new arrivals. Process mapping of all current permanent residence business lines will be completed.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: Warsaw mission
    • Target Date: Q4 2014-15

Recommendation 3

The Warsaw mission should strengthen the documentation of approval of administrative expenditures as per the Financial Administration Act.

Management Response:

All staff members with responsibilities in this regard have reviewed administrative procedures as well as section 32 and section 34 requirements.

IR Finance has developed a training session and package for IPMs, deputy IPMs and immigration officers on foreign posting. The training package contains information on key financial concepts. The training session is offered in Ottawa twice a year, in June prior to the posting period, and on the occasion of IPM meetings in Ottawa at calendar year end.

Action Plan:

  • Travel Authority and Advance forms will henceforth be completed with required details and certification. A copy (paper/scanned) of all pre-approvals will be kept on file including overtime.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: Warsaw mission
    • Target Date: Q2 2014-15
  • IR Finance sent the financial training package to the mission on July 15, 2014.
    • Risk Ranking: Medium
    • Responsibility: IR
    • Target Date: Q2 2014-15
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