Rapid Evaluation of the Ukraine Response

Evaluation and Performance Measurement Division
Audit and Evaluation Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
November 2023

Executive summary

This report presents the findings of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Rapid Evaluation of the Ukraine Response. The evaluation was conducted in fulfillment of requirements under the Treasury Board’s Policy on Results and covered the period from March 2022 to March 2023.

Summary of Evaluation findings

Overall, the Ukraine Response has thus far been successful in facilitating the arrival of Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) holders to Canada. Early settlement and integration outcomes of CUAET holders are trending in a positive direction. In addition, the Ukraine Response experienced strong collaboration among partners and stakeholders.

However, there were significant impacts on IRCC, including a strain on staff and resources as well as operational challenges that required substantial modification to policies, programs and services across all levels of government. This created challenges with central accountability and slow communication in the early stages of the response. In addition, the CUAET measures were perceived by some as unfair and inequitable, particularly in comparison to other humanitarian responses and services offered to temporary residents.

Summary of lessons

Six lessons were identified from the Ukraine Response, which were seen as best practices or approaches to consider in future similar responses. These lessons were centred around priority setting within IRCC, hotel accommodations, relationships with partners and stakeholders, and sharing and analyzing information.

Lessons 1: Urgent response situations may necessitate that departmental priorities be purposefully reviewed recalibrated, ensuring dedicated resources can adequately address the situation.

Lesson 2: The department would benefit from strongly considering operational and other targets for future emergency response situations to better allow for adequate planning and resourcing.

Lesson 3: A longer duration for temporary hotel accommodations would be advantageous in providing individuals adequate time to find permanent accommodations.

Lesson 4: A formal working group with representatives from all levels of government and key stakeholders is beneficial to support urgent response situations in timely information-sharing, decision-making and issues management.

Lesson 5: It is essential that key information be communicated to partners and stakeholders as quickly as possible to ensure that they have adequate time to respond to and support urgent response situations.

Lesson 6: It is essential that IRCC quickly and consistently extract information from its administrative data to facilitate reporting and analysis purposes.

Summary of recommendations

In addition, there are four areas of recommendations for IRCC to undertake in preparation for a future crisis. These recommendations focus on crisis response management and framework, access to IRCC-funded settlement services and housing.

Recommendation 1: IRCC should identify and implement a crisis management response infrastructure to ensure adequate departmental readiness and resources to respond in emergency situations.

Recommendation 2: IRCC should develop and implement a crisis management framework.

Recommendation 3: IRCC should further explore providing federally-funded settlement services to other temporary resident populations displaced as a result of a crisis.

Recommendation 4: When emerging situations involve accommodations for newcomers, IRCC should formalize its relationship with other government departments (OGD) partners related to housing (i.e., Infrastructure Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) to ensure that expertise and benefits from a whole of government approach are being optimized.

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