CACN - Innovations in Lines of Business - Nov 16, 2020
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is innovating and evolving how we do business. We’ve revisited some policies and have implemented ways to adapt to the current situation and create flexibility to respond to the circumstances.
Thanks to live, video-conferenced virtual citizenship ceremonies using the ZOOM platform, over 43,000 clients became new citizens between April 1, 2020 and November 4, 2020.
The use of foil-less visa travel for temporary workers is now available for some clients who are not able to have a physical visa issued into their passport.
A public policy has been implemented to enable officers to grant permanent resident status to approved in-Canada applicants without requiring those individuals to be present for an in-person interview at an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office.
Digitization projects are helping us upload thousands of paper files to the Global Case Management System for remote processing across the network.
Virtual interviews were implemented in key areas for permanent resident applications, such as the in-Canada Spouse and Common-Law Partner stream.
Prior to the pandemic, IRCC was already undergoing transformation of its operations, leveraging technology to develop tools and new practices to make our immigration system more agile, efficient and client-focused.
COVID-19 has accelerated the need for transformation, spurring the Department to leap into new innovative areas.
Implementing innovative approaches, such as virtual admissions, has given IRCC the ability to maximize production to the extent possible, mitigate processing delays and continue to serve our clients while respecting public health guidelines:
IRCC began to process “virtual” admissions on April 20, 2020. From April 20–November 8, 2020, the Department has completed 54,630 virtual admissions.
In response to restrictions under COVID-19, the Department has begun to digitize files to help facilitate file processing and admissions achievement remotely.
IRCC has implemented E-Post connect for some business processes, which is a secure, confidential and timely messaging system used to communicate and exchange forms and documents.
To provide an example on the usage of E-post, since July, 2020, we have received over 8,200 in-Canada asylum claimant forms digitally via e-post.
In addition we’ve also developed an alternative approach to allow clients to travel to Canada using their expired Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) document along with an authorization letter from IRCC. The letter advises that the CoPR validity has been extended in our operation System (GCMS), but not reprinted.
More recently, on November 9, 2020, the Department soft-launched a secure Permanent Resident Confirmation Portal that will allow clients to send and receive protected files and finalize the in-Canada landing process digitally. For example, clients can now submit a recent photo through the portal to use as part of their PR Card application.
Recognizing that immigration will play an important role in Canada’s economic recovery, the Government of Canada will continue to develop innovative solutions across all of its lines of business to help bring newcomers to Canada.
Supporting Facts and Figures
Various digital solutions have been developed and implemented across the Department to facilitate processing. Highlights of innovations by line of business, include:
Permanent Resident: foil-less Confirmation of Permanent Residence extensions; in-Canada virtual landings; and extending validity of previous biometrics, police checks, and medicals.
Temporary Resident: 2-stage study permit assessment process; virtual interviews for temporary resident permits (TRPs) issued to vulnerable populations; and flexibility on eligibility rules for Post-Graduate Work Permits.
Citizenship: virtual citizenship ceremonies.
Medicals: IRCC introduced a public policy to exempt in-Canada Protected Persons from the requirement to undergo a second Immigration Medical Exam when applying for permanent residence.
Asylum: the use of E-post Connect to submit refugee protection claims.
Resettlement: Virtual Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) Training.
Case Management: Federal Court electronic filing; remote commissioning of affidavits; secure electronic file transfer.
Prior to COVID-19, the primary drivers for innovation were growing application volumes outpacing processing capacity, aging IT infrastructure & client demands for better service.
A new set of challenges were introduced by COVID-19 and created additional roadblocks to Temporary Resident and Permanent Resident processing/admissions and have accelerated the need for innovation.
Continued innovation will be required with an expected increase in immigration demand when the border re-opens, notably to meet ambitious permanent resident admission targets set for next three years: 401,000 in 2021; 411,000 in 2022; and, 421,000 in 2023.
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