Opening Remarks for The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) – Mar 8, 2021

Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates C

March 8, 2021

680 words (5 minutes)

Thank you, Madame Chair and members of the Committee.

I’d like to acknowledge that I’m joining you from the traditional unceded territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit and the Haudenosaunee (TORONTO)/Algonquin Nation (OTTAWA).

Accompanying me today are XXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXX,

We are pleased to join the Committee today to discuss IRCC’s Main Estimates and our Supplementary Estimates (C).

For 2021-22 the Main Estimates reflect a total funding request of $3.25 billion across all votes.

This represents a net increase of more than $412 million in financial resources for IRCC compared to the 2020-21 Main Estimates.

The increases support many of the policy actions already identified in the Government’s economic fiscal update that was tabled last July.

This includes the Interim Federal Health program for refugees and asylum seekers, the 2020-22 immigration levels plan and efforts to enhance Canada's Asylum System. Funding will also support work to stabilize our Global Case Management System for future transformation.

Finally, we are requesting funds to guard against fraudulent immigration by improving oversight, enforcement and public education regarding the use of immigration and citizenship consultants.

This coincides with the expected opening of a new College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, which will be funded entirely through licensee fees.

In addition Madame Chair, I wish to note items to be included in IRCC’s the 2020-21 Supplementary Estimates (C), which the President of the Treasury Board is expected to table in Parliament.

Through these Supplementary Estimates, the Department is seeking total funding of $68.3 million, mainly for the Canada-Quebec Accord on Immigration and to stabilize our Global Case Management System.

Madame Chair, before taking questions, I would like to underline how, while this extraordinary time has profoundly affected the way the Department works, IRCC continues to adapt to change, so that immigration can continue to be a key driver of Canada’s economic recovery and growth.

In our world of paper-based applications and files, the pandemic has emphasized the need for a modernized immigration system, digital tools and a process that better addresses the needs of immigration applicants.

An immigration system that is better equipped to leverage our competitive advantage to attract top talent, and one which is more nimble to address global shifts that can affect migration.

The funds we are seeking complement my vision of an immigration system that, one day, could be completely digital.

The innovations we have introduced recently in response to the pandemic are just the beginning. They have helped us to better serve clients who need to come to Canada, as well as those who are becoming permanent residents, and those who are ready for citizenship.

And we will continue to adapt with innovative solutions as we work towards meeting our Immigration Levels Plan.

To support admissions this year, we are considering solutions across all categories of the levels plan – economic, family and protected persons - to explore exceptional and time-limited measures for candidates who are already hard at work in Canada, to stay here permanently.

In addition, the Department has implemented different initiatives to allow certain categories of applications to be processed virtually, and as a result, in the past two months, has been able to catch up on processing rates in some categories.

We have also pivoted to deliver many services remotely, including asylum claims, as well as citizenship tests and ceremonies.

And we have helped service providers to retool and address newcomer settlement needs.

Madame Chair, the funds we seek will address both IRCC priorities and several of my mandate commitments from the Prime Minister; to drive our recovery and economy through immigration, modernize our operations and continue to support safe, responsible and compassionate management of the border.

I am confident that, as we emerge from the pandemic, the transformation IRCC is achieving will ensure a strong immigration system that will aid Canada’s short-term recovery and propel our long-term growth.

The global pandemic has underlined how Canada’s immigration system must continue to adapt, innovate and change. I hope the Committee will support this momentum.

Thank you Madame Speaker. We would now welcome your questions.

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