PACP - Digital Platform Modernization - Nov 24, 2020
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- To stay competitive in the global marketplace and support the Government of Canada’s efforts towards digital-first, user-centered services and programs, the Department is transforming its digital platform to support more effective and efficient internal operations and to deliver improved, more accessible online services.
- The Department is building a new digital platform that will better support our increasing volume of applications, respond quickly to change, and improve client experience by providing the capacity to adopt the latest technologies.
- This new modern digital platform will ultimately mean clients will see faster processing times, experience reliable, user-friendly online services, and have access to timely and relevant information on their application status.
- Digital Platform Modernization aims to stabilize and standardize our current information technology system, and to build the foundation for a new digital platform for the Global Case Management System used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Canada Border Services Agency and other partner agencies for managing the status of visitors, temporary residents and immigrants locally and globally.
- Digital Platform Modernization will be delivered using a three-phased implementation approach:
- Phase 1 – Stabilize: Achieve stable legacy systems and identify and further define the Digital Platform Modernization objectives including the intended sub-projects within the initiative.
- Phase 2 – Standardize: Achieve stable legacy systems and establish a reliable environment for transformation by implementing a Technical Debt Reduction Program, finalizing IRCC enterprise secure Cloud-to-Ground connectivity, and optimizing business process.
- Phase 3 – Enhance (future scope): Deliver an enterprise-wide platform, allowing full integration of new client service and efficiency features and onboarding of all lines of business.
- IRCC consulted broadly with partners (i.e. other government departments) to develop, and obtain endorsement of, IRCC’s request for funding for Phase 3 of the Digital Platform Modernization initiative as part of Budget 2021.
Supporting facts and figures
- The Global Case Management System was implemented 20 years ago to support “9-to-5” operations for a single department in a world where information was mainly paper-based. Since then, operations have evolved and the System has needed to adapt significantly from its original purpose.
- The Department’s information technology infrastructure is aging and increasingly failing, with significant consequences for Canadians. Its legacy systems, including the Global Case Management System, have reached peak productivity and can no longer support our business lines.
- From February 2018 to June 2019, there were 83 Global Case Management System outages that lasted 527 hours in total.
- The delivery of Canada’s immigration programs currently depends on information technology systems with global reach. These mission-critical systems:
- hold more than 60 million personal records on Canadians and foreign nationals;
- connect 20,000 users from IRCC, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Global Affairs Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police;
- provide 24/7 operations at IRCC offices around the world;
- support decision-making for visitor visas, study and work permits, permanent residence applications, and citizenship issuance;
- help screen and detect security issues, health issues, fraud, and program integrity risks to Canadians; and
- include the Integrated Retrieval Information System, which is the legacy passport issuance system and is the repository for all past passport decisions.
- Demands on, and expectations of, our legacy immigration system are increasing. These trends are impacting Canada’s immigration environment with increases in application volumes (a trend expected to continue after COVID-19), which adds pressures on an already overtaxed, highly paper-based system.
- Canada’s current processes are heavily reliant on a technology backbone (i.e. the Global Case Management System) that has been in place sinc 2001 and is no longer able to meet emerging needs and expectations.
- The System is Canada’s integrated and worldwide web-based system used to process applications for immigration, citizenship and passport services. It was first introduced to process applications for citizenship services, and has since extended its immigration-related functions to include the Canada Border Services Agency and other federal government groups, such as the Department of Justice and the Immigration Refugee Board. Each partner, whose responsibility also lies in the application of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, is granted access to the System based on their specific responsibility.
- Without investments to stabilize IRCC’s information technology infrastructure and bring it up to current technology standards, the Department will be required to hire resources at a rapid rate and will experience both growing structural costs and rising processing times.
- Enabling the next-generation operating model with a suite of digital and operational levers will allow IRCC to begin improving its existing business processes rapidly with effective scaling.
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