24-10-A — Transparency and Public Accountability at IRCC

WHEREAS the Auditor General has reported that the backlog of immigration applications is in excess of two million applications, and decreasing the backlog requires transparency and public accountability;

WHEREAS essential resources at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are redirected to respond to Access to Information (ATIP) requests and Federal Court applications are prompted by the lack of communication channels or reasons for decisions, which further intensifies the backlog:

WHEREAS the backlog is increased when counsel must make multiple requests to ensure justice for their clients, such as seeking reasons for immigration decisions through ATIP requests or judicial review applications to Federal Court;

WHEREAS IRCC Program Managers were instructed to cease responding to emails from counsel in 2022, ending communication channels that prevented many of the ATIP requests and judicial review applications;

WHEREAS the domino effect of IRCC backlogs impact the ability of the Federal Court and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to respond in normal and statutory time periods;

WHEREAS it is in the interests of justice and procedural fairness that individuals be given reasons for decisions in a timely manner, and have access to effective communication with IRCC; 

WHEREAS IRCC is undergoing a Department-wide reorganization to merge Policy and Operational sectors within each business line, presenting an opportunity to re-establish proper communication channels;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Canadian Bar Association urge Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to reduce its backlog by:

  • disclosing full reasons for any application with all immigration decisions; and
  • restoring effective communication channels with immigration counsel.

Moved by Immigration Law Section

Download the Resolution