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Canada to modernize immigration system

Canada announces new measures to modernize immigration system

New measures to reduce IRCC backlogs and improve client experience

On September 1, 2022, Canada announced new online services across Canada’s immigration system. The measures aim at improving client experience and reducing Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s immigration application backlogs.

Prior to the pandemic, IRCC was already undergoing transformation of its operations to make Canada’s immigration system more agile, efficient and client-focused. COVID-19 accelerated the need for transformation, spurring the IRCC to push harder into new areas.

See Modernizing Canada’s immigration system – Canada announces commitment and measures

The following are the key new measures.

Exemption from medical examination requirement

IRCC will exempt temporary and permanent residence applicants who are already in Canada from the immigration medical examination requirement. As a result, in the coming weeks some 180,000 applicants will save time and money on the medical examination process. Moreover, they will see shorter wait times on their applications.

Expanding online applications for permanent residence

IRCC is also taking measures to modernize how it delivers services to PR applicants. Access to the online application portal for clients is now open to the majority of PR applicants. IRCC will begin transitioning to 100% digital applications for virtually all PR programs on September 23. Alternative formats will remain available for people who require non-digital accommodations.

Providing better information to clients

In February 2022, IRCC launched a new application status tracker that allowed PR applicants in the spouse, partner and dependent child programs to more easily check their application status online. IRCC aims to expand the list to include 7 more permanent and temporary residence programs.

IRCC will start regu;arly publishing estimates of how long it will take to process an application. This new measure will help applicants to make their immigration plans with more accurate information and greater confidence and predictability.

Quotes from the announcement

“Immigration is about people. It’s about starting a new job, reuniting a family and creating a new life in this beautiful country we call home. As we look to strengthen our immigration system by updating our technology, people—our clients—must be at the centre of all that we do. By adding resources where they are needed, and leveraging technology to make processing faster and applying easier for our clients, we can give newcomers and new citizens the welcoming experience they deserve.”

– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Measures against immigration racism and discrimination

Canada is also doubling down on its immigration anti-discrimination policy. IRCC is implementing more and clearer guidelines in the wake of allegations of systemic discrimination by IRCC officials.

See Immigration racism and discrimination – Canada sharpens rules to ensure fairness and transparency

Several Canadian government studies identify the unjust and harmful impacts of systemic racism and discrimination in Canada’s immigration system. And also, a report that IRCC released in late 2021 showed IRCC employees used racially offensive terms among co-workers.

See Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022 (Canadian Heritage, July 2019). Also see the Clerk’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in Federal Public Service (Privy Council Office, January 2021).

“There is no room for complacency. Combatting systemic racism will require all the resources and attention we can collectively muster.” (Acting Deputy Minister of Immigration Caroline Xavier). See also First African Canadian Deputy Minister, Caroline Xavier, speaks of Black History Month.