|Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada|
|Annual budget||$3.6 Billion CAD (2022)|
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC; French: Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada)[NB 1] is the department of the Government of Canada with responsibility for matters dealing with immigration to Canada, refugees, and Canadian citizenship. The department was established in 1994 following a reorganization.
The Departmental Results Report (2018–2019), stated that a total of 7,414 full-time equivalent employees are currently employed with IRCC. The same report states that IRCC plans to have 7,378 full-time equivalent employees in 2019–2020 and 7304 in 2020–2021.
|Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship||Sean Fraser|
|Deputy Minister||Catrina Tapley (August 2019 to present)|
|Associate Deputy Minister||Caroline Xavier (February 2020 to present)|
|Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), Strategic and Program Policy||Marian Campbell-Jarvis (2020 to present)|
|Associate ADM, Strategic and Program Policy||Natasha Kim|
|Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations||Daniel Mills|
|Associate ADM, Operations||Vacant|
|Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation||Zaina Sovani (December 2017 to present)|
|Assistant Deputy Minister, Chief Financial Officer||Vacant|
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's mandate is specified in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act. The Minister of IRCC administers the Citizenship Act of 1977 and its subsequent amendments. The Minister of IRCC works closely with the Minister of Public Safety in relation to the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
IRCC, together with its partners, has the responsibility of conducting "the screening of potential permanent and temporary residents to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians." The issuance and control of Canadian passports and other travel documents that facilitate the travel of Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons is also under the responsibility of IRCC.
In collaboration with its partners," IRCC will continue to work to build a "stronger Canada" in promoting programs and services geared towards helping newcomers to successfully integrate and fully live the Canadian way of life, maximizing their abilities to help build better communities. Instill in them the values, duties and responsibilities as new Canadians without prejudice regardless of their race and religious beliefs. It also aims to advance in terms of its immigration and humanitarian activities and policies.
The objective of IRCC is to be instrumental in helping build a stronger Canada through immigration which aims to continue its humanitarian efforts that is known all over the world. The vision is to solidify the goal of creating a stable economic agenda as well as its social and cultural landscape.
Further Information: History of immigration to Canada
Prior to the establishment of the Naturalization Act of 1947, persons who were born in Canada, as well as those who were naturalized Canadians regardless of their country of origin, were all categorized as British subjects. Therefore, during these times, "citizen" and "citizenship" referred to people living in Canada rather than those in possession of Canadian citizenship status.
When the Citizenship Act was put in place, it formalized the sense of nationalism and Canadian identity to its citizenry. Under the British North America Act of 1867, immigration responsibilities were shared by the federal government and provincial/territorial governments and commissions.
|Department title||Years active||Description|
|Department of the Interior||1873 to 1936||Administered the Western Canada settlement program and development which subsequently created Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, respectively.|
|Department of Immigration and Colonization||1917 to 1936||This was the first and original Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.|
|Department of Mines and Resources||1936 to 1950||By 1950, immigration administration was shifted to this federal department from the Department of Citizenship and Colonization.|
|Department of Citizenship and Immigration||1950 to 1966||During and after the Second World War, some federal agencies were sharing the same duties and responsibilities for immigration policy enforcement and administration. These were the Ministry of Mines and Resources from 1936 to 1949, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration from 1950 to 1966 and 1977 up to present, the Department of Manpower and Immigration from 1966 to 1977, and the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission which was created in 1977.|
|Department of Manpower and Immigration||1966 to 1977||All immigration responsibilities were put under this federal department, which was also under the umbrella of Department of State for Citizenship and remained so until 1991.|
|Department of State for Citizenship||1966 to 1991||The department was administering the Department of Manpower and Immigration until 1991. Both entities have responsibilities to govern immigration policy making.|
|Department of Employment and Immigration||1977 to 1991|
|Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship||1991 to 1994|
|Citizenship and Immigration Canada||1994 to 2015|
|Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada||2015 to present||The purpose of adding the term "refugees" to the new name of the federal agency is to reflect the current program of Government of Canada in its effort of responding to the current refugee immigration issues across the globe.|
Immigration and citizenship legislation are laws that set standards, policies and practices in accordance with the Citizenship Act. The following is the chronology of Canadian immigration and citizenship laws.
|Naturalization Act||May 22, 1868 – December 22, 31, 1946||All Canadians born inside and outside Canada, were subject to the crown or "British Subjects."|
|Canadian Citizenship Act||January 1, 1947||This Act legitimized and acknowledged Canadian citizenship|
|Citizenship Act||February 15, 1977||This Act recognized dual citizenship and abolished "special treatment" to the British subjects|
|An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Bill C-14)||December 23, 2007||An Act which provided that adopted children will automatically acquire Canadian citizenship without going through the application for permanent resident stage|
|An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Bill C-37)||April 17, 2009||An Act intended to limit the citizenship privilege to first-generation only and gave the opportunity to Canadian citizens to re-acquire their citizenship, hence, repealing provisions from former legislation|
|Strengthening the Canadian Citizenship Act (Bill C-24).||Royal Assent: June 19, 2014;
Came into force: June 11, 2015
|"The Act contains a range of legislative amendments to further improve the citizenship program."|
|An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Bill C-6)||June 19, 2017 (Royal Assent);
October 11, 2017 (Came into force)
|This Act will give "stateless" person an opportunity to be granted with Canadian citizenship which "statelessness" is considered as a legal ground for granting such privilege. This is only one of the many changes included in this new amendment of the Citizenship Act.|
IRCC operates a large network of "Citizenship and Immigration Centres" throughout Canada such as Case Processing Centres (CPCs), Centralized Intake Offices (CIOs), and Operations Support Centres (OPCs), as well as an important number of embassies, high commissions, and consulates abroad.
|Case Processing Centre||Edmonton, Alberta||Focuses on the processing of temporary resident visas, from extension of the date of expiration, student visas to applications for permanent residency of protected persons, refugees, live-in caregivers, and workers under the "Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs" program and also, processes fees for the right of the permanent residence.|
|Mississauga, Ontario||Accepts all applications for the family sponsorship program, both inside and outside of Canada.|
|Ottawa, Ontario||Responsible for processing visitor visas inside Canada only and restricted to temporary foreign workers and student visas only which meet valid status requirements. CPC-O processes applications for permanent residents within Canada and from the United States of America that satisfactorily meet requirements according to the standard procedures set by the case processing centre in Mississauga and the intake office in Sydney.|
|Case Processing Centre and Centralized Intake Office||Sydney, Nova Scotia||Responsible for releasing permanent resident cards for first-time holders, as well as renewals. Its intake office handles all applications for all types of work visas and applications for provincial nominee programs across Canada. The Nova Scotia office is also responsible for processing all types of citizenship applications.|
|Operations Support Centre||Ottawa, Ontario||Works specifically on applications for work permits for International Experience, "Verification of Status or VOS", online applications of temporary residents, replacement of temporary resident documents and amendments of immigration documents|
Canadian embassies and consular offices across the world play an important role in safeguarding its citizens while abroad. There are identified countries in different regions around the globe that are strategically located and serve as case processing centres for students, temporary residents, visitors, refugees and landed immigrants visa applications.
Service Canada is responsible for some of the domestic field operations of the department, while the Canada Border Services Agency controls enforcement and entry control at ports of entry.
IRCC remains responsible for the establishment of policies and processing of permanent and temporary resident visa, refugee protection and citizenship applications.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada was created and is guided by the principles provided in specific Canadian laws. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom is its guiding light in enforcing immigration policies and laws, and preserving human rights. The below list of acts and regulations highlights the guiding principles for IRCC's operations and dealings with other organizations, both in Canada and abroad.
Enumerated below are the Acts that are used and applied under any circumstances related to Canadian immigration, refugees, and citizenship.
|Canadian Multiculturalism Act||Protects the heritage of each citizen to practice freedom of religion, opinion, conscience, and use of official languages to name a few.|
|Citizenship Act||Defines and identifies persons living in Canada as Canadian citizens in legal circumstances such as natural born citizen or naturalized citizen.|
|Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act||The act that created this federal government department to oversee the immigration and citizenship operations.|
|Financial Administration Act||A provision created to guide financial management in the Government of Canada applicable to all its federal agencies, which the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is one of the agencies.|
|Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)||Created for Canadian immigration policies and provisions for protecting people seeking refuge in Canada who are being persecuted, country-less and lives are in imminent danger.|
|Revolving Funds Act||Under the Consolidated Revenue Fund, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration can utilize this for passport and related travel documents services within Canada and abroad.|
|User Fees Act||An "Act respecting user fees."|
|College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act||The act created the College, the only regulatory body authorized to govern the profession of immigration and citizenship consultants. In force since December 2020.|
Canadian regulations are enacted by the Parliament of Canada and are carried out as provided by the law. Regulations are generally sets of rules but have the weight of the rule of law, they can be more detailed such as "include definitions, licensing requirements, performance specifications, exemptions, forms, etc." The acts that govern IRCC are backed up with these sets of regulations.
|Adjudication Division Rules||Sets of rules to be followed in any circumstances by the Adjudication Division of Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) as created by the IRB Chairperson working together with the Director-General of the Adjudication Division, the Deputy Chairperson of the Convention Refugee Determination Division, and the Deputy Chairperson of the Immigration Appeal Division.
Citizenship Regulations are rules relative to the Citizenship Act.
|Canadian Passport Order||A provision relating to the ability of a Canadian citizen to apply for travel documents such as the Canadian passport.
This Order is provided by the Citizenship Act.
|Convention Refugee Determination Division Rules||Governs "the activities of, and the practice and procedure in, the Convention Refugee Determination Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board."|
|Federal Courts Immigration and Refugee Protection Rules||Enabled by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which comprises the practices and procedures in the application for leave, and application for judicial review and appeals through the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada.|
|Foreign Ownership of Land Regulations||Governed under the Citizenship Act and the Agricultural and Recreational Land Ownership Act of Alberta and generally pertains to that of the right of ownership by a foreign national to land properties.|
|Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations||The sets of provisions in accordance to the Financial Administration Act and IRPA to govern all aspects of immigration and refugee procedures.|
|Immigration Appeal Division Rules||Respected when appeals are made during stages of immigration application where the application is refused or denied, hence, the appeal to be reconsidered.|
|Immigration Division Rules||These rules—such as those applicable to admissibility hearings, detention review, or both—are observed when an applicant for immigration falls into any of these categories or legal impediments, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship may request the division to hold a hearing and relevant proceedings.|
|Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules (Immigration and Refugee Board)||A printed format of the oath proclaiming to respect the duties and obey rules enumerated in the oath.|
|Order Designating the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration as the Minister responsible for the administration of that Act||An order to the Minister of IRCC to administer the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.|
|Order Setting Out the Respective Responsibilities of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Under the Act||The order to both Minister of IRCC and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness stating their respective responsibilities as set by the Act.|
|Protection of Passenger Information Regulations||Sets of rules applicable to Canada Border Services Agency in support of the protection of national security and public safety.|
|Refugee Appeal Division Rules||A regulation enabled by IRPA that enforces the applicable rules under circumstances of refugees seeking case appeals.|
|Refugee Protection Division Rules||The guiding sets of rules and administered by this division.|
|Regulations Designating a Body for the Purposes of Paragraph 91(2)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act||A regulation duly assigning the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and its members to serve as a representative to any person applying for immigration proceedings. The member has to be qualified according to the standards set by its governing body.|
The Departmental Results Report for 2018–2019 reported that the actual spending amount by IRCC was CA$2,403,858,757. The budget was spent through various immigration programs.
As part of an initiative called the "Settlement Program and Resettlement Assistance Program," updated application forms are provided online by IRCC for available funding opportunities for settlement organizations across Canada. This program supports partners in providing services that enable smooth transitions for the settlement of newcomers. The services can vary from language skills development in both official languages (English and French), employment opportunities banking on the newcomers educational backgrounds and skills. The four areas of focus for the program are:
IRCC also funds the Refugee Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) by financing individual or family asylum seekers in finding temporary accommodations upon arrival in Canada, and eventually, locating a permanent place to live, supporting the ability to purchase daily basic needs and providing assistance with the development of general life skills.
The Government of Canada welcomed 25,000 Syrian Refugees by the end of February 2016 and also partook in funding this commitment in opening doors to this specific group of refugees. The refugees came into the country in three different refugee immigration schemes and are given up to 6 months of financial aid until they can fully stand on their own:
Quebec is the only province in Canada that is not a part of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), instead having its own system—the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)—for the induction of immigrants into the province. The QSWP is the application process to be followed by foreign skilled workers interested in taking up Canadian permanent residency and living in Quebec.
In order for an overseas-born person to be able to immigrate to Canada through the QSWP, a 2-stage application process will have to be followed. The process begins with securing the Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, CSQ) from the province's Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration.
After assessing the applicant on their own criteria, the province of Quebec will issue a CSQ as proof that the applicant has indeed been accepted by Quebec as a potential immigrant to the province. After the CSQ has been issued, the applicant will then have to apply to IRCC directly for the processing of their permanent residency in Canada. Applicants going through this program are expected to have at least 4 years of total processing time before permanent residency is approved. The estimated processing time is calculated while taking into consideration the time required for potentially submitting biometrics, if needed.
While generally considered to be a much longer process as compared to the federal Express Entry System of Canada, which takes only 6 months for 80% of the applications, there are nevertheless certain advantages that the QSWP has over the Express Entry.[example needed]
|Program||Processing time||Application method||Total time|
|Express Entry (Canadian Experience Class or Regular Stream)||80% of applications are processed within 6 months.||Online||6 months|
|Quebec Skilled Worker (Regular Stream)||Stage 1: Obtaining a Quebec Selection Certificate||36 months||Paper application||4.5 years|
|Stage 2: Federal paper-based application||19 months||Paper application|
IRCC has been claimed to lack properly-managed client support channels to assist applicants with their enquiries regarding their applications. Telephone calls to IRCC for permanent residency have an average wait time of 40 minutes. Customer support agents have been said to be untrained and lacking domain knowledge to answer an applicant's questions. There have been instances where web-based Case Specific Enquiries have been claimed to have lacked a proper response to applicants' questions. Examples include instances where applicants' additional documents were not routed to the proper department, thus leading to delays with, and, in some cases, rejection of, applications. As in the case of Vegreville Case Processing Centre, the Case Processing Centre responsible for examining applications was found to have lacked overall quality. As per Global News:
According to a review of 996 files handled at the Vegreville Case Processing Centre in Alberta, which deals with permanent residence applications, between November 1 and December 6, 2014, the quality management team found that of the 617 request letters sent to applicants
- 13% did not address all missing items;
- 23% had either no timeline, an incomplete timeline, or did not mention the consequences of failing to reply to the request; and
- 6% were either “not professional” or chose the incorrect template form.
- Of 426 files that received a second review, decisions were still pending on 149 owing to errors made at an earlier stage.
Due to delays, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program is not popular among highly-skilled immigrants who have other pathways of faster immigration to the rest of Canada. Moreover, skilled workers who are currently working or residing in Quebec are not eligible to apply through Express Entry according to the Canada–Québec Accord. These processing delays have led to many skilled workers and international students moving out of Quebec for faster immigration processing and the province of Quebec experiencing scarcity of skilled foreign workers.
Under Immigration, Refugees and Immigration Canada, the Citizenship Commission is responsible for the administration of citizenship grants to new applications who are admissible for Canadian citizenship. Composed of citizenship judges across Canada, the Commission's mandate is to administer Oath of Citizenship; process and approve citizenship applications that meet residency requirements; educate new citizens with their civil responsibilities as new Canadians; and "to promote citizenship in communities."
Decisions will be made according to individual application circumstances, hence, making each citizenship judge unique and "independent decision makers." However, their decisions are subject for judicial review by the citizenship applicants and by the Minister of IRCC. Citizenship judges must follow the principles provided by administrative law and natural justice as well as the Citizenship Act, Citizenship Regulations and other relevant precedents applicable to each individual case.
Citizenship judges are obliged to obey the mandate as stated by the Citizenship Commission under the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Regulations. They provide citizenship application assessment ensuring that the applicants meet the necessary requirements, such as residency, they will administer the Oath of Citizenship during ceremonies and review the rights, privileges and duties of a Canadian citizen, conduct hearings, and supply written decisions following timeline set by the regulation. They are also asked to maintain the integrity of the citizenship application process.
The following are those currently serving, as of November 1, 2018, as citizenship judges:
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