Petition Closed

Audit Citizenship & Immigration Canada for Service Delivery in Inland Spousal Sponsorship

This petition had 2,400 supporters


We, the undersigned, include:

  • the citizens of Canada
  • the permanent residents of Canada
  • the foreigners applying for immigration to Canada under in-Canada spousal sponsorship

draw the attention of the Auditor General of Canada and the House to the following issues at Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) :

UNEXPLAINED DELAY

On Feb 13, 2014, CIC announced on their website that: "To improve service and processing efficiency, responsibility for processing SCLPC applications was transferred from CPC-V to CPC-M to leverage its expertise in family class processing. These changes will ensure that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) continues to meet its operational objectives in support of the Department’s ongoing modernization agenda." However, the transfer of files to CPC-Mississauga has caused a huge delay for Inland Spousal Sponsorship files, leaving more than 10,000 Canadian families in limbo. The processing time for in-Canada spousal cases was 4 to 6 months not too long ago. It now takes a minimum of 16 months from the time Citizenship and Immigration Canada receives the application for the spouse to get stage one approval, the stage at which the sponsored spouses can work, get health care and can fully integrate into Canadian society as productive members. Stakeholders as well as the media, over the past year, have made countless inquiries to the Immigration department and Minister’s Office but are yet to receive a full and meaningful explanation as to why the system has chosen to “forget” about these files. Most of the correspondences from CIC on this very unique issue have been very vague, avoiding, and repeatedly stating that the processing efficiency will continue to be improved, and the sponsored spouses are encouraged to apply from outside Canada. We believe that there are untold problems to this issue, causing a shameful operational failure of this federal department.

 

INCOMPETENT PROCESSING

In August 2014, CIC updated the application forms to keep them in line with a new law that changed the dependent children’s age and sponsorship undertakings. Many people mailed in their Inland spousal sponsorship applications using the form version prior to the formal announcement of the form change. They end up getting their entire application packages returned a couple months later, stating that an updated form was needed. It is quite an unfair procedure to require applicants to submit forms that did not exist at the time they lodged in their applications. As a result, many applicants were left without valid status while waiting for the outcome of their applications. We would like to present an example of CIC’s incompetency with a voice’s recording of a phone call to CIC’s Call Centre, in which the CIC agent advised this client that his application was returned in July 2014 but the client insisted that he received an Acknowledgement of Receipt in August, 2014, meaning the application was checked for completeness and put in queue for processing. Nobody knows where his file is at the moment but CIC is pointing their stick to this applicant for accountability.  

Recording with CIC Call Centre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWQAvXvPa5o&feature=youtu.be

 

CALL CENTRE AGENTS NOT DOING THE JOB ADEQUATELY

In December 2014, under massive pressures from the concerned stakeholders and media, Minister Chris Alexander and CIC decided to run a one-year pilot program, effective December 22, 2014, which grants 2-year Open Work Permit to in-Canada sponsored spouses as soon as the Acknowledgement of Receipt is issued, instead of waiting for first stage approvals (currently taking at least 16 months to reach). Mr. Chris Day, CIC’s Chief of Staff, through unofficial communication via emails, confirmed to stakeholders that the pilot project will prioritize people who are already in existing inventory, and the issuance of Open Work Permit will be blitzed in the new year. The CIC Call Centre agents, on the other hand, constantly mislead the public with wrong information, for examples, advising people that if they applied for sponsorship prior to December 22, 2014, they will not benefit from the pilot program, or if they have become out of status in Canada for having applications returned, as stated above, or at their own will, they will not be parts of the pilot program. The issue was addressed to Minister’s Office and Mr. Chris Day helped raise the concern to responsible managers at CIC’s Call Centre. There is a complete disconnect between the Call Centre and an actual processing. Existing applicant when calling the CIC helpline assumes help will be given for the issues with their application. However the Call Centre does not serve as an issue resolution or defect reporting centre. There are a number of experiences about call centre agents providing misleading information.

 

NO SERVICE DELIVERY STANDARD

The underlying issue with the whole CIC system is that there is no consistency, no accountability, no transparency, and from what we've seen, no intention to address these issues. CIC should publish its performance standards just like other federal organizations do, and are held accountable when they fail to meet them. Performance is not just about how many applications they process or don't process in a given year, it is as much about content as it is about form. Back in Fall 2010, the Office of Auditor General (OAG) once audited CIC about their service delivery (see here: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_201010_03_e_34286.html). In that report, the OAG proposed that CIC should establish service standards for all its main programs, and CIC replied that it will do so by April 2011. CIC, up until this point in December 2014, has CLEARLY not respected its engagement. When their employees’ strike happened in 2013, CIC had an explanation for the delay in processing times, they do not have any understandable excuses for the current delay and for the refusal to be transparent about Inland spousal sponsorship applications.   

 

CONCLUSION

We would like to stress that the issues of CIC incompetency in Inland spousal sponsorship lies between the federal government and Canadian citizens and permanent residents, as the foreign sponsored spouses are half of the Canadian families; they are not foreign workers trying to take jobs from Canadians, they are not alien citizens seeking for social benefit in Canada without long term commitment and contribution to Canadian economy. Therefore, this is a Canadian matter that need to be addressed quickly and adequately by the federal government.

We demand that an audit be conducted immediately for the CIC operational network responsible for processing family reunification streams, particularly the in-Canada spousal sponsorship, including CPC-Mississauga, CPC-Vegreville, Minister’s Office, and CIC Call Centre.

 

REFERENCE RESOUCES:

1. CIC processing time for Family Reunification

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp

2. Red tape leaves expectant B.C. mom with no medicare, $20K in bills

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/red-tape-leaves-expectant-b-c-mom-with-no-medicare-20k-in-bills-1.2638068

3. Foreign spouses trapped in Canada due to sponsorship backlog

https://www.change.org/p/citizenship-and-immigration-canada-improve-processing-time-for-inland-spousal-sponsorship-and-grant-open-work-permit-upon-aor/u/7417265

4. Punishing Spousal Sponsors - By Lawyer David Cohen

https://www.change.org/p/citizenship-and-immigration-canada-improve-processing-time-for-inland-spousal-sponsorship-and-grant-open-work-permit-upon-aor/u/8202175

5. Spousal Sponsorship Applications: Why The Wait? (By CIC's former manager)

http://paceimmigration.blogspot.ca/2014/10/spousal-sponsorship-applications-why.html

6. Canadian processing time for Inland Spousal Sponsorship in comparison with other countries

http://inlandsponsor.weebly.com/

7. CBC Go Public: Permanent residency spouse sponsorship delays leave new dad unable to support family

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/permanent-residency-spouse-sponsorship-delays-leave-new-dad-unable-to-support-family-1.2872148

8. CBC Saskatchewan: Federal government says Sask. couple qualifies for pilot project that permits husband to work.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/american-husband-qualifies-for-work-permit-after-year-long-residency-wait-1.2883823

9. CBC National: Canada launches pilot program for spouses waiting for permanent residency

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-launches-pilot-program-for-spouses-waiting-for-permanent-residency-1.2881460?cmp=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

10: Book: ‘Thou Shalt Not Marry A Foreigner’ describes the experiences of Canadians who are going through the spousal sponsorship programme. Their dealings with bureaucrats and the effects that immigration policy has on their lives are exposed through blunt comments, shocking revelations, and the author's critical and ironic voice. Not suitable for those who fail to appreciate sarcasm.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/503744

 

***MEDIA INQUIRIES***

Media inquiries for this petition or for the victims of this system, can be sent to inlandsponsorship@gmail.com or by visiting our official Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/615312178589951/

We have a long list of people in terrible situations that are willing to go public and we also have a well-maintained records proving points mentioned in the Petition.



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