On August 13, 2018 –Ottawa, ON – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has taken new steps to reduce backlogs and processing times in order to improve applicant experiences.

The Honourable Ahmed Hussan, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, spoke about a number of substantial improvements that have been made over the last year within the IRCC to reduce backlogs and prioritize family reunification using the multi-year immigration levels plan.

Some major improvements over the last year include:

  • May 2014 – April 2018, the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) reduced in inventory from 62,000 to 12,000.
  • 2017 – 2018, LCP reduced those numbers by 80% and started processing new LCP permanent residence applications within 12 months.
  • IRCC began new methods of estimating permanent residence application times.
  • Reduced spousal sponsorship inventory from 75,000 to 15,000 as of December 2017.
  • Extended the Open Work Permit Pilot for spousal sponsorship applicants.
  • Made changes to the Citizenship Act to bring forth more flexibility for Citizenship applicants.
  • Helped with highly skilled workers.
  • Launched the Student Direct Stream to help students within China, India, Philippines and Vietnam regarding their study permits.
  • Changed the definition of dependents from “under 19” to “under 22”, to allow families to remain together.

The IRCC is looking to further their improvements by upgrading their systems to enable applicants to have more online self service options through expanding their online applications and adding new functions to applicants online accounts.

While the aforementioned appears to be heading in the right direction it is important to keep in mind that IRCC has no mandate or obligation to live by the proposed timelines. It is commendable that backlogs in many areas have been reduced  let us hope that these reductions will in fact transfer to reduced timeframes in the processing of applications.