Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that a new task force has been created to address unprecedented delays in government services such as passports, airports, and immigration application processing.
The task force, made up of a large group of federal ministers, will seek to identify major gaps in these services and will also be reviewing service delivery and making recommendations for how these factors can improve.
The task force will be paying particular attention to the processing of immigration applications by identifying priority areas where action is needed. The goal is to create both long-term and short-term solutions that will clear the backlogs and improve the quality and speed of services.
“We know service delays, particularly in recent months, are unacceptable,” said Trudeau, “We will continue to do everything we can to improve the delivery of these services in an efficient and timely manner, and this new task force will help guide the work of the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve.”
The backlog in Canada’s immigration system stands at 2.4 million people.
Between April 29 and June 1, the number of applicants rose by 257,499. Numbers are continuing to climb largely due to more people seeking temporary residence.
As of June 1, 2022 there are 1,471,000 persons in the application backlog for temporary residence, an increase of 216,380 compared to data released on April 29. However, it should be noted that an increase in this type of visa application is not unusual due to the seasonal nature of programs such as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which often employs large numbers of workers in the agricultural and tourism sectors.
The Express Entry backlog stands at just over 31,600 applicants through programs such as the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP), The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This is a decrease of over 9000 applicants from the end of April.
Express Entry draws for FSWP and FSTP have been on hold since December 2020, with CEC put on hold in September 2021. Recently, IRCC has prioritized finalizing Express Entry applicants already in the application pool to clear the path for new candidates.
Immigration minister Sean Fraser has pledged that Express Entry draws will resume for all programs in early July with the pre-pandemic processing service standard of six months. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) endeavours to meet this standard by hiring more staff as well as making larger investments in its technology.
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