Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada
Citizenship and Immigration Canada Logo.png
Department overview
Formed 1994
Type

Department responsible for

  • Citizenship
Jurisdiction Canada
Employees 7,100
Minister responsible
Website www.canada.ca/en/services/immigration-citizenship.html

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (English) or Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada (French) is the department of the Government of Canada with responsibility for matters dealing with immigration to Canada, refugees, and Canadian citizenship. Formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the department was established in 1994 following a reorganization within the federal government and was renamed to its current name with the swearing in of the 29th Ministry in 2015.[1] [2]

Mandate[edit]

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada's mandate emanates from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act. The Minister of IRCC is the key person to uphold and administer the Citizenship Act of 197 and its subsequent amendments. The minister will work closely with the Minister of Public Safety in relation to the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.[3]

Mission[edit]

Together with its "partners", Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (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.[4]

Vision[edit]

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.[5]

History[edit]

Prior to the establishment of the Naturalization Act of 1947, persons who were born in Canada and those who were naturalized Canadians regardless of their country of origin, were all categorized as British Subjects.[6] Therefore, during these times, when "citizen" and "citizenship" were referred to people living in Canada would mean not possessing Canadian citizenship status at all. When the Citizenship Act was put in place, it concreted the sense of nationalism and the Canadian pride of identity to its citizenry.[7] Under the British North America Act of 1867, immigration responsibilities were shared by the Federal Government and Provincial/Territorial Government and Commissions.[8]

Department of Interior (Canada) 1873 to 1936.[9] For 63 years, the Department of the Interior administered the Western Canada settlement program and development which subsequently created Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, respectively.[9]

Department of Immigration and Colonization 1917 to 1936. This was the first and original Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

Department of Manpower and Immigration 1966 to 1977.[14] All immigration responsibilities was put under this federal department but this department was also under the umbrella of Department of State for Citizenship and remained until 1991.[14]

Department of State for Citizenship 1966 to 1991.[15] The department was administering the Department of Manpower and Immigration until 1991. Both entities have responsibilities to govern immigration policy making.[16]

Department of Employment and Immigration 1977 to 1991.[17] See Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship

Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship 1991 to 1994.[18] See Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship

Citizenship and Immigration Canada 1994 to 2015.[19]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada 2015 - Present.[20] 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.[21]

Following amendments to the Canadian Passport Order which dissolved Passport Canada as an independent agency, IRCC took over responsibility for issuing Canadian passports effective July 1, 2013.[22]

Citizenship and Immigration Legislations History[edit]

Immigration and citizenship legislation are laws that set standards, policies and practices in accordance with the Citizenship Act.[23] 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".[24]

Canadian Citizenship Act (January 1, 1947). This act legitimized and acknowledged Canadian citizenship.[24]

Citizenship Act (February 15, 1977). This act recognized dual citizenship and abolished "special treatment" to the British subjects.[24]

Bill C-14: An Act to amend the Citizenship Act with clauses for Adopted Children (December 23, 2007). An act which provided that adopted children will automatically acquire Canadian citizenship without going through the application for permanent resident stage.[24]

Bill C-37: An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (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.[24]

Bill C-24: Strengthening the Canadian Citizenship Act (June 19, 2014 (Royal Assent), June 11, 2015 (Came into force)). "The Act contains a range of legislative amendments to further improve the citizenship program".[24]

Bill C-6: An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (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.[25]

Presence[edit]

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.[26]

Across Canada[edit]

Vegreville, Alberta (Case Processing Centre) 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.[27]

MIssissauga, Ontario (Case Processing Centre) accepts all applications for the family sponsorship program, both inside and outside of Canada.[28]

Sydney, Nova Scotia (Case Processing Centre and Centralized Intake Office) is 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.[29]

Ottawa, Ontario (Case Processing Centre) is 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.[30]

Ottawa, Ontario (Operations Support Centre) 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.[31]

Across the world[edit]

Canadian embassies and consular offices across the world play an important role in safeguarding its citizens while abroad.[32] 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.[33]

Service Canada recently started to take over some of the domestic field operations of the department, while with its creation in 2003, the Canada Border Services Agency took over the control of enforcement and entry control at land borders and airports.

IRCC remains responsible for the establishment of policies and processing of permanent and temporary resident visa, refugee protection and citizenship applications.

Acts and Regulations[edit]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) 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.[34]

Acts[edit]

Enumerated below are the acts that are used and applied under any circumstances related to Canadian immigration, refugees, and citizenship. Here is the list of the acts governing IRCC:

Canadian Multiculturalism Act is an act protecting the heritage of each citizen to practice freedom of religion, opinion, conscience, and use of official languages to name a few.[35]

Canadian Passport Order is a provision relating to the ability of a Canadian citizen to apply for travel documents such as the Canadian passport, this act is provided by the Citizenship Act.[36]

Citizenship Act is a law which defines and identifies persons living in Canada as Canadian citizens in legal circumstances such as natural born citizen or naturalized citizen.[37]

Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act is the act which created this federal government department to oversee the immigration and citizenship operations.[38]

Financial Administration Act is 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.[39]

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is the provision 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.[40]

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.[41]

User Fees Act is an "Act respecting user fees".[42]

Regulations[edit]

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 which govern Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or Citizenship and Immigration Canada are backed up with these sets of regulations, these regulations are the following:

Adjudication Division Rules are sets of rules to be followed in any circumstances by the Adjudication Division of Immigration and Refugee Board as created by the Immigration and Refugee Board 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.[43] Citizenship Regulations are rules relative to the Citizenship Act.[44]

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".[45]

Federal Courts Immigration and Refugee Protection Rules is enabled by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 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.[46]

Foreign Ownership of Land Regulations is 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.[47]

Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations are the sets of provisions in accordance to the Financial Administration Act and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to govern all aspects of immigration and refugee procedures.[48]

Immigration Appeal Division Rules is respected when appeals are made during stages of immigration application where the application is refused or denied, hence, the appeal to be reconsidered.[49]

Immigration Division Rules such as "Rules Applicable to Admissibility Hearings, Rules Applicable to Detention Review, and Rules Applicable to Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews" 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.[50]

Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules (Immigration and Refugee Board) is a printed format of the oath proclaiming to respect the duties and obey rules enumerated in the oath.[51]

Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules (Immigration and Refugee Board) This is the repealed version.[52]

Order Designating the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration as the Minister responsible for the administration of that Act is an order to the Minister of IRCC to administer the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.[53]

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 is the order to both Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness stating their respective responsibilities as set by the act.[54]

Protection of Passenger Information Regulations are sets of rules applicable to Canada Border Services Agency in support of the protection of national security and public safety.[55][56]

Refugee Appeal Division Rules is a regulation enabled by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that enforces the applicable rules under circumstances of refugees seeking case appeals.[57]

Refugee Protection Division Rules are the guiding sets of rules and administered by this division.[58]

Refugee Protection Division Rules. This is a repealed version.[59]

Regulations Designating a Body for the Purposes of Paragraph 91(2)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is 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.[60]

Related legislation[edit]

Funding[edit]

The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, through the Departmental Results Report for 2016-2017 reported that the actual spending amount by IRCC was $1,600,050,249. The budget was spent through various immigration programs.[61] Once there are available funding opportunities for settlement organizations across Canada, updated application forms will be available at the funding section of IRCC website. The initiative is called "Settlement Program and Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP)". This program supports partners in providing services that enable smooth transitions for the newcomers' settlement plans. 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 "information and orientation; language training and skills development; labour market access; and welcoming communities."[62]

The IRCC is also funding the Refugee Resettlement Assistance Program 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.[63] The Government of Canada welcomed 25,000 Syrian Refugees by the end of February 2016 and also partake 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: the Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs), who were financially supported by private citizens or organizations, the Government Assisted Refugees (GARs), who were funded by IRCC through the Refugee Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), and the Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugees (BVORs), which is a type of refugee classified by UNCHR and subsequently paired with Canadian private sponsors. They are given up to 6 months of financial aid until they can fully stand on their own.[64]

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced its estimated spending, through its Developmental Plan for 2018-2019 to be $179,940,020, for 2019-2020 to be $198,524,181, and for 2020-2021 to be $202,337,096.[65] The sum will be used to encourage students, temporary residents, visitors and immigrants alike to consider Canada as a new home.

Staffing[edit]

As per Departmental Results Report (2016-2017), the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, stated that a total of 6311 full time employees are currently employed with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.[66] IRCC plans to continue acquiring more talent in the department's different divisions, as needed.[67] In fact, by 2018-2019, IRCC will hire 1,607 new employees, 1,631 for 2019-2020, and 1,590 for 2020-2021.[68]

Current Citizenship and Immigration Organizational Structure[edit]

The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, M.P (2015 to present)[69]

  • Deputy Minister

Marta Morgan (June 27, 2016 to present)[70]

  • Associate Deputy Minister

Richard Wex (September 2015 to present)[71]

  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy

Paul MacKinnon (2015 to present)[72][73]

  • Associate ADM, Strategic and Program Policy

Mike MacDonald[74][75]

  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations

Dawn Edlund[76]

  • Associate ADM, Operations

  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services

Zaina Sovani (December 2017 to present)[77]

  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Chief Financial Officer

    Daniel Mills[78]

Citizenship Commission[edit]

The Citizenship Commission falls under Immigration, Refugees and Immigration Canada. The major responsibility of the Commission is to administer citizenship grants to admissible new applications for Canadian citizenship. The Citizenship Commission is composed of citizenship judges all across Canada. Its mandate is to administer Oath of Citizenship[79], 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".[80]

Decisions will be made according to individual application circumstances, hence, making each citizenship judge unique and "independent decision makers".[81] However, their decisions are subject for judicial review by the citizenship applicants and by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 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.[82]

Citizenship Judges[edit]

The citizenship judges are obliged to obey the mandate as stated by the Citizenship Commission under the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Regulations. They will 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.[83]

Citizenship Judge Code of Conduct[84][edit]

List of Current Citizenship Judges[edit]

  • Renata Brum
  • Suzanne Carrière
  • Hardish Dhaliwal
  • Carol-Ann Hart
  • Rochelle Ivri
  • Joan Mahoney
  • Marie Senécal-Tremblay
  • Rania Sfeir
  • Rodney Simmons
  • Maj. Claude Villeneuve
  • Albert Wong
  • Roy Chew Yee Wong

The detailed information regarding the citizenship judges' profiles can be found here.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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