The results of the recent federal election in Canada mean Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party will remain in power leading a minority government. Thus, the recommendations listed in the Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (May 2021) may be realized, impacting the immigration process for our clients.

The recommendations cover a variety of topics, which will impact GBPEI’s clients. Most importantly, the recommendations cover modernizing the application process; enhancing communication and accountability protocols; improvements regarding the permanent residency process, and issues relating to the pandemic.

The committee recommends that the government focus on digitizing the application process for all immigration and refugee applications. These recommendations urge the government to fully digitize the system enabling people to prepare, sign and submit all documents electronically. An option for paper documents will remain in the event of application discrepancies. The visas also be issued electronically, and applicants would also be interviewed virtually. Another proposal is to make all applications transparent and tracked in real-time in order to provide a realistic processing time for individual applications.

The recommendations regarding improving communications and accountability are wide-ranging, covering the creation of an ombudsperson to rectifying communication issues in general. Some recommendations include; improving negotiation and policy discussions between federal, provincial and territorial governments, airlines, visa offices and learning institutions. Most importantly, the recommendations target solutions to problems arising from delayed and incomplete communication between officers and applicants.

In the report the committee states the necessity for officers to contact applicants if there are mistakes or missing documents and to provide adequate time for response. Also, the report states once the application is corrected and re-submitted it should retain its place in the queue.

With regards to denied or refused applications, the committee recommends IRCC direct the officers to release all documents, applications, and other information to applicants regarding the denial or refusal of their submission packages.


Recommendations specifically relating to permanent residency relate to modernization such as issuing a letter with a scannable barcode for permanent resident visas, rather than having it in a physical passport.

Permanent Residency
Other recommendations include recognizing expired PR cards and allowing people with expired cards to return to Canada during the pandemic. Also, the committee recommends IRCC to issue authorization letters to people who have permanent resident visas and permanent residency expire during the pandemic and that the need to renew supporting documents be waived until the end of the pandemic.

Medical Exams
Extending the validity of medical exams beyond a year during the pandemic is a key recommendation that would have a positive impact on our clients. Also, there’s a recommendation for IRCC to also process biometrics, medical, criminality and security checks within a similar timeframe.

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