Original language of petition: English
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of all client-facing services and activities at IRCC, including all Citizenship services such as in-person knowledge tests, interviews, and oath ceremonies. This resulted in a significant increase in inventory of Citizenship applications and an increase in processing times.
In response, the Department took action to modernize its Citizenship services. Virtual processing tools were developed, including the first virtual oath ceremony on April 1, 2020. The online citizenship test launched in November 2020, followed by the electronic applications for grants in December 2020, and proof of citizenship and search of records in November 2021. An online application status tracker was implemented in May 2021, helping clients to stay updated on their files and an electronic certificates pilot has been recently launched, further digitizing the process.
IRCC has allocated funding received under the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update to help reduce the Citizenship inventory and process applications in a timely manner. A portion of this funding is being dedicated to increased staffing, with approximately 65 employees being added to address these pressures in the Citizenship Program.
With the additional funding, new digital tools, and the reduction of some processing steps, IRCC is processing more applications and moving people through the system faster. IRCC exceeded its Citizenship goals for fiscal year 2021-2022, with over 217,000 new Canadian citizens.
From the launch of IRCC’s new online testing platform on November 26, 2020, to April 30, 2022, almost 310,000 people have taken their test virtually, exceeding pre-COVID-19 testing rates. Likewise, between April 1, 2021, and April 30, 2022, more than 246,000 applicants attended video oath ceremonies, which is also exceeding pre-COVID-19 volumes.
Clients applying to become a Canadian citizen must be permanent residents and have been physically present in Canada 1,095 days within the 5 years preceding the application. Therefore, eligible Citizenship applicants have a Permanent Resident (PR) card, as well as the right to enter Canada.
IRCC has also allocated funding received under the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update to help reduce the PR card application inventory of 95K applications and aim to adhere to the agreed service standard of 60 days. A new PR portal’s Permanent Resident (PR) Card/ Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) functionality was launched on June 14, 2022, allowing clients to apply for PR card renewal and PRTD online.
The average processing time for 80% of all PR Card renewal applications processed in May and June 2022 was 60 days. This is a significant decrease from the processing time of 135 days seen in November 2021. Some non-routine cases may be referred to local offices for further review, extending the processing time.
An urgent processing policy exists for existing permanent residents who require their cards for imminent travel for reasons of work, death in the family or medical reasons. These cards are generally issued within 15 business days.
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.
|Province / Territory||Signatures|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||3|
|Prince Edward Island||1|