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Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

March 27th, 2013

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is patting itself on the back these days for having reduced the backlog of permanent resident applications by forty percent since its high water mark in 2008.

When it comes to the processing of citizenship applications, however, the same government department is far less effusive with self-praise. And with good reason. Not that long ago, a routine citizenship application would move through the system in about one year. Today, the average processing time on a run-of-the-mill application is 23 months – even longer in some parts of the country. Keep in mind, the option to apply only arrives after three years of permanent residency status.

Worse still is the plight of anyone whose case is not routine. About twenty percent of applicants fall into this category and they are required to complete a ‘residence questionnaire’ to demonstrate that they have actually been residing in Canada. Supporting documents such as pay stubs, tax returns and airline tickets must be submitted as evidence of time spent in Canada. Fair enough, I suppose, if there is a suspicion of misrepresentation. After all, people have been known to scam the system and pretend to have resided in Canada when in fact they have not.

The problem is not in vetting citizenship applications, but rather in the time it is taking to complete the verification. The processing time for these more complicated applications is approximately five years from the date of initial submission, which makes it about nine years from the time the individual first landed in Canada.

No surprise that these would-be Canadians are angry and frustrated. Who wouldn’t be if they had worked, paid taxes and did all the things that Canadian citizens are expected to do but yet are not afforded the full rights and benefits of Canadian citizenship? If the government is truly committed to creating a ‘faster, more flexible’ immigration system, this undertaking should not cease once newcomers settle in Canada.



 
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42 Responses to “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    I think it is a story of after getting PR and landing in Canada ,,,But to get PR many people have to wait more than two years which is totally no systematic and must be more faster as they did from 5 years to 2 years It must be clear within a year included state government and Centre level’s time as well.

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonimous said ...

    Agreed CIC must improve

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    The new system is very frustrating. I sent a complete application for wife, myself and two kids on January 2013. It was all returned after 5 weeks with notes for my wife application says: (The copy of your language evidence is missing or is illegible. See Section “Step 1 Gather Documents” and “Step 2 Complete the Application” in the instruction guide. For me the note says: (The photocopies of school records for yourself (if applicable) and for your dependent children are missing or are illegible. See section “Step 1 Gather Documents” in the instruction guide.
    My wife provided her IELTS at the time of obtaining FSW Visa, why Canadian Citizenship needs it again? and my application was returned because I did not provide extra copies for my kids’ school records. After all, I sent the applications with the required documents the following day and it was delivered on first week of March. I called later on to see if they received it, there answer was: yes they did, but they will not be able to open the received envelop until May 2013 due to the BACKLOG!
    I completed the entire 3 years of residency by November 2012 and gave extra months so that will show more sufficient days. Six months are wasted in the process of registering the applications and issuing the file number. CIC posted the processing time on November 2012 (19 months), by January 2013 it was ( 21 months), right now it says (23 months), by the time they register our applications on May 2013, they might increase it to 27 months or even return the application for other missing documents!
    Can I appoint your Law Office to represent us, and leave the country for work outside Canada?
    Because with the new system, I might wait for at least 3 years to become a Canadian Citizen!

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    it is just wastage of time and money

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    I am unable to get this as I launched my application in 2008 through a representative and still waiting. News says that backlog of 2008 has been resumed though. My children are adults now!

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Unemployment Rate in Canada at 7 percent in February of 2013, that’s about 2,000,000 waiting for a job. Why CIC can not hire more staff to help reducing the Backlog? Problems of the qualified immigrants for Canadian Citizenship are not concerning the current government! Shame on you CIC.

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    As a Syrian citizen and permanent residence in Canada, my passport expired and I was unable to renew it due to the Syrian Embassy closure in Ottawa last year. While waiting to have my Canadian Citizenship processed, I feel I am stuck in Canada and been held as hostage here! My mother did not see my kids for more than four years ago; neither could she satisfy the Canadian Visa Requirements. I am totally disappointed that this happened to me in a country where “Human Rights” are part of their values.

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Residence Questionnaire is just another tool to delay the process. Base on what criteria or legislation does the CIC send “Residence Questionnaire” to 20% of applicants. We are innocent until proven guilty! The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has complete records for each immigrants left the country. It should not be our responsibility to proof that we stayed 3 years neither provide pay slips and other documents that can be easily provided by all government sectors and institutions. CIC doesn’t know what they are doing, we are victims of the new system!

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    This is as result of cutting the federal government’s budget. … We could improve security and reduce costs, but this would delay and effect quality of services provided to public.

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    How could this be a fair system? The citizenship application of my friend took about a year in 2011, he was did not even provide this “residence questionnaire”. Why me?

  • On March 28th, 2013, PR Bedro said ...

    I believe that it is totally unfair for the CIC to treat to-be-Canadians in such way. Once these ppl completed their obligation; they deserve getting their rights without delay, and without the torture of being asked to prove they had stayed in the country! Why port control authorities do not keep records for those who leave? Why such ppl are treated as if they do not exist unless they prove otherwise, which is a very hectic and lengthy process? I believe once a PR landed in Cda, the onus of proving his actual stay should be on the authorities not the person himself. No one should be able to leave the country without the “knowledge” of the authorities, a practice that so many countries do well. So, the proof for length of stay becomes simple. No one could then fool the system and claim a right for citizenship without actual stay. Granting citizenship should be completed then in days, say maximum couple of weeks to those who served their terms. I don’t see why such a simple process would take 21 months on average?! Unless it is meant by CIC to be so lengthy and so frustrating to those Canadians in-the-making! What’s a way to say “Welcome” to a fellow citizen!!

  • On March 28th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    There are rumors that current backlog for Citizenship Applications has exceeded 800,000 applications! How do CIC plan to solve it?

  • On March 28th, 2013, George said ...

    While other countries implemented paperless (electronic) systems, Canada still wasting trees and asks for documents that exist in their records. Can you believe that Canada still correspond by Canada Post Mail? They send the Citizenship Test Letter two weeks before due date, in many cases applicants are missing this date which adds more delay to the processing time.

  • On March 28th, 2013, Dr juan said ...

    Application for parent family reunification permanent residency was mailed in June 2011. Acknowledgment was supposed to take place in 90 days. For more than 18 months, acknowledgments have been stuck on April 29, 2011. At this rate, we will die before they even acknowledge receipt.

  • On March 30th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    My application was submitted year 2006 until now no communication from embassy? what happen?

  • On April 1st, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Misuse of power by present cons govt. No more values for human rights in canada now. No justice, no system. No guarantee of fair treatment. Canadians dodging people by using their money without interest for years and then returning their applications back, simply by saying that “we have changed our mind”……..

  • On April 1st, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    hi friends i applied for pr in 2004. since then i am waiting since than for the pr, in 2010 we got a letter from embassy that if u like to withdraw your application for pr we would refund the amount we paid. or else provide with other information we provided it, now we came to know that they r not going to give pr, inorder to get pr i did not excepted any permanent job now i am in problem the way canadian govt has taken decision is not making them responsible govt.

  • On April 1st, 2013, john said ...

    most hopeless govt i have ever seen, most condemnable step of canadian govt. have lotted their goodwill no one would like to go to such nation where such a govt, is in power. god will give us justice.

  • On April 1st, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Why does sponsorship application from Pakistan takes upto 28 months compare to other regional countries which are less than a year?

  • On April 2nd, 2013, Oranye emeka said ...

    It is rather unfortunate and frustrating that since 2008 when i applied for skilled migrant scheme nothing has been done about rather i am been excluded from the process due to some government laws.i really dont know if to press on or discontinue because information(s) are not even forthcoming.frustrating!

  • On April 3rd, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    I’m so frustrated with my Immigrant Visa because after 7 long years waiting for the result or status then they will just announced that it will be returned to us and up to now no any letter or whatsoever just to inform ed what’s going on with my application……now that I’m already 52 and not already qualified for any immigrant visa.

  • On April 5th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    I am Canadian, born and raised. My kids are sixth generation Canadians. My wife of 14 years is Brazilian and has lived in Canada since we were married. Due to the fact she visited her family for up to 3 months each year it was not until June 2010 that she was eligible to meet the residency requirements. After the standard delays she wrote and passed the test in Jan 2012. It is now Apr 2013 and nothing has moved on her file. I want to puke on the door step of immigration Canada.

  • On April 7th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    We are so frustrated we finished our medical examination last June 2012 and submitted further documentation upon their request but our agency told us that the CIC changed their mind because of backlog.Billions of dollars spent by all of these applicants, five to seven years of waiting and all are wasted by them saying we changed our mind.

  • On April 9th, 2013, Immigration Winnipeg said ...

    This is a very frustrating experience for so many applicants. Hiring an immigration lawyer may help to speed up the process as they know the ins and outs of the system and how to get certain things expedited.

  • On April 11th, 2013, Maria said ...

    The whole immigration system should be revised..let people know within a short notice if they can come or not. it is all red tape and very inefficient and even hostile. Go paperless at least will save a lot of time.

  • On April 26th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Honestly, the Canadian immigration system is probably one of the worst things I have come across. Yes, there must be several immigrants who are sneaking past the system, but those honest hardworking immigrants are simply put down to the ground. The system needs a significant reform and the sheer support documents for the Residence Questionnaire is insane. I would know. I am submitting one tomorrow.

  • On April 29th, 2013, sps said ...

    Mr Kenny has made our lives a hell ( prefeb 2008 applicants ) It took canada 9 years to terminate
    What a justice made by the court of canada

    but where is the justice
    To hell with such inhumane immigration systme who does nt respect its own processing times

  • On April 30th, 2013, Susan Torrence said ...

    This article gives an idea about the problems with the CIC processing time. I agree it takes more time but that’s because they calculate the processing time keeping in mind the date on which complete application is received. They even mention the success ratio for finalizing the case within the stipulated processing time for total number of applications received is 80%. That’s pretty good right! Processing may be delayed because of medical examination, missing documents and much more.

  • On May 1st, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    SHAME on CIC…WHY NOT HIRE MORE STAFF TO GET THINGS DONE ON TIME…

  • On May 1st, 2013, HuronBird said ...

    Excellent article. Well written.
    in addition to that, the way how CIC handles applications is pretty much a random process. For example, the 40% reduction in backlog could be from the batch that was chosen for RQ in 2012 while the batch that was chosen for RQ in 2009/2010/2011 still there waiting in the drawer. No one can actually prove, its a first come first served process, no transparancy what so ever. Why dont we seek to learn something from the british system again to enhance our immigration if we are having trouble with it!!!

  • On May 10th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    why other part of the Government works grate? like CRA? they have no problem collecting $70,000 a year from me . When I applied for citizenship they said we dont belive you were in Canada. If I`m not in the country why would i pay 70K a year tax? m I crazy? why do I have life insurance in Canada? why do I have a house ? Why do I have a bank account? etc etc . If I was collecting welfare money I`m sure i was citizen long time ago :-) that`s how the system works here.

  • On May 11th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    I am in the same issue “Residence Questionnaire”, I am tax payers, I have full-time job, I follow the rules and laws, but I don’t enjoy the citizenship rights, Sooner or Later I will , and I will not forever give my vote to conservatives even whatever will cost me, never ever :(

  • On May 16th, 2013, Z S said ...

    Hello!

    I have been trying to promote a petition for my grandmother, who applied for landed immigrant status in 1994. The status of her application has been in limbo for close to twenty years now. Rather than deporting her, they continued to provide her with IFHC for coverage, until now. Now, that she is 92 years old with severe dementia on top of other issues, they have stopped providing her with IFHC with no valid reason and are still not deporting her and as a result, my family is suffering, both financially and in every other sense.

    This petition is to get CIC to grant my grandmother OHIP so that we may actually be able to provide her with some care and lift some weight off our shoulders. They could have deported her in 2001 but instead left us to care for her without OHIP for all these years for some reason, and we cannot do it any longer. We request that they take action and either grant her OHIP or deport her, which is inhumane as she is 92, severely disabled with no family at home. In this case we can take the issue to a higher power.

    I’m sorry for all the information, but I am hoping that I could thoroughly explain the gravity of the situation for my family. My sister is severely autistic and we can’t do this anymore. We are now desperate and you know, it was worth a try.

    http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/citizenship-and-immigration-canada-neglecting-a-92-year-old-woman-in-need

    Thanks again,
    – S

  • On June 17th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Now many wannabe immigrants, and especially those who are highly skilled professionals, will probably change their mind and chose another country as their immigration destination. Only those from the poorest countries and who have no chance to establish themselves in the Western Europe or in the US will still patiently apply and wait for Canada. How long will Canada stay a well-developed G8 country?

  • On June 20th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    My husband and I applied for citizenship June 2011.
    We met the required number of days, and have lived year round for 5 1/2 years here,and own our home in Nova Scotia. August 2012 we both received a residency questionnnaire.. for NO valid reason. We completed and sent back all requested documentation within 2 days. NO other response . We are not required to take the citizenship test as we are both over 54.
    Now when we call the CIC hotline they say it could be August 2014… for a response.
    When we applied the CIC website indicated 19 months was the average time for processing, this was June 2011. If they would stop sending residency questionniares out that have NO valid reason… this process could be faster and less stress for all.
    I guess they think we will vote for the wrong candidate
    if we get citizenship? But it is alright to pay Canadian
    income tax and property tax.

  • On June 24th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    It Seems that Canada is discouraging the immigrants as the numbers of immigrants granted are more than the required and it is evident from joblessness or odd job being done by professionals who dreamed of good life in Canada and come here after burning the boats from native country.

  • On August 3rd, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    At first, I was glad to receive the examination letter thinking the waiting process will soon be over. It was not until I finished my exam and during the same day interview then they told me I need to fill in the RQ!!!! I was in shock at that moment. Why would you tell me now when I can prepare everything while waiting for the examination which was almost 2 years wait?! My job as a flight attendant cost me the RQ as my days in Canada was not met. But isnt it a discrimination on the system which denied a person’s based on their occupation that leads them to not meeting the residency requirement. They really need to readjust their processing. They could have saved a lot of time if paper work are done long ago while waiting for the exam. Plus, they don’t need to waste time offering the exam if there is residency issue. Everyone from the other country will be laughing at how poorly manage the system really is. Obviously, whoever was designing such policy and processes was not thinking sensibly. After all, it is the Permanent Residents who pay taxes each year and who fulfill their duties will be delayed of their legal status endlessly.

  • On October 4th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    I resided and worked in Canada 8 years before applying for my citizenship. My work requires that I travel outside the country for durations up to 6-9 months sometimes. The traveling started after I applied for my citizenship. After a year and a half I got called for my test. And at the interview I was given an RQ as I left the country after my application for 6 months. And now it’s been 5 months and I was told I cannot leave the country for any longer than 2 months or they will put my RQ process on hold! So basically I’m being told to put my life on hold for a year because that’s how long it could take for them to process my application! Such delays in granting someone’s citizenship is a shame on the government!

  • On October 18th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    The delay is unjustified. 6 months maximum for such application. Such process and whatever needed to fulfill application should not take this long time ! Advanced country like Canada, should be a leader and should show others how they are professional in processing things I speedy and fairly matter. The current CIC process show weakness and show unfairness to applicants

  • On January 31st, 2014, Marion Vermeersch said ...

    But how do you know you will get to keep that citizenship once you get it? Some other government may come in and decide you, and others like you, are not a group who should ever have had citizenship! They can strip it without even telling you: you will find out when you apply for services or benefits. That is why I am one of the Lost Canadians: my family (War Bride and children of a WWII Canadian soldier) got citizenship on arrival in 1946, spent our lives living and working full time here until 2003, when we discovered we were no longer citizens. Ten years on, we still cannot vote nor otherwise participate and are told we never should have had those rights anyway. I hope it gets fixed, but also that no individual politician should have such power, to either grant or strip citizenship based on his own and the party’s beliefs.

  • On February 18th, 2014, Anonymous said ...

    …After working living in different countries my husband and me ,we were invited to join a dance company in Canada ,because the nature of the work we have to travel around the world ,but always paying our taxes ,we have being living in Canada for 16 years now,every time we aply for the Canadian Citizen ,we were told that we did not have the days requiere to become Canadian Citizen,in June 2011 finally we submit our application again ,and was accepted ,we received the book Discover Canada and a notice saying that they received the application ,I do understand that finally my process was starting .I received a review notice on January 2013 ,we sent a big box with all documents require ,they said we will receive a notice as soon as they received all the documents ,we never heard from then again,I try to call CIC ,many times ,some time very professional agents answer ,some times agents that intimidate me in the phone.Finally I spoke to one and they told me that they were very busy ,and my box won’t be open until June 2014.I decide to wait and move on with my life and projects ,I finally received my exam date ,February 17 2014,I went I did the exam,I pass the exam,and guess what ,they told me now that i DID MAKE A MISTAKE IN THE VERY FIRST APLICATION ! and we do not have the days require to become a Canadian Citizen,we need to wait for an other revision ,and meet a Judge..i do understand that some people take advantage of the Canadian system ,people make fraud ..etc ,but I am not the case ,we are honest ,hard worker professional ,and we have being always transparent …I fell confuse ,humiliate frustrate ,I just give up…

  • On June 30th, 2014, Joana_JW said ...

    It find this OKAY! A certain level of strictness is necessary because getting PR is a serious call. As a newbie, one needs to understand the various processes, mannerism, culture and ethical status of a country. Good things and happiness comes with a price tag and in this case ‘time’ is the test and price :)

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