Compiled by Border Law
Applicants Should Expect Delays Amidst IRCC's Current Labour Strike
As a result of a labour dispute between various Public Service agencies, the Public Service Alliance of Canada declared a general strike this past Wednesday, April 19th, 2023, resulting in bargaining groups representing 159,000 public servants going on strike.
As these public servants typically provide a range of services for the public, the Government of Canada has now confirmed that although essential services will continue to be delivered during the labour disruption, Canadians can expect others to be delayed or interrupted; also noting that the public may even have trouble accessing some Government of Canada buildings during the strike as well.
So, what does this mean for your Immigration Application?
Unfortunately, Federal employees with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Service Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) are all members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and therefore, form part of the federal worker group on strike.
Consequently, during the current labour strike, most of IRCC services, as with most of the Government of Canada services, have been partially, if not majorly, impacted as a result.
Specifically, as per IRCC’s recent update, due to IRCC, CBSA and IRB’s involvement in the current strike, Applicants can expect delays with the following Immigration services:
1. Access to Information Act requests:
You can expect longer processing times for Access to Information Act requests.
2. Citizenship events:
All current Citizenship events will be rescheduled; some urgent applications may still be processed, and those Candidates will be advised accordingly.
3. Consular citizenship and passport services:
Applicants may experience delays with citizenship or passport services outside of Canada.
4. Passport services:
During the current labour disruption, essential government services that continue to be delivered are the result of an agreement between the employer and the union.
As a result, most domestic passport services are currently not available, aside from domestic passport applications for emergency and humanitarian situations. Subsequently, Applicants should expect delays in the processing of passport applications during the current labour disruption.
5. Contacting IRCC:
Applicants should expect delays when attempting to contact IRCC by any means. As was noted on IRCC’s website:
a) The IRCC Client Support Centre is experiencing service delays, and so, Applicants can expect longer response times.
b) IRCC will no longer be able to answer Applicant’s social media enquiries during the labour disruption; and
c) Applicants should expect longer response times when using the IRCC web form.
6. Immigration-related appointments:
In-person appointments may be rescheduled during the dispute.
a) If you are in Canada: Clients with immigration-related appointments in Canada will be contacted to re-schedule or cancel appointments.
b) If you are outside Canada: Overseas interviews are proceeding as scheduled, unless advised otherwise by the IRCC office abroad.
7. Processing applications:
Lastly, IRCC has also confirmed that there will be limited capacity during the strike to process inland immigration applications (such as work permits, study permits or visitor visas), and so delays in processing are expected. This includes delays to applications currently being prioritized.
Thus, although some IRCC services will remain unchanged, or minimally impacted, such as online application submission, grants and contributions services, and urgent passport services for Canadians living outside of Canada, most Applicants should expect delays with their current immigration matter until the dispute is resolved.
For a further list of all impacted services during the current Labour Dispute, feel free to click here.
In closing, given the heavy backlog already being experienced by IRCC, this strike could not have come at a worse time. With that said, although it has yet to be seen how this labour dispute will impact IRCCs already heavily backlogged case load, we at Border Law will continue to monitor the situation and update you on how services are to be impacted.
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This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.