Canada's government recently announced that it will implement new modernization measures to improve the Canadian immigration system. These changes, some of which address backlog issues related to COVID-19, will expand the digital portal for Permanent Residence (PR) applications, implement data analytics to assist with Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applications and leverage information from the Canada-U.S. Entry/Exit Program. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced these measures in January 2022 as part of its overall plan to develop a new enterprise-wide digital platform to gradually replace its current Global Case Management System.

IRCC's changes may improve immigration application processing timelines and provide support for certain applicants, including foreign nationals applying for work permits and individuals applying for permanent residence. Furthermore, employers will have to continue to meet compliance requirements and IRCC's use of the Canada-U.S. Entry/Exit Program may provide greater assistance with this.

Permanent residence portal and citizenship applications

IRCC announced that it will expand the digital portal for permanent residence applications in an effort to increase the number of applications processed in 2022. IRCC advises that transitioning to an online application process will minimize COVID-19-related processing delays for paper applications, and provide immediate confirmation that an application is successfully submitted.

In addition, IRCC introduced a new Permanent Residence Application Tracker on February 8, 2022 for spouses and their dependents to access their application information and status online. IRCC noted that it has also developed a portal to allow permanent residence applicants in Canada to finalize their process and receive their PR cards without the need for any in-person interaction.

IRCC further noted that it has introduced online testing and an online application tracker for citizenship applications as well as launched virtual citizenship ceremonies.

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applications

IRCC announced that it will leverage an advanced data analytics system to assist with sorting and processing TRV applications submitted from outside of Canada. This new data analytics system is expected to help accelerate IRCC's case load and improve client service. In particular, the system is intended to allow reviewing officers to have more capacity to focus their attention on assessing and making final decisions and to have some applicants receive decisions more quickly.

Entry/Exit Program

IRCC also announced that it will enhance its use of the Canada Border Services Agency's Entry/Exit Program. IRCC said it will use information from this joint initiative between Canada and the U.S. to, among other things, quickly verify immigration, citizenship and passport/travel document information.

Individuals and businesses who have questions or concerns about the new immigration changes are encouraged to contact your local KPMG adviser or one of the following KPMG Law professionals:

Graeme Black
Canadian Immigration, KPMG Law
T: 416-943-7756

Amira Zubairi
Canadian Immigration, KPMG Law
T: 416-943-7889

Lisa Cabel
National Leader, Employment & Labour Law KPMG Law
T: 416-943-7843

Information is current to February 14, 2022. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. For more information, contact KPMG's National Tax Centre at 416.777.8500.