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IRCC Rolls Out New System to Meet Rising ATIP Requests

June 11, 2021

On May 26, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a new access to information and privacy (ATIP) Management Action Plan aimed at streamlining and modernizing the existing access to information and privacy systems.

This ATIP action plan is in response to a special report by Information Commissioner of Canada, Caroline Maynard, which found that the immigration department must improve communication with clients and improve its access to information.

An ATIP request grants citizens and permanent residents of Canada, as well as individuals who are present in Canada, a right of access to records that are held under the control of government institutions.

The report found that in 2019-2020, the IRCC received 116,928 access requests – an increase of 42% over the previous fiscal year.

The ATIP Management Action Plan responds to the key issues identified in the report and provides a recommendation of the necessary actions to be taken by the IRCC in order to resolve each one. The MyAccount portal will aim to provide users with more detailed information regarding the status of their file and to offer a clear explanation of why an application has been rejected.

To date, only the first of five recommendations made by the Commissioner have been completed. The first recommendation called on the IRCC to cease the practice of claiming time extensions on frequent requester by establishing a new process. The recommendations are projected to be completed by 2022. The progress of the implementation of the ATIP Management Action Plan can be followed here.

In the context of Canadian immigration, ATIP requests are used to obtain past applications as well as notes in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) which is used by IRCC to manage and track immigration applications. The notes form a part of an immigration officer’s decision. Obtaining GCMS notes and/or past applications is particularly important when dealing with past refusals or admissibility issues. In addition, obtaining GCMS notes allows our clients to understand the status in case of delay.  

The government’s commitment to improving communications and processing ATIP requests more efficiently is great news for both our lawyers and our clients. By providing quicker responses, and in some cases eliminating the need for a request, our Canadian immigration lawyers can spend less time waiting and more time working on getting you results.

If you have any questions about the new ATIP Management Action Plan, please contact Abramovich & Tchern Immigration Lawyers today at 416-551-1757.