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IRCC to improve immigration pilot program management following internal audit

September 3, 2022

By CIC News

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is creating guiding principles for managing immigration pilot programs following the recommendation of an internal audit.

The Internal Audit and Accountability Branch of IRCC provides senior management with an independent review designed to improve departmental operations. The internal audit assesses IRCC’s risk management, governance, and control processes.

From June 2021 to August 2021, the accountability branch conducted its Internal Audit of Immigration Pilot Programs. Pilot immigration programs are temporary and are allowed to operate for five years before IRCC makes a decision whether to turn the pilot into a permanent program. Each pilot program is allotted 2,750 applications to process annually.

Three pilot programs were selected for detailed examination: the Start-up Visa Program, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (now a program), and the Caregiver Pilots. The results were released on March 29, and published online August 8.

The audit recommended that IRCC should formally define a set of guiding principles for pilot programs to help better design, implement and evaluate them.

Pilot programs generally require more financial and human resources during the design stage, yet several pilot programs have been developed without any additional resources allocated to meet demands. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Caregivers Pilots and several other programs are examples of pilots that were unfunded. Therefore, they relied on existing departmental capacity to deliver on priorities, which increased the strain on IRCC staff.

There was also no analysis of the impact of pilot programs on the ability of IRCC staff to deliver their core programs or develop effective mitigation measures to minimize the impact.

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