IRCC Launches New System to Streamline and Modernize ATIPS

On 26 May 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the launch of the “ATIP Management Action Plan”, an initiative that is tasked with offering faster response times and streamlined systems, with the goal of providing a more open and transparent process to increase communications with clients.[1] An “ATIP” request, or access to information and privacy request, allows individuals to request information held by the government, including certain notes and records related to an individual’s immigration history.[2]

The ATIP Management Action Plan initiative is also intended to expand the “MyAccount portal” to include more detailed information on the status of pending applications and clearer information when an application is not approved.[3] In acknowledging the growing number of ATIP requests made to IRCC in the last few years, through the ATIP Management Action Plan IRCC is also seeking to implement “automated processes to increase processing efficiencies.”[4]

IRCC is tracking the progress of the implementation of the ATIP Management Action Plan here, listing the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC)’s five recommendations and IRCC’s statement of commitment and action item for each. While most of the action items are still in progress, one has been marked completed: ceasing the practice of claiming extensions of time to process requests for “frequent/bulk requesters.”[5] Interestingly, one of the recommendations for which IRCC’s commitment and action plan remains in progress is the recommendation for IRCC to revisit “IRCC’s plans and strategies to improve the availability of client immigration information so as to alleviate undue pressure” on the ATIP regime.[6] In response to this recommendation, it appears IRCC is striving, by 2022, to provide more transparency for applications in process as well as more clarity regarding the reasons for a refusal.[7]

We will be following IRCC’s progress on this initiative and assessing how, once fully implemented, it could potentially impact service delivery. However, depending on the level of detail provided in the instances where an application is over the estimated processing time or is refused, it may still be necessary to seek further details through an ATIP request. While IRCC still has much work to do, this recent announcement certainly signals a step in the right direction towards transparency, clarity, and hopefully efficiency.

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