Plenary I - Major Trends in 2008 and Future Initiatives
Unfortunately I've only walked in to hear part of Brian Goodman's (Chairperson, IRB) presentation.
Mr. Goodman has gone over the Member "deficit" and of course the increased intake resulting in significant delays for applicants to have their day before the tribuanls of the IRB (RPD and IAD). He encouraged members of the audience to apply as additional appointments will be made. He closed with some of the achievements of the Board in the last little while - I believe that he was appointed interim Chair when the former Chair, Mr. Fleury resigned.
Mr. Goodman seems well aware of the member deficit and appears genuinely interested in addressing this very important issue. It's clear that a lack of decision makers will adversely affect his ability to carry out his mandate as Chair of Canada's largest administrative tribunal. Unfortunately, the appointment process is out of his hands, and will depend largely on the actions of the Conservative Minister.
James Sutherland (Director Temporary Foreign Workers) followed Goodman and discussed improvements in the temporary foreign worker operations and increased resources. He's mentioned a new position - integrity - which will oversee compliance with the conditions imposed via the LMO and work permits. [Hmmmm...I anticipate visits by CBSA to employer sites to monitor the employer-TWF (Temporary Foreign Worker)].
Claudette Deschenes, Assistant Deputy Minister Operations (Ottawa) made a number of comments [unfortunately reading directly from her text]:
429,000 new comers came to Canada - immigrants, students and temporary workers. CIC has had to make tough choices with respect to resources. 12% increase to TFW. More immigrant visas overseas than any other year in the past 5 years. Lift caps on provincial nominees. Demonstrated responsiveness to provinces. Expanded post-grad work permits to international students. Extended off campus work permit program. Last 2 years issued 17,000. Extended TFWU offices - Moncton and Toronto. Also supportive of UNHCR on Bhutanese and Iraq refugees, as well as resettlement of Vietnamese from the Philippines. Lifted visa requirements from European countries. Significant more funds to support new arrivals in Canada. Proud of foreign credentials recognition office and want to encourage prospective immigrants to take advantage of this prior to coming to Canada.
[The self-congratulatory continued ...]
In terms of citizenship, working on enhanced ceremonies. Introduced changes to Citizenship Act which will deal with some Canadians that have lost citizenship. Adopted children will be dealt with as if they were born of Canadian parents.
[Closed with a general comment:]
At the end of the day we will never have all the resources we need.
Kimber Johnston (VP Enforcement) notes that CBSA has two mandates - one is to facilitate entry of admissible individuals to Canada and the second is the removal of indamissible individuals from Canada. She discussed a number of initiatives including the recent report on the Auditor General:
Average detention 17 days. Vast majority however was 48 hours or less. Cost of detention $200/day [this is likely the immigration detention centre, as opposed to holding the immigrant in provincial institutions]. Cost of removal (last year 12000 plus) $6600. CBSA now has responsibility for IRPA investigations from RCMP. Over 500 active investigations and charges with conviction rate of 95%, sentences ranging from one day incarceration to one year.
[Obviously these charges and convictions, if made against Permanent Residents or Foreign Nationals will result in inadmissiblity issues on top of the criminal consequences - I think it's safe to say that these investigations and convictions will result in more removal order appeals to the IAD]