Question Period: Work Permit Processing Backlog

By: The Hon. Pierre Dalphond

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Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Thank you for being here today, minister. We’ve heard a lot of questions about work visa backlogs. The wait can be up to 13 months, but we need to shorten these wait times if Canada is to remain competitive.

What would be your ideal target for processing foreign worker applications? Four months, five months? What measures have been implemented to achieve the target processing time that the department has set or that we should set?


Hon. Sean Fraser, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: I want to make clear that we have to do whatever we can to bring workers into Canada as quickly as possible. To make that happen, we need to continue to put resources into the system in the short term and adopt policies that make it easier for people to work — some of whom are already in Canada and some of whom are in another country.

In terms of resources, we simply need to put more people to work to ensure we’re processing the files. We need to digitize the application process and ensure that we’re identifying bottlenecks.

To answer your question on the service standard that we are trying to get back to, we’re typically looking at 60 days. I believe we can get there as soon as the end of this calendar year. If we continue to see the uptick in processing that I’m witnessing when I look behind the curtain at the processing numbers, some of which I shared, I anticipate that we’ll be able to get back there.

There are certain challenges in the province of Quebec because there is sometimes a two-stage process — some of which the provincial government is responsible for and some of which the federal government is responsible for.

To answer your question, the service standard is 60 days. I have faith that with the resources we have already put into the system, we could get back there as soon as the end of this year.

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