IRCC Departmental Performance Report: #Citizenship

While I haven’t gone through the entire DPR, I have looked at the citizenship section, excerpted below, and have the following comments.

Percent of applications within service standards: Only 9 percent compared to the target of 80 percent, given the closing of the citizenship program for a number of months. IRCC relies on growing application volumes and dated systems as well to explain the dramatic decline (dated systems have long been an issue that IRCC has neglected but is being addressed with funding in Budget 2021). IRCC has also recently implemented online applications.

The other factor not acknowledged by the department is that citizenship is a lessor priority even under normal times.

In the context of the pandemic, some prioritization made sense (e.g., facilitating the entry of temporary agriculture and other workers); in others, it was more of a political and policy choice (e.g., lowering the Express Entry score to 75 for the large CEC draw or the focus on attaining the political target of 401,000 Permanent Residents).

Service Satisfaction: Basically met, less than 1 percent under the target of 90 percent. However, the DPR usefully contrasts the experience of applicants affected by COVID (82 percent) and those that were unaffected (96 percent).

Percentage of permanent residents who become Canadian citizens: This is IRCC’s and possibly the government’s most meaningless indicator, as it refers to all permanent residents, whether they arrived five or 50 years ago, and not the more meaningful measure of the percentage of permanent residents who with the last five-to-nine years (previous Census period) that measures naturalization of recent immigrants. The report even. states that: “naturalization rates in Canada have remained relatively steady and have demonstrated a slight growth” despite the the StatsCan report, Trends in the Citizenship Rate Among New Immigrants to Canada, that showed that the naturalization “rate has been falling among recent immigrants to Canada.”

Number of people granted Canadian citizenship: Only 58,000 compared to the target of 200,000, given the same reasons as for not meeting the service standards.

No mention, of course, of political commitments that have not yet been implemented, whether it be the release of the revised citizenship study guide or the elimination of citizenship fees.


Eligible permanent residents become Canadian citizens2

Indicator: Percentage of citizenship applications that are processed within service standards

Date to achieve target: March 2021

Target: At least 80%. Actual result 9%. Status: Target not met

Result explanation: In 2020–21, 9% of all citizenship grant applications were processed within the 12-month service standard. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic related closures and the implementation of business resumption initiatives for the Citizenship Program, growing application volumes and dated systems have caused increased processing times. IRCC is exploring ways to deliver improved processing as it moves from paper-based applications to e-applications and continues to advance e-initiatives including the online knowledge test and virtual ceremonies.

MethodologyRationale: This indicator measures the degree to which IRCC is able to meet published service standards for those applying for Canadian citizenship.

Calculation / formula: Service standard adherence for citizenship grants is calculated as the percentage of completed applications that were processed within the published service standard. The performance target is to process 80% of completed applications within the 12-month service standard. (This standard is effective for all applications received after April 1st, 2015.) Data Source: GCMS Baseline: 2016-17: 90%

Definitions: NIL

Notes: NIL

Last year’s target: At least 80%

Last year’s actual result: 65%

Indicator: Percentage of citizenship applicants who report they were satisfied overall with the services they received

Date to achieve target: March 2021

Target: At least 90%

Actual result: 89.2%

Status: Target not met

Result explanation: While the client satisfaction rate has remained steady and satisfactory over recent years, 2020–21 saw the lowest applicant satisfaction rate of the past reporting years, including a drop of over 5% between 2019–20 and 2020–21. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to office closures and processing delays, may have had a direct impact on client satisfaction levels over the past year. IRCC’s analysis shows a lower satisfaction rate of 82% for citizenship grant clients who said they were affected by the pandemic when interacting with IRCC, compared to a satisfaction rate of 96% for citizenship grant clients not affected by the pandemic when interacting with IRCC. IRCC remains committed to making services as efficient and client-focused as possible so that citizenship applicants are satisfied with their citizenship naturalization process.

MethodologyRationale: Client satisfaction is the broadest measure of overall success in providing excellent client service. It is the client’s perception of the service experience.

Calculation / formula: Percentage of respondents who answered ‘yes’ to ‘Citizenship Grant’ OR ‘Citizenship Certificate’ within the question “Have you completed the application process for in year” AND who answered ‘yes’ to the question “Overall, were you satisfied with the service you received from IRCC?”. The question regarding satisfaction is asked twice in the survey – once at the beginning of the survey, and once at the end. Here we will capture the latter question, which provides the respondent with a ‘yes/no’ response option.

Data Source: IRCC Client Satisfaction Survey Baseline: 2016: 94% (composite average for Citizenship Grants and Citizenship Certificates (i.e. Proofs)). The baseline is based on responses from the IRCC annual client satisfaction survey conducted in 2016.

Definitions: The Client Satisfaction Survey questionnaire focused on drivers of client satisfaction, such as timeliness, access and ease of use. Questions are developed based on the Common Measurement Tool (CMT). Respondents are directly asked the question, so the definition of “satisfaction” is determined by the respondent.

Notes: The narrative will be supplemented with information from additional indicators and data on areas such as ease of process, ability to find information/get updates, etc.

Last year’s target: At least 90%

Last year’s actual result: 95%

Indicator: Percentage of permanent residents who become Canadian citizens

Date to achieve target: December 2021

Target: At least 85%

Actual result (interim): 86%

Status: Result to be achieved in the future

Result explanation: The ultimate goal of the Citizenship Program is to facilitate naturalization for eligible permanent residents to become Canadians. This indicator reflects naturalization rates in Canada and is based on the 2016 Census. Over the last decade, naturalization rates in Canada have remained relatively steady and have demonstrated a slight growth. As this indicator is based on the Census, the result of the last fiscal year remains the same and there will be new naturalization rates based on the 2021 Census reported in the next fiscal year. Between fiscal year 2018–19 and 2020–21, over 512,000 permanent residents applied and met the requirements and were thus granted Canadian citizenship.

MethodologyRationale: Canada’s immigration model encourages newcomers to naturalize (become citizens) so that they can benefit from all the rights of citizenship and fully assume their responsibilities, thereby advancing their integration. Take-up rates are considered a proxy that illustrates to what extent permanent residents value Canadian citizenship.

Calculation / formula–Numerator: Permanent residents in Canada who are eligible to acquire Canadian citizenship and self-report on the Census that they have acquired Canadian citizenship. Denominator: Permanent residents in Canada who are eligible to acquire Canadian citizenship.

Data Source: Statistics Canada’s Census Baseline: 2016: 85.8%

Definitions: Naturalization: The Census instructs individuals who have applied for, and have been granted, Canadian citizenship (i.e., persons who have been issued a Canadian citizenship certificate) to self-report their citizenship as “Canada, by naturalization”.

Notes: In the performance narrative, IRCC administrative data could be used to tell the story of citizenship from an operational and policy perspective. Information on age, gender, immigration stream, and country of origin of new citizens would be considered in order to explain changing trends. It is also important to note that calculations using IRCC’s administrative data will be based on the number of people admitted as permanent residents who took up citizenship. Figures from Statistics Canada indicate that in 2011, about 6,042,200 foreign-born people in Canada were eligible to acquire citizenship. Of these, just over 5,175,100, or 85.6%, reported that they had acquired Canadian citizenship. This naturalization rate in Canada was higher than in other major immigrant-receiving countries. In telling the story of the naturalization rate, it will be important to explain the reasons why some people choose not to naturalize.Last year’s targetAt least 85%Last year’s actual result86%Programs tagged as contributing to this result

Citizenship Programs

  • Citizenship 2020-21 Spending: $83.3 M2020-21, Number of Full Time Equivalents: 917 See the infographic
  • Results
    • ▼People who meet the criteria for citizenship are successful at becoming Canadian citizens
      • Indicator: Number of people who are granted citizenship
      • Date to achieve target: March 2021
      • Target: At least 200,000
      • Actual result: 57,823
      • Status: Target not met
      • Result explanation: Due to the strained processing capacity of the Citizenship Program caused by COVID-19 closures almost 58,000 residents who applied and met the requirements were granted Canadian citizenship in 2020-21. Even before the pandemic, growing application volumes and dated systems strained the operational processing model for the Citizenship Program resulting in increased processing times. The Citizenship Program is continuing to explore ways to improve processing as it moves to online applications and advances online services such citizenship ceremonies, interviews and hearings and online testing.
      • MethodologyExplanation/rationale: The main objective of the Citizenship Program is to encourage and facilitate naturalization. The program seeks to ensure that all eligible permanent residents who apply are successful at becoming Canadians. The number of individuals who are granted citizenship is a measure of how this result is achieved.
      • Formula/calculation: Using GCMS, for the given fiscal year, count the total number of individuals who were granted citizenship and who have taken the oath when required: This count is based on the Citizenship Effective Date. This is the date that an applicant, who was granted citizenship in GCMS, is confirmed to have taken the oath of citizenship. In instances where a person is not required to take the oath, the effective date of citizenship is the date that they are granted citizenship in GCMS.
      • Application Categories: Adoption, Grant, Resumption
      • Citizenship Effective Date: the given fiscal year Count of persons
      • Measurement strategy: Data is extracted annually from GCMS. Baseline: 2016-2017: 109,543
      • Notes/definitions: Canadian citizen: Under the Citizenship Act, a person is described as a Canadian citizen if the person is Canadian by birth (either born in Canada or born outside Canada to a Canadian citizen who was themselves either born in Canada or granted citizenship) or the person has applied for a grant of citizenship and has received Canadian citizenship (naturalization). Grant of citizenship (Naturalization): Grant of citizenship or naturalization is the formal process by which a person who is not a Canadian citizen becomes a Canadian citizen.
      • Note: The count includes all individuals who became citizens of Canada under Sections 5(1), 5(2), 5.1 and 11(1) of the Citizenship Act.
      • Last year’s target: At least 138,000
      • Last year’s actual result: 247,139

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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