Internal Audit of Immigration Pilot Programs: Lack of guiding principles

Always worth reading IRCC audit and evaluation reports. This audit covered three pilots, Start-Up Visa Program (2013-2018), Atlantic Immigration Pilot (2017-2021) and Caregivers Pilots (the Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots) (2019-2024).

Since then, a number of other pilots have been added: Rural and Northern Immigration, Agri-Food, Home Care Provider, and arguably, Municipal Nominee Program.

Most striking observation: “there was no clearly defined guiding principles for pilot programs to better guide development, oversight, management, evaluation and transition of pilot programs.”

Conclusion:

Overall, the audit found that there was no clearly defined guiding principles for pilot programs to better guide development, oversight, management, evaluation and transition of pilot programs.

Due to the uniqueness of the objectives of each pilot program, pilots were managed independently, and existing departmental structures and processes were leveraged to support their development, implementation, and transition or termination. Although there were adequate fraud and program integrity risk management processes in place, there was no overarching guidance to create a formal risk management framework for pilot programs. The Department heavily relied upon the evaluation function to assess and report on the early performance results of pilot programs to support early decision-making regarding changes to a pilot program or the transition to a permanent program. However, there were limitations in assessing economic establishment and retention as the respective data is not available until years after the pilots have ended. Monitoring and reporting did not include Benefits Realization to inform further investment decisions.

As demands on IRCC continue to grow, and there is more potential to use pilot programs, clearly defined guiding principles for the management and evaluation of the pilot programs will support the holistic management and oversight of the Department’s pilot program portfolio and the broader achievement of departmental objectives. This will also provide direction and guidance for the development, implementation of individual pilot programs with consideration of leading practices and lessons learned. 

Management has accepted the audit findings and developed an action plan to address the recommendations.

Source: Internal Audit of Immigration Pilot Programs

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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