The federal auditor general says Canada’s border agency has failed to promptly remove most of the people under orders to leave the country.
In a report tabled in Parliament today, the auditor says the Canada Border Services Agency‘s efforts were hampered by poor data quality and case-management flaws, resulting in avoidable delays in thousands of cases.
Problems in sharing information with immigration officials also slowed things down.
The border agency is responsible for carrying out removal orders to ensure public safety and the integrity of the immigration system.
However, the auditor general says, the agency had not touched thousands of files for years, including some high-priority removals.
The agency also lost track of 34,700 people and was not conducting the regular follow-ups to locate them by opening each file at least every three years, or once a year for people with criminal histories.
Poor data entry was one core problem, the auditor found. Over 1,500 deportation orders weren’t being monitored for enforcement “largely because of errors made by immigration and agency officers when they entered the orders into the immigration database.”
The auditor also criticized the CBSA for not checking in on files on people due to be deported, “despite its mandate to enforce removal orders as soon as possible.”
“A case can sit inactive during the removal process for many valid reasons: Waiting for requested travel documents is one example. However … we determined that there were thousands of inactive cases in the agency’s working inventory with no explanation.”
The auditor suggested reviving a program that paid failed refugee claimants a small amount of money to leave Canada, an idea the CBSA agreed with in its response.
In its response, the CBSA agreed with all the criticisms levelled at it, and said it would track removals better, particularly for high-priority cases.
With files from Global News