CIC service standards: the elves have left the building

There has been crazy stuff happening in Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) processing centres lately. And not crazy-good, crazy-incompetent. It’s way worse than usual. Inland applications have been sent overseas for processing. Overseas files have been sent through inland processing. Complete applications get sent back for being incomplete. Applications get refused because applicants did not respond to an email from CIC that they did not receive. Applications (with proof of delivery) disappear with no apology or consideration.

When any of those things happen, the only official recourse is to call the CIC Call-Centre. The problem is, as everyone knows, the Call Centre is very hard to access and when you do get through, you can never rely on the information you receive. But not everyone knows that the CIC Call Centre has a service target of attending to 75% of the calls. A CIC policy mucky-muck let that slip at one of the 638 info sessions I attended earlier this year. This means its goal is to hang up on only 25% of calls. What other service-delivery organization could have that kind of target? Way to reach for the basement, CIC.

And when you call the Call Centre, it makes you go through 15 different menus before you get hung up on. Sometimes, it even lets you sit on hold believing you are going to get through to a human and then wham! After 10, 15, 20 minutes, you get cut off. To get to the human option, the system asks you to input nonsensical information, such as “type in your application number”. Hey, CIC, what the hell is an application number? Do you mean form number, file number or UCI number? Unless you are overseas processing, you don’t have an “application number” and if you are and you do, guess what? The Call Centre can’t give you any information on your file because – you guessed it – it’s overseas.

This would all be comedy gold if CIC was in charge of something banal like socks or hamsters. But its not that funny when we are talking about people like the live-in caregivers I have seen who have had their files closed and futures ruined because CIC says it sent an email they never received. Or the person on implied status who was waiting for his work permit extension when CIC neglected to match up his LMIA with his application, refused it and he lost his implied status through no fault of his own and now sits and waits for his  restoration application to be processed. Or the numerous spouses who have submitted inland applications only to find out their paperwork has been sent to some random embassy overseas.

In the 639th info session I attended (via webinar) yesterday, CIC talked about the fabulous new Express Entry system. LMIAs will take 10 days! PR applications will take 6 months! Everything will be up and running tickety-boo as of January 1. Well, maybe a bit later. Well, actually, maybe more like the 25th.

I seriously cannot wait to see this.