Canada's federal auditor general says the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has failed to promptly remove most of the people under orders to leave the country.
The report suggests that the CBSA has had their efforts hampered by poor data quality and case-management flaws causing needless delays in thousands of cases. Another issue was around the sharing of information with immigration officials which also led to the slowdown.
The auditor general said the CBSA had not taken action on thousands of files for years, even including some that were designated as high-priority removals.
Some 34,700 people had slipped through the cracks, as the CBSA was not conducting regular followups by opening each case file at least every three years (or yearly for people with criminal histories). More than 1,500 deportation orders went unmonitored for enforcement “largely because of errors made by immigration and agency officers when they entered the orders into the immigration database.”
“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.”
A suggestion from the auditor to remedy the problem was to revive a program that paid failed refugee claimants a small sum to leave Canada on their own accord, an idea the CBSA was in agreement with in its response.
The CBSA agreed with all of the criticism directed its way, and vowed to improve its ability to track removals, especially involving high-priority cases.