Vol. 151, No. 21 — October 18, 2017
SI/2017-58 October 18, 2017
ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN 2015 ACT, NO. 1
Order Fixing the Day on which this Order is registered as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2017-1206 September 29, 2017
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to subsection 176(2) of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1, chapter 36 of the Statutes of Canada, 2015, fixes the day on which this Order is registered as the day on which subsections 169(1) and 171(1) and (3) and sections 172, 173 and 175 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order in Council fixes the day upon which this Order is registered as the coming-into-force day of subsections 169(1) and 171(1) and (3) and sections 172, 173 and 175 of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1.
The purpose of this Order is to bring into force provisions of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 which amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in respect of electronic administration.
The Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 introduced a series of new provisions and consequential amendments that sets out clear authorities to use electronic means for the administration and enforcement of IRPA and the associated regulations. These legislative changes were developed in anticipation of the expanding use of electronic tools in the immigration system for application processing and enhancing online applications.
This Order in Council is required to bring into force certain legislative provisions authorizing the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (the Ministers) to use electronic means to administer and enforce IRPA and authorizing the Governor in Council to make future amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations).
While a technology-based vision presents opportunities to do business differently, potential policy and legal concerns with the expansion of electronic tools, advanced analytics and automation have been identified. These legislative authorities are intended to provide the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (the Departments) with a legal framework to guide the consistent application of electronic means to administer and enforce IRPA.
There will be no resource, operational or privacy implications as the coming into force of these legislative provisions is limited to authorizing the Departments to use electronic means to administer and enforce IRPA and granting the Governor in Council the authority to make or amend regulations under IRPA relating to the use of electronic means. Any future regulatory changes to support the government’s use of electronic tools and systems will consider the financial, operational, economic, legal or privacy implications.
This Order in Council brings into force sections of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 which create Part 4.1 of IRPA, providing the Ministers the authority to use electronic means to perform all of the functions and activities required to administer or enforce IRPA and the Regulations.
Section 186.1 of Part 4.1 gives the Ministers clear authority to carry out their functions under IRPA using electronic means. This authority includes the use of an automated system to make decisions or determinations or perform examinations. It also allows, through delegations and designations, officers and other persons to carry out activities under the Regulations using the electronic means specified by the relevant Minister.
Section 186.2 of Part 4.1 provides that any requirements in IRPA for signatures, notices, information, documents or their originals can be met by using the electronic means that are made available or specified by the Minister.
Section 186.3 of Part 4.1 provides regulation-making authorities related to the use of electronic means. More specifically, the regulations may
- specify details regarding the technology and systems to be used and matters relating to that system, such as the date and time when an electronic application or information is deemed to be sent or received;
- require the use of an electronic system or means, as well as specify exceptions to that requirement (for example in cases where a disability prevents a person from using the electronic means required by the regulations);
- prescribe circumstances where the Minister may direct the use of alternate means (for example in cases of natural disasters); and
- require that payments be made using an electronic system, as well as specify when other means may be used.
Section 186.4 of Part 4.1 provides that, if authorized under IRPA or the Regulations, officers and other individuals can still require applicants to submit documents and information in other formats, including in their original paper format.
Along with the introduction of these provisions, consequential amendments are made to other sections of IRPA to avoid repetition of the comprehensive authorities in Part 4.1.
The Department of Employment and Social Development was consulted and collaborated with during the development of these legislative provisions and amendments.
During the legislative process, the overall response to these provisions from Canadians was supportive and media coverage related to these provisions was neutral to positive. The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration conducted one hearing on the provisions relating to IRPA within Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 and heard from four witnesses, including representatives from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, as well as an immigration lawyer.
Strategic Policy and Planning
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
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