Audit of the Immigration Program
Canadian Consulate General – Seattle

5.3. Case Analyses

We examined 35 economic class and family class cases distributed equally among the five immigration officers at the Mission, to determine whether the case notes were clear and supported decisions at each step of the process. Each field in CAIPS was also examined to ensure that authorizations and entries met regulatory requirements.

A look at the CAIPS notes in our sample revealed excellent pre-interview notes. Program assistants, who prepare the documentation and ask pertinent questions of the applicants before they are seen by officers at their interview, do a first-class job of assessing the documents, summarizing the information in CAIPS and highlighting issues that need to be followed up at the interview.

Similarly, interview notes made by all officers were sufficiently detailed and adequately supported the decisions taken. In general, the high quality notes included excellent analyses of the cases. The audit did not encounter CAIPS decisions or authorizations keyed in by unauthorized staff. In the files sampled, all IMM 8 application forms had been signed by the applicant. Only one was found without the officer’s signature, in what appeared to have been an inadvertent omission.

The audit found that the quality of decisions rendered in immigrant cases was generally good and in accordance with statutory requirements. This conclusion was in part supported by the Mission’s list of judicial review cases, as obtained from the Litigation Management Division at NHQ. At the end of November 2001, there were 17 Seattle cases that had been examined under judicial review that year. To the Mission’s credit, all but one had been denied. The non-denied case is to be re-interviewed by a CBO in Seattle.

There were some minor areas for improvement regarding the notes. First, the officers did not make adequate use of the CAIPS document screen. Instead, the notes regarding documents were in the CAIPS notes screen, where they were more difficult to find. Secondly, a number of paper files were found to have loose attachments in them. These papers were inadvertently not attached to the “build-me-ups” or were slipped into the file without being stapled to an adjoining sheet. Some of the attachments were not placed in chronological order in the file, making it difficult for those reading the file to follow proceedings logically. Finally, the officers did not generally paste personalized letters (such as refusals) into CAIPS notes, although a copy was kept for the paper file.

Recommendation

5. The CAIPS document screen should be used more frequently.

6. When filing documents, staff should ensure that documents are filed chronologically, and that they are physically attached to the file so that they are not inadvertently lost.

7. The Mission should consider pasting personalized letters, such as refusals, into CAIPS.

Management Response

5. Management agrees with the recommendation. Staff members in Seattle have been encouraged to use the CAIPS document screen more frequently.

6. Management agrees with the recommendation. Staff members in Seattle have been reminded that documents should be filed chronologically and physically attached to the file so that they are not lost. It should be noted that all files held in Seattle are created at the RPC in Buffalo, where initial processing takes place. It is only upon convocation of the applicants for interview that the files are reviewed in Seattle. It is at this point in time that the opportunity arises to add documents to the file and arrange the files’ contents.

7. Management agrees with the recommendation. Staff members in Seattle have been reminded to paste refusal letters into CAIPS.

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