Operational Bulletin 625 – July 05, 2016 (Modified – July 14, 2016)
The Operational Instructions for an Extraordinary Situation Affecting Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Operations – The Suspension of Mail Services by Canada Post
This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides operational guidelines to officers. These guidelines aim to mitigate the effect on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) operations of a suspension, cessation or interruption of mail services by Canada Post Corporation. It is worth mentioning that the authorities will be providing additional instructions specific to travel documents directly to the relevant processing networks via the usual channels. Travel documents would typically comprise Canadian passports and other travel documents.
- It is worth highlighting that from this point onwards, any references to “the situation” would typically refer to a short-term temporary suspension, interruption or cessation of mail services by the Canada Post Corporation
- Similarly, from this point onwards, any references to the term “courier services” would denote courier services from suppliers other than Canada Post Corporation
It is worth highlighting that a labour dispute could result in the suspension of all Canada Post Corporation mail services as of July 08, 2016. In addition, the authorities anticipate that during this suspension of mail services by Canada Post Corporation, the following products that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) typically uses would not be available:
- First class mail i.e. regular mail
- Priority courier and,
- Registered mail i.e. Canada Post Corporation mail services
The authorities anticipate that Canada Post Corporation will hold applications and correspondence to and from clients in the mail system at the time of the service interruption as well. The authorities expect this to last until Canada Post Corporation resumes its mail services.
Canada Post Corporation has withdrawn its 72-hour lock-out notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. This lock-out was scheduled to take effect on July 11, 2016. As such, the authorities have updated the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) departmental website to inform clients that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has resumed normal processing procedures for applications with effect from July 11, 2016. Therefore, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will continue using Canada Post Corporation’s mail services.
It is worth highlighting that the authorities are continuing to monitor the Canada Post Corporation situation. In case they anticipate a mail service suspension, they will send a message to the network. This would lead to the reactivation of the special measures outlined in this OB.
The Affected Area
It is worth highlighting that this situation could well have an effect on all Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) lines of business. As a result, the authorities cannot provide a specific definition or scope of the affected area.
The Key Instructions
To counter the situation, the authorities have instructed Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to hold all outgoing mail until Canada Post Corporation resumes its mail services. This directive would apply to all instances where immediate communication is not urgent or required because of pressing time restrictions. However, this does not apply to certain payments by cheque that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) typically authorises such as refunds and resettlement support payments. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) would not be holding these payments. Instead, they would be sending these via courier or through other arrangements, as available.
In addition, standard application processing times, procedures and statutory requirements continue to remain in place.
Many applicants might be submitting e-applications, which the system will accept. In this scenario, the clients would need to apply online. Thereafter, they would need to upload the electronic copies of the relevant documents.
Once the situation resolves itself, Canada Post Corporation will resume its mail services. Thereafter, once Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) receives the paper applications, its officers would use the postage date stamp for establishing the processing order. The processing order would typically function on the ‘first in, first out’ principle.
It is worth highlighting that the procedures specified in this OB will only be in effect during the mail service suspension period. This is unless the instructions specified in this OB reflect standard established procedures.
The authorities have permitted officers to accept electronic copies or messages where allowed for legal purposes. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reserves the right to request for original documents at any time.
- The Guidelines for Communication with Clients
- The Guidelines for Incoming Communication from Clients
- Business Line Specific Instructions