CBSA did not know whereabouts of foreign nationals it was expected to remove: AG report

Canada’s border agency did not know the whereabouts of thousands of foreign nationals who were ordered to leave the country, according to a scathing new report from the auditor general.

“We concluded that the Canada Border Services Agency did not remove the majority of individuals who were subject to enforceable removal orders as soon as possible to protect the integrity of the immigration system and maintain public safety,” notes the audit, released this morning. 

Auditor General Karen Hogan and her staff took a deep dive into whether the CBSA removed individuals legally ordered to leave the country as soon as possible and whether it co-ordinated information with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, an independent tribunal, and the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 

The review looked at all of the cases in the CBSA’s data management system as of April 2019 by inventory.

Despite a recent increase in removals, about 50,000 enforceable cases piled up in the agency’s inventory, notes the report.

“In two-thirds of these cases, the agency did not know the whereabouts of the individuals. Most of the accumulated cases had been enforceable for several years,” it says.

While the CBSA did issue immigration warrants for people’s arrest, it rarely completed the annual investigations to locate those with a criminal record or past, according to the auditor general.

The audit also found that poor data quality resulted in cases missing from the agency’s removal inventories. 

“Because of delays in processing data received from federal partners, the agency did not have the information it needed to track the status of removal orders,” it said.

“Among cases with enforceable orders, we found that many were inactive or stalled because of poor case management, even some that were considered high priority. Furthermore, many cases we examined were stalled because of missing travel documents, such as passports — yet little was done to obtain these documents.”