@CitImmCanada used to have 2 online systems for submitting electronic applications: MyCIC for individuals and the Rep Portal for representatives (lawyers/consultants). This was in addition to some specific portals, for example for employers and universities. But the bulk of immigration applications would be submitted through those 2 main portals. They are glitchy and cumbersome but at least they are interactive and a one-stop shop for your electronic immigration processes.
Since the spring of 2021, there are now at least 7 new online portals for different types of immigration applications – and more on the way.
Here are the new ones:
In addition to the original ones:
Although they look similar, each new online portal is completely separate: they all have different account creation and login processes; most are for individuals, one is for representatives. Some are static checklists that you submit your application in and don’t show any active status or progress. Other are conduits with progress bars that enable communications to and from @CitImmCanada. Sometimes – but not all the time – you can link your application from these platforms into the original MyCIC or Rep Portal. Sometimes – but not all the time – you will receive an AOR (Acknowledgment of Receipt) after submitting an application in one of the new portals. If they do come, email notifications mostly say “there is a message in your portal”, with no indication which portal it is referring to. Sometimes you will create an account and submit an application then one day your login stops working, your access disappears and there is no technical support for the new portals and no way to communicate that issue to @CitImmCanada. You ask yourself the existential question: if the login disappears, does the application that was submitted still exist?
Given that most people don’t file just one immigration application (the typical pathway is temporary resident like visitor/student/worker –> then permanent resident –> then citizen) and often have to renew or extend their status in between those steps, which are separate processes, most immigrants will have to create, manage and maintain at least 4 different portals in their immigration journey to Canada.
Most of the portals do not allow representatives to assist, @CitImmCanada imagines a world where newcomers will be able to navigate which portal, what login, how to get there and what to do once inside without the assistance of anyone. Many people don’t even buy groceries unassisted these days, but hey, @CitImmCanada, that’s cool. We’ll just be over here mopping up the mess and tears of people who have made inadvertent errors and wasted months on a process that went nowhere.
I don’t even have a good analogy for what this can compare to: imagine having to keep track of separate logins and platforms for each of your bank accounts: chequing, savings, credit card, line of credit… only with higher stakes, like you fall into a pit of snakes if you transfer funds from the wrong account. Or, for your business, you have to maintain separate CRA logins/platforms for Payroll, GST/HST, Corporate taxes, etc, but with a jet pack attached that shoots you into space if you mess anything up. Imagine that if you chose to use an accountant, they would have access to some, but not all of those platforms, so could do some, but not all of your taxes.
We hear these new systems are more robust, secure and stable than the OG ones. And necessary given the pandemic and need to move everything online. But 6 months in, I have no confidence that these new “mvp” platforms are working as they should, or have increased efficiencies or that applications aren’t falling through the cracks as I type this.
So basically we now have a blind-buffet of online platforms, which all look sort of the same, but don’t behave the same and aren’t reliable enough to give anyone confidence that what was submitted was received or any insight on where submitted applications are in process. Are you out of status or about to be a PR? Is the application in process or has it disappeared into the ether? Is that Jello salad or head cheese? Who knows!
And to stop being cute for a second, it is appalling and unconscionable that @CitImmCanada actually thinks what it is doing with these new systems is reasonable. These are lives and futures on the line. If immigration really was so important, how can @CitImmCanada possibly think that unleashing this haphazard technology on people who are staking their lives on it is ethical or workable?
But don’t mind me, I’m just over here eating a Jello salad, wearing a jet pack, holding a mop.