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Status Report on Major Crown/Transformational Projects

Global Case Management System
Temporary Resident Biometrics Project

Global Case Management System


The Global Case Management System (GCMS) is Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s) electronic business platform. It is integral to making the citizenship and immigration system more modern, efficient, flexible and responsive to Canada’s labour market. It is essential to improving citizenship and immigration services, maintaining program integrity and strengthening the security of Canada.

GCMS is helping CIC move toward an integrated and virtual business model. GCMS also lays the foundation to support future business improvements and innovation, such as the introduction of e-services and improved identity management through biometrics.

Project Phase:

GCMS is currently in the project implementation phase. GCMS was granted preliminary project approval by Treasury Board in 2001. In September 2004, it was successfully implemented for the Citizenship Program. The first version of GCMS is currently being used to process more than 200,000 applications each year for Canadian citizenship and proof of citizenship.

Based on the results of independent reviews, GCMS underwent a project assessment, and a revised go-forward plan was developed with a reduced scope. In August 2008, Treasury Board granted approval to develop the next phase of GCMS, which focused on visa offices overseas where the majority of clients first seek CIC services.

An independent review completed in June 2009 confirmed that the project schedule is achievable, the technology is sound and the initiative is on track. Once fully implemented in March 2011, GCMS will provide a single, integrated processing capability for all citizenship and overseas immigration applications.

Leading and Participating Departments and Agencies
Lead Department CIC
Contracting Authority Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC)
Participating Departments Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

Prime and Major Subcontractor(s)
Prime Contractor None (CIC is responsible for system integration)
Major Subcontractor(s) None (various subcontractors are used)

Major Milestones
Major Milestone Date
Treasury Board approves funding for the GCMS project at the same time as CIC’s Treasury Board submission on the implementation of policy reforms and the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) August 2000
Treasury Board grants Preliminary Project Approval and major Crown project designation to GCMS March 2001
Treasury Board grants Effective Project Approval (EPA) to GCMS January 2002
Request for proposal for the acquisition of a commercial, off-the-shelf software package for case management is posted for tender by PWGSC February 2002
Contract for the off-the-shelf software package for case management is awarded March 2003
Treasury Board grants amended EPA to GCMS to address the impact of procurement delays October 2003
The first GCMS business component (Citizenship) is implemented September 2004
Treasury Board grants a second amendment to the EPA to address the impact of cumulative slippage that includes critical new requirements in project scope, and provides for an incremental deployment approach September 2005
Completion of a System Under Development audit of the GCMS project November 2005
Treasury Board grants a third amendment to the EPA to address a wording anomaly with regard to the Goods and Services Tax December 2006
Independent review indicates the need to assess project status and review options for completing GCMS objectives December 2006
Treasury Board grants a fourth amendment to the EPA to undertake this assessment and to develop a revised go-forward plan February 2007
Treasury Board grants a fifth amendment to the EPA, extending the time frame for completion of a substantive go-forward plan to late fiscal 2007–2008 October 2007
Independent review validates project’s recovery plan and project team’s readiness to deliver December 2007
Treasury Board grants a sixth amendment to the EPA with a reduced scope for the second release of GCMS August 2008
Independent review confirms that technology is sound, project schedule is achievable and that “success is within sight” June 2009
Treasury Board releases remainder of funding required to complete the project September 2009
Deployment of new GCMS version to existing citizenship users May 2010
GCMS deployment to first visa office overseas June 2010
GCMS deployment to all visa offices overseas is complete March 2011

Project Outcomes

GCMS is CIC’s secure electronic business platform that will integrate citizenship and immigration data worldwide. It will provide a secure and effective system for managing clients that will deliver improved program integrity, increased overall efficiency and better service delivery—all elements of the government agenda—in a complex and changing business environment. GCMS will lay the foundation to support future business improvements and innovations such as the introduction of e-services and improved identity management through biometrics.

Progress Report and Explanations of Variances

The GCMS project is within its approved budgetary estimate of $387 million and deployed GCMS Release 2 (to its first international mission in June 2010) on schedule.

In September 2009, Treasury Board reviewed the latest project status report and released the remainder of the funding required to complete the project.

Previously, in August 2008, Treasury Board granted approval to extend the time required to complete the project to March 31, 2011, and increased the project’s total spending authority to $387 million (including Goods and Services Tax). Consistent with recommendations from independent reviews conducted between December 2006 and December 2007, GCMS Release 2 is being developed with a reduced scope focused on visa offices overseas.

The GCMS project has faced considerable challenges, adding to the cost and time needed to complete the project, including:

  • an overly ambitious scope with no initial phased delivery;
  • a change of government direction to commercial off-the-shelf software;
  • splitting of immigration with the creation of CBSA;
  • amendments to the IRPA, representing a major change in the administration of the immigration system; and
  • a need to respond to increased security risks, while respecting privacy.

Industrial Benefits

This major Crown project does not directly benefit Canadian industry; it is a project to provide CIC with an automated, integrated case management tool to support its global business network and to provide enhanced end-to-end client services to support the delivery of CIC’s services.

Temporary Resident Biometrics Project


Today, the use of biometrics is expanding rapidly given its unique approach and its potential to identify an individual reliably. The introduction of biometric technology into the temporary resident stream screening process will enhance the screening of applicants in the temporary program, thereby fixing the client’s identity at the time of application for a visa or for a study or work permit, and allowing verification of that identity when the individual seeks entry at the border. As a result, Canada will better ensure the safety and security of Canadian society and reduce abuse of the immigration system by limiting opportunities for persons with Canadian criminal or deportation histories to use alternate identities to return to Canada. The project will also facilitate the processing of legitimate temporary workers, students and visitors. Many other countries, including such key migration countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, have either recently implemented or are planning to implement similar projects.

Project Phase:

The Temporary Resident Biometrics Project is currently in its planning/identification phase. During the planning/definition phase, CIC, CBSA and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are working collaboratively to define the solution, as well as the approaches and plans for implementing the Temporary Resident Biometrics Project. A critical first step is the clear definition of a set of comprehensive business and supporting infrastructure requirements agreed to by all partners. Requirements will then be used to define the business solution and how it will work (functional design), how technology will enable the solution (technical design), and how all the pieces fit and work together (supporting architectures).

Substantive plans and strategies for completing the project and managing the business change are expected to be finalized and approved by all partners, culminating 2010–2011 with a submission to obtain Effective Project Approval.

During the implementation phase, expected to begin in 2011, the project will focus on developing, monitoring and controlling deliverables (as defined by the business requirements), while meeting schedule commitments.

Leading and Participating Departments and Agencies
Lead Department Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Contracting Authority PWGSC
Participating Departments CBSA and RCMP

Prime and Major Subcontractor(s)
Prime Contractor None (Tendering in early 2011)
Major Subcontractor(s) Not applicable (N/A)

Major Milestones
Major Milestone Date
Effective Project Approval 2010
Request for Proposal (RFP) Tender 2011
Deployment 2011–2013
Project Shutdown 2013

Project Outcomes

Funding was included in Budget 2008 to enhance and strengthen identity management within the Temporary Resident Program, allowing overseas visa officers and border service officers at ports of entry (POEs) to make decisions based on accurate identity and immigration admissibility information, and permitting border service officers to verify applicants’ identity at Canada’s POEs. The following performance indicators underscore the benefits of the project:

Protect Canadians
Between 2003 and 2007, 0.7 percent of refugee claimants had hits against the RCMP criminal fingerprint database. Based on the current volume of 1.2 million temporary applicants with the assumption of a similar pattern of hit results, it is estimated that fingerprint matching could detect 8,400 known criminals or potential security threats annually.

Reduced Abuse of Visa Program
Biometrics will allow the Government to detect and deter temporary applicants who use different identities, including previously refused visa/permit applicants. Fingerprint matching of refugee claimants between 2003 and 2007 found that 2.5 percent of them made repeat claims, likely under different identities. It is expected that the application of biometrics in the Temporary Resident Program will yield similar results.

Reduced Abuse of Refugee Program
Biometrics will make it possible to cross-reference visa/permit applicants against the refugee claimant database and vice-versa. Even within the limited scope of the field trial (October 2006 to April 2007), 12 cases out of 1,482 recorded entries into Canada were found between the visa and refugee streams—a rate of 0.8 percent. Under the auspices of the Five Country Conference, CIC, in partnership with CBSA and the RCMP, began sharing 3,000 fingerprint records per country per year under the High Value Data Sharing Protocol (Protocol) in September 2009. Canada is exchanging bilaterally with the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. This initiative covers refugee claimants as well as immigration enforcement cases. To date, the Protocol has yielded positive results, including potential interventions and warrant closures. To highlight some successes, as of May 31, 2010, Canada had a 43 percent match rate with the United States, a 4 percent match rate with the United Kingdom and a 0.1 percent match rate with Australia. Given these successes, development of future systematic biometric immigration information is being explored. This type of biometric matching could increase the quality of evidence available for decision makers at the Immigration and Refugee Board to establish the credibility of refugee claims.

Facilitate Removals
Biometrics will facilitate the removal of individuals who should not be in Canada by linking undocumented foreign nationals to the identity and place of origin stated on their visa application. Of the approximately 23,000 refugee claimants in 2006, 30 percent were without identity or travel documents. Biometrics will also detect previous deportees who apply for a Canadian visa under a different identity, thereby preventing them from returning to Canada.

Ensure Border Security
Biometric verification at the POE will allow CBSA officers to confirm that the individual arriving in Canada is the same one to whom CIC issued the visa/permit abroad. Currently, one of the key vulnerabilities is the inability to ensure that the visa/permit and the genuine holder remain together once the document is issued by CIC. It is this gap that resulted in 523 Canadian visas being used fraudulently by foreign nationals to travel to Canada in 2006. This includes altered and counterfeit visas as well as impostor fraud. The actual extent of the abuse is expected to be much higher than this figure suggests.

Progress Report and Explanations of Variances

In late 2007, CIC sought policy approval for the introduction of biometrics into the Temporary Resident Program, and funding to support this initiative was included in Budget 2008. In March 2009, CIC received preliminary approval for the implementation of the Biometrics Project. The Temporary Resident Biometrics Project is currently one year behind in the planning phase of the project; however, it is anticipated to recover this time during the implementation phase, delivering the project by March 2013.

Industrial Benefits

The Temporary Resident Biometrics Project will improve the safety and security of Canadian citizens. Immigration and the granting of Canadian citizenship are vital to the continued growth and prosperity of Canada. To support the Government of Canada outcomes of strong economic growth and a safe and secure world, a balance must be maintained between the desire to welcome newcomers to Canada and the obligation to protect the health, safety and security of Canadian society. Criminals, terrorists and other known inadmissible persons must not be allowed to enter or stay in Canada.