Evidence of meeting #26 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was visa.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Sharon Chomyn  Director General, International Region, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Sidney Frank  Immigration Program Manager, New Delhi, India, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Gulzar Cheema  As an Individual
  • Dan Bohbot  President, Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association (AQAADI)

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Yes, if you can get a brief answer.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

As an employer, is there some response to that visa officer, for making those kinds of mistakes?

4:15 p.m.

Director General, International Region, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Sharon Chomyn

If you're suggesting that perhaps the officer should be more motivated to refuse applications than to accept applications, that is not the case at all.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

I'm just wondering, not suggesting.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Okay.

4:15 p.m.

Director General, International Region, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Sharon Chomyn

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to phrase it that way.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Mr. Albas, welcome to the committee.

You have a whole five minutes.

March 8th, 2012 / 4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The whole five minutes? I'll use it wisely, I hope.

We often hear in the media, and I've heard stories as well, about people who obtain fraudulent documentation to gain entry into Canada. From my understanding, applicants are not just getting fake passports anymore. There are fake birth certificates, security checks, diplomas, and the list goes on.

Would you say that document fraud has become much more sophisticated? If so, can you give us some examples of that?

4:20 p.m.

Immigration Program Manager, New Delhi, India, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Sidney Frank

I guess it becomes more sophisticated as technology becomes more sophisticated.

My previous posting was in China, where technology is extremely important. In China, they will blend photos so that individuals can sit language tests for applicants who don't have a high level of English proficiency. This can be for permanent resident applications in the skilled-worker category, or it can be for student applications. It's highly sophisticated how they blend the photo so that when an individual comes to the testing site, and their identity is checked, the individual who is sitting the exam looks like the individual he or she is replacing.

There is a great deal of sophistication.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

It's fair to say that it's getting harder to notice whether a document is genuine or not.

4:20 p.m.

Immigration Program Manager, New Delhi, India, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Sidney Frank

Yes, but we're pretty good at it, I would like to say.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

What is the government doing to keep up with the level of fraud that is occurring then?

4:20 p.m.

Immigration Program Manager, New Delhi, India, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Sidney Frank

We have a constant training of officers. We have an anti-fraud unit. We're finding these things out. As soon as we find them, we tell the officers. We get the word out, and we tell them what to look for. It's a challenge, but it's in some ways an exciting challenge.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

When reviewing files, how culturally sensitive are you concerning information such as names? A good example would be when we translate into English the name of someone who comes from a culture that doesn't use our alphabet. How secure are we that we are doing it correctly?

From your experience, can you give us some examples of when a name has been mistranslated and resulted in a security risk or a criminal gaining entry into Canada?

4:20 p.m.

Director General, International Region, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Sharon Chomyn

Application forms are to be filled out in either English or French.

If there are difficulties with translations, the source of that might be the applicant himself or herself and whoever assisted them with the form. Are you still collecting the Chinese script in China?