Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm very happy to be here, and I thank the honourable members for their interest in this very important issue.
I have been following the deliberations of this committee very closely. As a public servant with 23 years of experience at CIC, and as the Associate Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for carrying out the Minister's instructions regarding Lost Canadians, I hope I can, along with my colleagues, answer any outstanding questions you may still have.
With me today are Margaret Dritsas, nationality law advisor; John Warner, analyst; Rosemarie Redden, manager, citizenship case review; Clark Goodman, acting director, CIC program delivery; Rose Anne Poirier, manager, program support; and Eric Stevens, legal counsel. Melba Hefferon and Hugh MacDonald, who live and work in Sydney, Nova Scotia, are not here today because of their responsibilities as primary caregivers.
As the minister was just here last week updating the committee about the question of lost citizenship and other issues, I will keep my opening remarks brief.
As you know, the minister instructed the department in January to dedicate resources specifically to dealing with these cases that have come to be known as lost Canadians.
And we have done that. Among other things, we have set up a dedicated line in our call centre so that those with questions about their citizenship would be served by operators trained to address those types of questions.
We also ensured that those cases that require further investigation are given prompt and individual attention. As an additional measure, we launched a public awareness advertising campaign last week. Since setting up our dedicated phone lines, we have been able to confirm to over 96% of our callers that they are indeed Canadian citizens. Since launching the public awareness campaign, we have received an increase in the number of calls, but again, in over 96% of the cases we have been able to confirm citizenship.
We have continued our concerted effort to resolve the citizenship status of those new and existing cases that have been brought to our attention. Today our inventory is approximately 300, which includes the cases on hold because of the Taylor decision. With the help of our legal colleagues, we have been able to limit, to the extent possible, the number of cases that must be held in abeyance because of the Federal Court of Appeal order. This number now stands at approximately 250, but this situation is not static. Our inventory of cases will continue to fluctuate as new cases are identified and existing cases are resolved.
As you know, Mr. Chair, the Minister last week told this Committee that she plans to introduce legislative amendments to the Citizenship Act in the fall, to address the most pressing circumstances the Committee has been looking at.
Once Parliament has tabled new legislation and amendments are in place, as the associate assistant deputy minister I am absolutely committed to ensuring that we will implement with the dedication and professionalism that we in the operations sector have always brought to our work. In the interim, my colleagues and I will continue to do our very best to help those who have questions about their citizenship status to resolve them with the best possible outcome.
Merci, monsieur le président.