Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a) of the question, the number of GEIRA applications received as of April 14, 2016, was 50,530.
Regarding part (b), the number of GEIRA applications approved as of April 14, 2016, was 36,969.
In response to part (c), the number of GEIRA applications denied as of April 14, 2016, was 7,340. In addition, 3,063 incomplete files were closed without a decision being made as a result of applicants not responding to requests for additional information.
In terms of the average length of time to process an application, or part (d), in 2014-15, the department processed 74% of applications within the service standard of 26 weeks.
Regarding the number of applications in backlog, or part (e), as of April14, 2016, 720 applications were in the processing queue for more than the service standard of 26 weeks, which is considered backlog, and 2,163 applications were in the queue for less than 26 weeks, which is inventory. In addition, 275 applications were on hold pending receipt of additional information from applicants.
In response to part (f), or how long there has been a backlog of applications, when Bill C-3 was introduced, the department started receiving applications and decided to keep them on file pending the coming into force of the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act on January 31, 2011. As such, on that date, there was a backlog of 3,900 applications previously put on hold to be processed under the provisions of the new act. The number of applications in the processing queue went up to 9,000 by July 2011, and has been decreasing since then.
Regarding part (g) of the question, the projected date by which the backlog will be eliminated is November 2016. This date is based on the current processing rate, including the number of files to process, the average length of time taken to process an application, and the number of resources available to process.
In response to part (h), causes for delays in processing GEIRA applications, delays were in part caused by the initial backlog of applications on hold pending the coming into force of the GEIRA on January 31, 2011, and the initial influx of applications shortly thereafter. In addition, there were a number of workload issues that were resolved in the first year of operation of the GEIRA processing unit. In particular, progress was slowed initially by the need to hire and train a large number of new officers. A 12-month training program is required for officers to process complex GEIRA applications, which require more in-depth genealogical research and analysis.
Finally, regarding part (i), the staffing shortage, the department is able to address the backlog situation with existing resources by improving training tools for processing officers, and by modernizing its policies, procedures, and processes, which is resulting in greater operational efficiency.