Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) has a call-center to provide customer service. The information is here:
Telephone: 1-888-242-2100 (in Canada only)
- Automated telephone service (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
If you have a touch-tone telephone, you can listen to pre-recorded information about our programs, and check the status of your application.
- Client Support Centre agents – Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., your local time, except for statutory holidays. Services are available in French and English.
Agents can help you with general and case specific enquiries. They cannot:
- make decisions on applications
- help process applications faster, unless you meet the criteria for urgent processing
Relying on the Call Center
In Ni v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2014 FC 725, the IRCC call-center instructed an applicant to provide a certain document, and made a representation that this would result in the approval of the application. The applicant did just that, and the application was refused. Justice Brown wrote:
… the failure of justice in this case arises solely from the Applicant following CIC’s instructions. Therefore, as between these two parties, responsibility must fall on the party who directed the erroneous course of conduct, which is in this case is CIC through its call centre. The Applicant cannot be required to suffer the loss of her PGWP, loss of temporary student resident status and her immediate removal from Canada, simply because she followed CIC’s instructions even though those turned out to be incorrect.
Contacting the IRCC Call Center
When the IRCC call-center e-mails someone, it is important that applicants follow their instructions. In a stringent case, Justice Pentney stated that it was reasonable for IRCC to not respond to, or review, information that an applicant provided when they e-mailed the Call Center instead of submitting a Case Specific Enquiry as requested, especially given that the IRCC e-mail said “do not reply to this e-mail.”
Finally, I note that the claim of a denial of procedural fairness rests on the claim that the PA’s legal representative called the Respondent’s call centre to report the difficulty, and she then received an email outlining what she should do to address the problem. The PA claims that her representative replied to this email but did not receive a response. The difficulty with this is that the email the PA’s representative received from the call centre stated clearly “Do not reply to this email”. It can hardly be unfair for the Respondent to fail to follow up on any email sent in the face of that instruction, when the Respondent had provided clear instructions as to how to go about addressing the matter through an online form. The record also shows that in early January 2018, the Respondent sent a further response to the PA’s representative, with instructions as to how to address the problem with the online portal, and an explanation of what steps she should take if that did not resolve the problem.