Is there a problem at Vegreville?


If you are in Canada on a temporary visitor, student or work visa, then your renewal or extension applications go through the CIC office in Vegreville, Alberta.  As well, if you are submitting an “in-Canada” sponsorship application, these too go to Vegreville.

A story in the Toronto Sun  is reporting on allegations that staff at Vegreville may be sabotaging files due to labour concerns or disputes with the Federal government (which employs the staff).  Allegations include  mishandling files, or delaying processing, or requesting information that is not relevant or that has been included in the file initially.

These allegations are coming from unnamed sources, but the story cites a “high-profile” immigration lawyer and consultants who are making the allegations.

As anyone who has dealt with Vegreville can attest, that office is not the picture of efficiency or responsiveness.  I have also experienced delayed files and requests for information that had been submitted with the original application.

However, I’ve also experienced this with other CIC offices and consulates around the world.  I’m not sure that Vegreville is much different in this regard.  I would be quite surprised to discover that sabotaging files was indeed happening.  I think most CIC officers are honest and genuine in their application of immigration rules.  Nonetheless, the workload can be high, and staff turnover and holidays can add pressure to an already busy office.

If some lawyers are having great difficulties processing files through Vegreville, then the government has to intervene and correct whatever the problem may be at that office – including staffing levels if that is the problem.  Delays and mishandling of files are not acceptable for any reason.  Immigrants go through a tremendous amount of time and money to work or live in Canada, and we (as a country) have an obligation to treat them fairly before and after they arrive.  An individual should not have to wait indefinitely for a critical decision on their file.

We’ll see if there is any follow-up on this story or if there is any reaction from CIC or the government on this issue.  If so, we’ll post it here on this blog.

If you’ve had problems with your application at Vegreville, post your experience here for discussion.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile