Each year IRCC ATIP publishes an annual report that is submitted to the Canadian parliament, it’s required by law. Not only is IRCC subject to this requirement, it applies to all Canadian government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act. As part of this requirement IRCC is required to disclose detailed statistics about the processing of ATIP requests which includes requests for GCMS notes. One such statistic is “Disposition and completion time” which shows how long it takes IRCC to process requests. As an example, below is data compiled from IRCC’s annual reports that shows the “Disposition and completion time”.
This statistic needs to be provided only on an annualized basis – meaning statistics for each month are not provided. It appears that IRCC is taking advantage of this reporting loophole and gamifying the process. How? – For a few years now IRCC has been systemically delaying the release of files; however come February IRCC rapidly releases files. February is when the reporting period for IRCC (and all government institutions) ends. The reporting period is from March 1st to the end of February the following year. As a result of this surge of files being released in February IRCC is able to significantly mask processing delays that occur throughout the year. This is a trend that has played out for a couple of years now; it’s to be seen if it will continue.