Urgent Concerns Regarding the Implementation of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP)

Dear Honorable Muhammad Yaseen,

Subject: Urgent Concerns Regarding the Implementation of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP)

RCIC-UA, a trusted organization of Canadian immigration practitioners advocating for fair immigration legislation and promoting ethical and competent representation for the Ukrainian community, is writing to express profound dissatisfaction with the implementation of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) on June 11, 2024.

The launch of the AAIP was marked by severe technical difficulties and a lack of adequate resources. Applicants faced an extremely frustrating experience, attempting to complete a short application form for up to 11 hours and subsequently monitoring the webpage for an additional 12 hours for its reopening. The quality of the webpage was exceedingly poor and clearly unprepared to handle the volume of thousands of applicants eager to apply.

This failure is unprecedented in Canada’s immigration history. For instance, the TR to PR program launched in May 2021 successfully accepted approximately 45,000 completed applications within 12 hours of program reopening. In stark contrast, the AAIP struggled to accept merely 735 applications, indicating a significant deficiency in the proposed implementation.

A critical aspect of the failure was the complete absence of a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) assessment, which the Government of Alberta promotes. The most vulnerable groups of immigrants were particularly disadvantaged in applying for immigration due to the website complications and inefficient policy implementation. Specifically:

  1. Single Parents, Especially Ukrainian Women with Children whose husbands are fighting in Ukraine: These applicants needed to send their kids to school and daycare at the exact time the webpage was launched on June 11 at 8:15 AM, as well as when the second email inviting completion of the application was sent.
  2. Applicants in Low-Paid Positions: These individuals could not afford to skip work for three consecutive days to attempt to complete the dysfunctional online form.
  3. Applicants in Targeted Sectors (Trades, Hospitality, Health): Many of these workers start their jobs at 7 AM and were unable to leave their workplaces to fill out the online form when the site opened.

To prevent future occurrences of such failures, we strongly urge the government to consider the following recommendations:

  1. Ensure Transparency: Provide updates well in advance to allow applicants to prepare and request personal leave if necessary. Schedule selections during weekends to avoid income loss for single parents. Post updates on official websites rather than social media platforms like Twitter.
  2. Ensure Efficiency: Simplify the initial application process with fewer questions and, upon selection, give applicants one day to complete the full form, similar to the Alberta Tech Pathway approach.
  3. Ensure Fairness: Incorporate GBA+ factors in the selection process, considering the challenges faced by working parents, single mothers, individuals with on-call schedules or shifts, those with limited computer literacy or equipment, deaf individuals and others who may struggle with the current speed-based application system. For example, the Federal Government allows people with challenges to use the alternative submission process to ensure that everyone has an equal chance to apply for immigration.

We recognize that there is no perfect solution to manage the number of applicants, but Canada’s extensive experience in this field can help develop a more robust and equitable process compared to the one we saw on June 11, 2024.

Members of RCIC-UA, including those practicing immigration in Alberta, would be happy to be added to the list of stakeholders and participate in any future discussions on the AAIP implementation. Our association would gladly be an intermediary between the Government of Alberta and Ukrainian newcomers who decided to make Alberta their home.

Thank you for your attention to these critical issues. We hope to see prompt and effective action to address these concerns and ensure a fair and efficient immigration process in Alberta.

Sincerely,

Oleg Schindler (R706744), Chair

Bohdana Stepanenko-Lypovyk (R516168), Vice-Chair

Iryna Matsiuk (R513299), Secretary   

Ostap Bosak (R707276), Treasurer

Iryna Atamanchuk (R712265), Board Director

Ivanna Didyk (R706693), Board Director

Daria Grabchuk (R532743), Board Director

Olena Weber (R523872), Board Director

Marina Garvey (R514071), Board Director

Tetiana Karbovanets (R524371), Board Director

Ilya Dolgonos (R526274), Board Director

Svyatoslav Lashkevych (R713072), Board Director

Andriy Papizh (R708496), Board Director

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