Blog Post

Remote service delivery and the path forward - a 2021 IRCC presentation

By: Marco Campana
July 15, 2023

In a session with an Immigrant and Refugee-serving organization yesterday I shared a couple of slides that I tend to share in many presentations. It's a summary of IRCC's priorities from December 2021. I realized that I've never shared the entire presentation, so here it is for you to access and review.

With some of my thoughts, of course.

For a backgrounder on the survey that led to this presentation, it's worth watching and reviewing IRCC's presentation: Settlement Services during COVID-19: IRCC's 2020 data on the pivot of service providers to virtual service delivery (webinar recording).

Here are the slides I typically extract to share and discuss with sector folks:

As I said yesterday and have shared previously, we don't know how this thinking and perspective has been refined since they were created.

Given the collaboration and research projects happening at the time, I had fully expected IRCC's vision and perspective to continue to be shared, refined through sector and Newcomer consultation, and a path and roadmap made clear.

The sector made the roadmap clear. With IRCC funding, we gave them the roadmap last year. I know I'm like a broken record on this, but if you look at the report, the timelines leading up to the 2024/25 National Call for Proposals couldn't be clearer:

NSCT vision and strategy roadmap with timelines

Why does this matter?

Mainly because of this text on the slide in IRCC's presentation that reads "IRCC’s vision for digital settlement services:"

"Clients are able to access high-quality settlement services online and can opt to complement these with in-person offerings."

The language is important. It reveals a potential preference to fund online services with optional in-person services. Without knowing more, which we need to know, this sentence is entirely problematic.

Of course it should be flipped or completely changed to reflect the realities of hybrid service delivery. That clients can choose between high-quality settlement services in the modality that works best for them, be it in-person or online, and move seamlessly between them.

That idea requires investment. Consultation. Collaboration. Convening.

But since last year IRCC appears to have chosen to mirror the black box of technology development: "a black box is a system which can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs, without any knowledge of its internal workings. Its implementation is 'opaque'."

But worse. Where we recently had an eye on the process, development, ideas, and iterations of IRCC's thinking on digital transformation towards a hybrid service model, and a seat at the table to discuss it with them, we no longer do. This black box mentality needs to shift to become a clear or glass box for the sector: "The opposite of a black box is a system where the inner components or logic are available for inspection, which is most commonly referred to as a white box (sometimes also known as a 'clear box' or a 'glass box')."

Given IRCC's tendency towards black box approaches, the leadership we need for digital transformation has to come from within the sector.

So where is it?

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