Citizenship and Immigration starts on database project

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be keeping closer tabs on visitors and residents coming in and out of the country through a comprehensive database that will be a single point of reference for the ministry.

The project,

dubbed Global Case Management System (GSMS), was first announced in April and is just getting under way now. Management consulting firm Accenture was hired on by the CIC in a two-part contract to help define and carry out the project worth an estimated $54 million over three years. Services company Ajilon Consulting is also participating.

Accenture has chosen Siebel‘s eGovernment product to be the basis for the GSMS running on Microsoft’s SQL Server database.

“”The solution will be replacing a whole series of legacy systems . . . somewhere in the 15 to 20 range,”” said Graeme Gordon, a consultant in Accenture’s global immigration, justice and national security practice “”What’s really important is it’s a single view of the client . . . and allow them to get that single view across multiple channels, not just in Canada but around the world in the embassies.””

“”They’re using our system in a dual purpose role,”” said Frank Bishop, vice-president and general manager of Siebel’s public sector practice. “”To improve the service for people immigrating to Canada, including foreign visitors and refugees coming into the country, and build a case around each one of these individuals.””

There are more than 110 million people entering the country every year, according to CIC spokesman René Mercier. Some are citizens returning from overseas, some are visitors to the country, others are new immigrants or refugees. “”We’ve got to process these people in an efficient manner,”” said Mercier. “”The technology has evolved. . . . Instead of having to go through several systems, you’ll have to type the name once and you’ll get everything we have at the CIC on that person.””

The system will help process the routine or “”low risk”” entrants to Canada but also help to track criminal or terrorist activity as well as illegal immigrants. The system will be of use not only to immigration officials but also police and other agencies like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

“”In some cases all they’re doing is exchanging data with us. In other cases they’ll actually going to go in and use some of the functionality that the system provides to actually go and view the data,”” said Gordon.

“”It’s a question of making it more simple,”” said Mercier. “”Imagine you have a line-up of people coming off the plane or a line-up of cars at the border and you have to enter two or three systems before you have all the information you need. It’s a really a thing of making it easier for our officers and faster for the clients.””

In some cases, new immigrants to Canada may “”jump the gun,”” he added. Mercier recalled one case where citizens from a European country moved to Montreal and settled down before their paperwork was even completed. Once the CIC discovered them, they were deported. “”You’re not OK until we’ve said you’re OK,”” said Mercier. “”The fact that you’ve got a marriage licence doesn’t mean that you’re married.””

The GSMS would help to cut down and prevent such incidents from happening in the future, he added.

The database will first be rolled out in at CIC headquarters in Ottawa with approximately 250 seats starting in October, then at regional offices across the country. Over the length of the three-year contract, Canada’s embassies across the world will receive the software.

Canada is leading the way in terms of this type of case management, according to Bishop. “”They’re going to have one the newest and most flexible systems being used in immigration globally,”” he said, adding that the U.S. is looking for a similar management system. Siebel is currently bidding on the contract which has yet to be awarded to a vendor.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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