Montrealers are tired of delays in federal government service delivery

Global News reported a week ago on a recent cut in Guaranteed Income Supplement payments to seniors.

Now, more and more community workers are talking about delays and problems in other federal departments, and some experts believe it could be a while before some of the issues are resolved.

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Franz André, coordinator of the Non-Status Action Committee, a support group for refugees, noted that with the volume of people arriving since last fall, he is seeing more delays in services for them.

“Before the border reopened, there were already delays,” André explained, “and I have people who applied in September of last year, 2021, and they are still waiting to get their permits to work.”

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According to André, some people arriving now could easily wait until 2024 to get a work permit and until they do, they have to rely on welfare to make ends meet.

He thinks officials are struggling to keep up.

“The number of people (arriving) is bigger than before,” he pointed out, “and I think right now they are very short-staffed.”

He also questions the application process for asylum seekers, which he says could be more efficient.

Immigration lawyer Emile Barakat says his clients are also experiencing delays because he thinks Immigration Canada is struggling to cope.

“They have a backlog, but every day they get more and more requests,” he said. “That’s why immigration should seriously consider hiring a lot of people.”

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Although he blames the departments for how they handled some of the issues, he said he was sympathetic.

“I understand people’s frustration, but you have to understand that we just went through a pandemic once every 100 years,” he said.

Peter Graefe, associate professor of political science at McMaster University in Hamilton, agrees but says some departments have been poorly planned.

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He thinks that some problems will be solved quickly, but others will not.

“Things like backlogs caused by the pandemic may linger for quite some time,” he told Global News via Zoom. “I mean, it’s not like the treatment was fast before the pandemic and now the line is three times longer.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ashley C. Reynolds