Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney in Ottawa, Monday, Sept 10, 2012. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
OTTAWA - The feds are working on a same-day notification system so provincial governments know right away when someone has been removed from Canada and can quickly cut off welfare and other benefits, QMI Agency has learned.
A government source confirms the system is set for launch in the fall.
Currently, the feds send faxes to provincial authorities to inform them of someone's deportation - a process Immigration Minister Jason Kenney admits could be faster.
"We've identified gaps in the system, quite frankly, I think based on the fact that we've been using old technology," Kenney said Monday. "I've been in discussions, as have my officials, with the Ontario department of social services in particular for the past year or 18 months to improve communications."
Provincial governments blame slow info from the feds for their inability to stop sending welfare cheques to rejected refugee claimants, even months after they've been kicked out of the country.
The Canada Border Services Agency has found that's especially burdensome for Ontario, where thousands of dubious Roma - or Gypsy - refugee claimants from Hungary congregate yearly, qualifying for welfare as soon as they set foot in Canada.
Though 95% of their claims are ultimately rejected, abandoned or withdrawn, they still collect welfare benefits while their cases are processed.
Kenney said Ontario should impose a three-month waiting period for refugee claimants to qualify for welfare benefits.
"So, we've asked Ontario to review the eligibility rules for welfare," he said. "We don't think it's helpful to create a pull factor for false claims."
Ontario's ministry of community and social services doesn't like Kenney's idea.
"The ministry has concerns about the potential human rights implications of altering the current eligibility criteria," Charlotte Wilkinson said from the ministry's media management office.
Wilkinson also blamed the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act for forcing Ontario to automatically grant welfare to refugee claimants.