Chinook the tool used by IRCC

Chinook: the controversial tool used by IRCC

Immigration application volumes are constantly rising, and clients are increasingly expecting quicker and easier interactions. Therefore, IRCC has been using advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve client services. However, does the Chinook tool utilize artificial intelligence? Does it make decisions on applications? How do IRCC officers use this tool?

In this article, we’ll answer these questions, but first, let’s explore what Chinook is.

What is the Chinook tool?

Chinook is a Microsoft Excel based tool developed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for temporary resident application processing. According to IRCC, Chinook simplifies the visual representation of a client’s information. But, what does this mean?

Chinook displays (in a more user-friendly way) information stored in:

So it offers a consolidated view of these platforms, instead of a multiple-screen layout of the application’s information. “This is especially important in countries where computer bandwidth is slow, which would otherwise slow down application processing,” said IRCC. It also added that the tool shortens review times per application, which increases productivity.

In December 2020, IRCC measured the performance of Chinook through a sample study for overseas migration offices. The results determined there was an 18-30% gain in efficiency.

When was Chinook created and how is it used by IRCC officers?

IRCC personnel, experts in immigration processing and/or computer sciences, developed Chinook in 2018. However, they officially launched the tool in 2019. Of course, IRCC has implemented multiple iterations as Chinook is subject to further updates and development.

IRCC officers may use the Chinook tool for assessing:

The application information is extracted from The Global Case Management System (GCMS) and presented within Chinook.

For those who are not familiar, GCMS is IRCC’s integrated worldwide electronic information management system. Moreover, IRCC uses this system to (internally) process applications for citizenship, immigration, and certain passport services. Accordingly, the application information in Chinook is the same data as in GCMS.

Chinook administratively supports different steps in the process of assessing an application, depending on the module used. The various modules can assist IRCC with steps such as file management, indicator management, and pre-and post-decision management.

Does the Chinook tool use artificial intelligence?

The tool does not utilize artificial intelligence (AI), nor advanced analytics for decision-making. Moreover, there are no built-in decision-making algorithms.

“It is always an IRCC officer, not the Chinook tool, that makes the final decision on an application,” noted IRCC. It continues:

“Chinook does not assess or make decisions on applications. Officers continue to review all client-submitted information to ensure informed and fair decisions.”

In what applications does IRCC use advanced data analytics?

IRCC uses advanced data analytics in TRV applications submitted from outside Canada, and spousal and common-law partner sponsorship applications submitted in Canada.

On January 24, 2022, IRCC expanded the use of advanced data analytics to reduce the increasing volume of TRV applications. At the time, IRCC said that the analytics system was going to identify routine applications for streamlined processing. It was also going to sort and triage non-routine applications based on their level of complexity. However, the analytics system won’t “refuse or recommend refusing applications,” said IRCC.

To know more about this, please read the following articles:

You can also read: IRCC officers can access your travel information.

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