Canada’s Border Services Agency “lost track” of two-thirds of some 50,000 foreigners who had been hit with deportation orders, an audit presented to parliament on Wednesday found.
The agency, which is responsible for enforcing removal orders for foreigners in Canada, were unable to locate 34,700 foreigners, mainly asylum seekers slated for deportation because their requests had been rejected, the report by the Office of the Auditor-General said.
In the remaining 15,300 pending cases, the agency knew their whereabouts but in many cases had delayed action for several years.
“Most orders had been enforceable for years, including criminal cases and failed asylum claimants,” the report said.
“The accumulation of enforceable removal orders has been an ongoing issue for the Canada Border Services Agency,” it said, adding that enforcement was hindered by poor data and flaws in case management.
Also contributing to the backlog were deficiencies in information sharing with Canada’s immigration, refugee and citizenship ministry, it found.
At the time of audit, Canada had also suspended expulsion to some 15 countries, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Iraq.
During the 2018-2019 period, the agency said it had deported nearly 9,500 foreigners but in reality 2,800 of those were turned away at the border and never formally admitted to the country.
Canada has received a growing number of requests for asylum in recent years, increasing from about 50,000 in 2017 to 64,000 in 2019.