New Portals, Old Portal Woes

by Ronalee Carey Law

October 2021

 It’s not often that immigration lawyers get excited about Federal budgets, but the 2021 budget contained some welcomed news:


… Budget 2021 provides IRCC with 428.9 million dollars over five years, starting in 2021-2022 (with 398.5 million dollars in remaining amortization) to develop and deliver an enterprise-wide digital platform that will improve application processing and better support applicants, beginning in 2023.

Anyone who had to login to an IRCC secure account recently likely experienced any number of error messages.  The portal for authorized representatives has had similar problems, and system-wide outages have affected them both.  I spent much of last weekend working on an Express Entry application due Monday.  I don’t usually leave things to the last minute, but my assistant and I could not access the account to complete the data entry and upload the clients’ documents for the entire week before.

To ease the burden on the outdated secure account structure, IRCC has implemented numerous new portals for specific categories of applications.  It started with the TR to PR program portal, which was heavily criticized as authorized representatives were not permitted to login to their client’s accounts.  Since then, IRCC has introduced a Permanent Resident Portal and a Representative Permanent Residence (PR) Portal.  These new portals accept family sponsorship applications, protected persons applying for permanent resident status, In-Canada Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations and Permit Holders Class, and some economic applications such as non-Express Entry provincial nominee applications.  I have not had any issues logging into this new portal.  However, the representative portal includes a section for clients to review their information and documents and electronically sign their applications.  Several of my clients have had issues logging in with the information provided to them by IRCC.  Thankfully, updating the client’s email address triggered another notice with new login information.


I have not yet used the new portal for visitor visa applications but have heard positive feedback from colleagues.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the new Canadian Refugee Protection Portal, which a colleague described as a ‘disaster.’  

For those of you navigating the clunky old portal and having trouble logging in, here are a few tricks to try:

  • If you are presented with the ‘welcome’ page (the one asking you to choose French or English), close the browser, reopen it, and without clearing your cache, try logging in again. 
  • If that doesn’t work, clear your cache/browsing history, close the browser, and then reopen it and try logging in again.
  • Next, repeat the steps above with different browsers.
  • In Chrome, use Incognito mode and in Edge, use InPrivate browsing. 
  • If you receive an error message, try clicking the back arrow or Alt-back arrow.  Do this each time you receive the error message.
  • Avoid business hours; try first thing in the morning or late at night.

Work-life balancing has been hard while dealing with all of these technical issues.  I don’t ask my staff to work at 11 pm on a weeknight.  The introduction of the new system will be a banner day for all of us in the immigration field.