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Does IRCC really use Artificial Intelligence for our applications?

Does IRCC really use Artificial Intelligence for our applications?

LEAKED documents show how Canada visa officers process applications

In the realm of Canadian visa applications, a crucial yet lesser-known aspect determines the fate of many aspiring visitors, students, and workers. This pivotal element is Chinook, a Microsoft Excel-based tool employed by immigration officers. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Chinook, shedding light on how it affects the outcome of visa applications.

In response to the surge in visa applications over the years, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) developed Chinook. Launched in 2018, Chinook operates in conjunction with the Global Case Management System (GCMS). Its purpose is to streamline and expedite the processing of temporary resident visa applications, study permits, and work permits.

The Inner Workings of Chinook: Modules and Functions

Chinook comprises six modules, each serving a specific function:

  1. File Management (Module 1): This module allows users to self-assign applications, streamlining the process based on the user’s processing tasks. However, it’s not universally implemented across all migration offices.
  2. Pre-Assessment (Module 2): Designed for program assistants, this module enables pre-assessment tasks, such as confirming supporting documents and verifying a client’s financial capacity. It’s used in select offices and serves as a template for preliminary assessments.
  3. Decision-Maker (Module 3): This module presents the Decision-Makers with an insightful report (Module 3 Report) that consolidates key application information in a single Excel spreadsheet. This information includes crucial details like name, age, purpose of visit, and more.
  4. Post Decision (Module 4): This module aids Decision-Makers in recording final decisions and provides a notes generator for creating reasons, particularly in case of application refusals.
  5. Indicator Management (Module 5): This module allows users to submit requests to add, renew, or modify “risk indicators” and “local word flags”. These indicators and flags significantly impact the decision-making process.
  6. Quality Assurance (Module 6): This module focuses on maintaining the quality and accuracy of the decisions made.

Deciphering the Decision-Making Process

The Module 3 Report, a crucial aspect of Chinook, presents application information in a single Excel spreadsheet with 27 columns. These columns encompass essential data such as name, age, purpose of visit, and citizenship, providing a snapshot for Decision-Makers to base their decisions.

Understanding “Risk Indicators” and “Local Word Flags”

Risk indicators help Decision-Makers by notifying them of trends detected by IRCC, such as past fraudulent activities by specific entities like companies or educational institutions. However, the exact criteria for these risk indicators remain undisclosed, making them a subject of speculation.

Local Word Flags, on the other hand, assist in prioritizing time-sensitive applications based on certain keywords. These keywords can relate to urgent events like weddings or funerals. However, they can also flag specific phrases or terms that may either favor or disfavor an applicant.


Chinook, though not artificial intelligence, plays a significant role in the processing of Canadian visa applications. It streamlines the decision-making process, allowing Decision-Makers to efficiently handle a substantial number of applications. Understanding the nuances of Chinook provides applicants with valuable insights, emphasizing the importance of crafting precise and relevant application documents. Transparency and awareness regarding the decision-making process are vital steps towards ensuring fairness and efficiency in the immigration process.



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