There are thousands of people in Canada waiting for their citizenship applications to be completed, and the Canada Employment Immigration Union says more workers are needed to clear the backlog.
Citizenship and Immigration recently contracted 86 temporary workers to help clear a backlog in citizenship applications at the Sydney, N.S. office. All applications from across Canada are processed there.
The average minimum wait is currently 19 months, up from 15 months in May. CIC says it plans to continue using temporary workers to clear the backlog, if it can find the money.
But the union says it is clear there is a need for more permanent workers at the office. Union spokeswoman Theresa MacInnis told CBC News Wednesday this is the third temporary contract some of these workers have been on since being laid off from permanent work a year and a half ago.
"To me it looks like there is a need for additional workers in the workplace," said MacInnis.
"Stabilizing a workforce is always a benefit for continuing work flows and processing."
MacInnis said the uncertainty has some workers looking for other jobs. She isn't sure what the turnover has been, but she said any training of new employees or people new to this processing wastes time and resources.
The latest contract for the 86 additional staff will expire at the end of March.
CIC expects workers will have processed at least 5,000 citizenship applications by that time. It's not known how much of a dent in the backlog that will make.