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Section 4: Other Items of Interest

Corporate Management and Services Program Activity


As described previously in the TBS approved PAA, the Corporate Management and Services program activity provided support to the three IRB program activities through a range of management and oversight services, HR management, financial management, legal services, communications, procurement and assets management, information technology, information management, internal audit services and evaluation services. It also provided the IRB with efficient management processes and administrative services while promoting organizational effectiveness, and implemented various government-wide management and improvement initiatives. In addition, the Corporate Management and Services program activity ensured that all corporate management services are integrated into the business of the IRB.

As previously described in Section 1, the shortfall in the number of decision-makers reduced the operating and salary expenses in the Refugee Protection and Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews program activities. This created an opportunity to further improve management practices in the Corporate Management and Services program activity. As noted in its 2007-2008 RPP, the IRB was planning a number of initiatives and improvements in this program activity.

Performance Highlights

The Corporate Management and Services major activities were aligned with the strategic priorities set out for the organization. The following table summarizes the key performance results that were achieved.

Table 4.1: Corporate Management and Services Plans and Expected Results


Strategic Outcome: Provide Canadians with well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law
Strategic Priority 1
Consolidate the integration of the work of the Board's divisions to ensure quality, consistency and fairness in the efficient resolution of cases in a time of transition
Plans Results
Participate in and coordinate national and international events (including conferences) to showcase the IRB's integration efforts and position the IRB as a leader in the administrative justice community in Canada and in the refugee and immigration sector internationally
  • In November 2007, the IRB introduced a revised Conference Coordination Strategy with the purpose of refining national conference coordination. The strategy served to define internal roles and responsibilities and provide conference participation instructions to ensure effective internal coordination in order to maximize the benefits of its outreach engagements
  • International conference participation was undertaken with a view to ensuring appropriate participation in conferences to deliver strategic messages about the IRB and to continue to enhance international partnership relationships. Participation resulted in opportunities to share IRB expertise and learn from the experience of other institutions in areas of current interest
  • In the Canadian administrative justice community, the IRB also participated in selected conferences, providing opportunities for the Board to enhance its reputation through discussions of best practices and sharing of information with similar organizations
Strategic Priority 2
Continue to build an organization that strengthens its operational and leadership capacity, its diversity and its flexibility
Plans Results
Continue to build on the 2006-2007 Employment Equity (EE) initiatives with a two-year IRB EE strategy, supported by robust communications activities
  • The first initiative of the EE Strategy was implemented in March 2008, whereby Phase I of the Mentoring Program was launched for members of designated groups (Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities)
  • As result for Phase 1, 16 employees have been selected as mentorees and 11 managers have committed to act as mentors
  • IRB continues to contribute in implementing a robust EE program, e.g. by participating in a collective process to establish a fully-assessed pool of qualified EX-01 visible minority candidates and increase the number of visible minorities in the Executive group
Continue to review the Official Languages (OL) program, including policy, training and infrastructure
  • In order to be more responsive to the needs of its clients, the IRB had undertaken the following in 2007-2008:
    • A new chapter on the administration of justice has been developed for an upcoming inclusion in the OL Policy
    • Recommendations approved by the CMB related to the administration of justice in both official languages were implemented
    • The IRB produced its first Corporate Integrated HR Plan. The plan incorporates language training as professional development opportunities
    • An OL information campaign was launched in February 2008 to help raise awareness among members, public service employees and senior management of the IRB nationwide, of their obligations and rights under the OLA
Continue the implementation of the People Management Strategy by focusing, namely, on the development of a wellness strategy and a talent management program
  • The implementation continued as planned. Following an analysis of the Public Service Employee Survey, interviews were conducted with managers and union representatives in order to focus on priority employee and organizational wellness issues. Recommendations related to effective people management, the review of the roles and responsibilities and the development of a talent management framework will continue to be implemented into the next reporting period
Strategic Priority 3
Continue to improve adjudicative and case management strategies including the implementation of Stage 1 of the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS)
Plans Results
Legal Services to develop a national reasons database
  • Work in progress: the business requirements were developed in consultation with the users
Amend the IRB rules of practice
  • Work on amending the IRB Rules of Practice was deferred to the future because of competing policy priorities
Finalize the transition of ICMS resources, tools, procedures and infrastructure to the IS Directorate to provide the necessary maintenance of ICMS applications
  • The necessary acquisition of support capacity, including the transfer of knowledge, to finalize the transition of ICMS resources, tools, procedures and infrastructure to the IS Directorate was completed
Facilitate effective change management in preparation for the transition to ICMS through comprehensive training, communications and change management plans
  • The necessary acquisition of support capacity, including the transfer of knowledge, for the ICMS was achieved
  • All conditions stipulated in the TB Submission were met
  • The ICMS project was completed and the system was rolled out in April 2007. The system business requirements have since changed and as a result enhancements are required to update the ICMS.The ICMS is currently being supported with scheduled maintenance releases to address the identified changes
Provide ongoing maintenance and support to ICMS in production
  • The ICMS project was completed and the system was rolled out in April 2007. Over the last fiscal year, the Information Systems Directorate had deployed four maintenance releases to maintain the ICMS in production
  • Sufficient knowledge transfer and organizational capacity were achieved to support and maintain the ICMS to eventually replace STAR and become the primary system of record for the RPD
Strategic Priority 4
Implement a horizontal and fully integrated management plan that reflects the IRB's current reality
Plans Results
Planning and Accountability
Continue the implementation of the Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS) Policy
  • The IRB Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture were approved by the Chairperson. Furthermore, the performance measurement framework and the IRB governance structure were submitted to the TBS to comply with the MRRS
The Risk Management Plan updated to reflect new strategic priorities, the Government Management Agenda and the implementation of the Legal Risk Management System
  • Quarterly risk exercises were implemented to manage strategic, operational and legal risks in accordance with government-wide approach to risk management
  • Legal risk management measures were approved and integrated into the strategic planning process
Continue to comply with the new Internal Audit policy
  • Internal Audit Charter Policy was drafted and an Audit Committee Charter was developed. Introduction of the second year of the new Audit Policy Suite was not fully completed. Recruitment of an external member in progress. Potential candidates provided to the TBS during subsequent reporting period
  • A fundamental control framework action plan was approved by the CMB
Provide effective financial planning and budgeting using activity-based budgeting (ABB), A-Base Reviews and other tools to support the resourcing process within the IRB
  • All expected results were achieved, including approval of the 2008-2009 budget allocation prior to commencement of the FY
  • IRB planning and budgeting process met the expenditure Management Cycle
  • Minor adjustments were made to the ABB model to reflect IAD Innovation and adjudicative support strategy. ICMS changes have been delayed until further ICMS releases are in place
Ensure ongoing implementation of integrated HR and business planning , including the development of additional planning tools
  • Work related to integrated human resources and business planning at the IRB continued throughout 2007-2008, with the creation of a framework, template, and supporting tools to facilitate the development of integrated HR and business plans across the organization
  • Corporate Integrated HR Plan was developed and outlines its four key HR priorities over the next three years:
    • Implementing more efficient and effective recruitment and staffing strategies, policies and tools, including strategic succession plans, for existing and new IRB employees
    • Emphasizing learning and development opportunities and career enhancement for all personnel, which is essential in attracting and retaining skilled and engaged employees
    • Creating an enabling, fair and safe work environment to generate high levels of employee engagement
Enhance the IRB IT Planning Framework to be in line with IRB business plans
  • A three-year IT plan was developed in draft form. The IT plan was fully integrated into the IRB business plan
  • A plan for the modernization of IT architecture and business practices was developed. The full implementation will occur over several years
  • An Architecture Review Board was created to support IT modernization. Through alignment of IT practices and reviews of the architecture, the work of the Board resulted in increased efficiency of the IRB's IT capabilities
People Management
Revise a Code of Conduct for decision-makers and public service employees of the IRB
  • The Code of Conduct for IRB decision-makers has been updated. The new Code was implemented in early 2008-2009
  • The Code of Conduct for IRB public service employees has not been implemented as the IRB is waiting for TBS' Code of Conduct; IRB public service employees were made aware of the conduct required under the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service by attending mandatory awareness sessions
Ensure ongoing implementation of Classification Reform
  • The IRB implemented the appropriate tools and is compliant with legislative requirements
Develop policies on GIC terms and conditions of employment
  • This has been postponed to 2008-2009 due to concurrent strategic priorities
Review and update accountability profiles for GICs
  • This has been postponed to 2008-2009 pending the results of the Roles and Responsibility Review
Modernization of GIC resource planning to ensure that the IRB has the necessary complement of decision-makers
  • Planning for human and financial resources related to GIC appointments has been integrated to IRB activity planning cycles. In order to ensure that candidates are readily available for appointments, training was planned and conducted and additional resources were allocated to GIC Secretariat Services to support the selection process. The shortage of decision-makers is due to insufficient GIC appointments
Continue HR modernization implementation including HR Planning and Informal Conflict Resolution to ensure compliance with legislative requirements, monitoring practices, exploring of opportunities under the Public Service Employment Act and development of any necessary additional policies/tools
  • Meetings were held with all Branch Heads in early 2008 to discuss their integrated HR and business plans and to seek additional information and understanding of their needs
  • In-house informal conflict resolution (ICR) workshops were offered to both employees and managers
  • IRB concluded an agreement with the Office of Conflict Resolution at CIC to obtain, upon request, informal conflict resolution services to IRB employees to resolve workplace conflicts
  • Second review of HR policies and procedures to ensure they meet the needs of the Board and legislative requirements
  • The Staffing Management Accountability Framework was revised and will be finalized in 2008-2009
  • Staffing activity reports are provided to the Public Service Commission on a regular basis
  • Public Service Staffing Tribunal complaints were monitored closely in order to identify issues that may need to be addressed
  • Monitoring of employee and manager participation in all required training activities has resulted in increased compliance with TBS Policy on Learning, Training and Development and the Directive on the Administration of Required Training
Financial Management
Begin the implementation of the CFO model
  • Completed. Further to discussions with TBS, it was confirmed that the CFO position is the Director General, Corporate Planning and Services Branch (CPSB)
Implement formal financial monitoring function
  • Monitoring activities (regional visits, sampling of salary transactions and quarterly reports of findings) were implemented and provide management with a greater assurance of compliance
Participate in TBS Renewal of Policies and Directives
  • No new TBS policies/directives implemented during 2007-2008 under the responsibility of CPSB
  • IRB has the appropriate mechanisms for the timely update of its directives and procedures once TBS policies are published
Security
Enhance the comprehensive security program and ensure a robust communications strategy
  • Three new Policy Frameworks (IT Security Incident Handling, Log Management and Wireless) were established and implemented
  • E-mail and network acceptable usage policies were updated
  • A Disaster Recovery (DR) plan was introduced and a DRsite wasbuilt in Montral
  • A Pandemic Plan was developed
  • Security training sessions were conducted, enhancing the level of security awareness of all employees
Procurement and Asset Management
Implement a comprehensive procurement and asset management program
  • The IRB's procurement program has been significantly improved and now reflects a consistent IRB-wide approach to file management, reporting, and application of TB and PWGSC policies and procedures. In terms of Asset Management, the IRB has begun the implementation of a software that will track assets and capture contract, warranty, and depreciation information
  • A draft IRB Asset Management policy was completed. This policy will align IRB with TB Materiel Management and Disposal policies, and allow the proper recording of disposed assets
  • Following an audit of regional offices, training and corrective measures were undertaken to further ensure that the IRB is in compliance with TBS policies and directives
  • Due to the magnitude of the project and the numerous stakeholders involved, the modernization of the contracting regime could not be fully completed. Postponed to 2008-2009
Information Management
Continue the implementation of the relevant elements of the Information Management action plan
  • One major element of the Information Management action plan was accomplished. IRB's retention and disposition schedule has been approved and implemented. Completion of other elements postponed to 2008-2009 due to competing priorities
Information Systems
Support all systems and users (external and internal) effectively and in accordance with service standards
  • National Call Centre (NCC) support mechanisms were developed to enhance services and accessibility to external and internal users via telephone and electronic requests
  • Service standards were met. Clients were provided with technical services, application upgrades and advice as required
Strategic Communications and Partnerships
Continue to strengthen outreach efforts and improve stakeholder and Parliamentary relations
  • Through participation in outreach events and conferences, the IRB continued to develop its relationship with NGOs, stakeholders and other groups
  • The Terms of Reference for the Consultative Committee on Practices and Procedures (CCPP), representing the IRB's key stakeholders, were revised to focus on consultation of IRB policies
  • Through three CCPP meetings IRB executives and stakeholders were brought together for exchanges on key policy and procedural issues, which resulted in improved understanding and cooperation
Introduce revamped external Web site
  • Work continued on the IRB internet site in preparation for its launch later in 2008. The site will allow the IRB to provide the Canadian public and our clients with accurate and relevant information in a more timely manner




Organizational Information

Roles and Responsibilities Review

As planned in the 2007-2008 IRB Report on Plans and Priorities, the Board initiated a review of its senior management roles and responsibilities during the last quarter of the reporting period. The purpose of the review was to identify any overlaps, gaps or unclear accountabilities between and among GIC positions and/or public service management positions. As well, it examined how the IRB's organizational structure can be optimized to fulfill its mandate in the most effective and efficient manner within the current statutory framework. The recommendations were delivered and will be acted upon in the next planning and reporting period.

Organizational Chart

Figure 4.1: IRB Organizational Chart

IRB Organizational Chart

(Click on image to enlarge)

Chairperson

The Chairperson is the IRB's Chief Executive Officer, senior decision-maker and spokesperson. Providing overall leadership and direction to the Board's three decision-making divisions, the Chairperson is responsible for creating and promoting a vision of the IRB that unifies all IRB personnel around the common purpose of making timely and just decisions on immigration and refugee matters.

In addition to the broad responsibility of the management of Governor-in-Council appointees, the Chairperson has a range of statutory powers at his disposal to provide assistance to decision-makers in order to enhance the quality, consistency and efficiency of decision-making. The Chairperson is accountable to Parliament and reports to it through the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Executive Director

The position of Executive Director has remained vacant pending the review of the roles and responsibilities of senior managers at the IRB. Following the report's recommendations, the Executive Director's work description will be reviewed during the next reporting period in order to clarify its relationship with the Chairperson and the division heads. The IRB plans on staffing the position following this revision.

Senior Management

Two Deputy Chairpersons (appointed by the Governor-in-Council) and one Director General (appointed under the Public Service Employment Act) oversee the decision-making in the three divisions. Four Directors General and a Senior General Counsel (all appointed under the Public Service Employment Act) are responsible for the corporate management and services functions, operations of the IRB and legal services.



IAD Innovation

In response to a growing inventory of immigration appeals, the IRB launched the IAD Innovation initiative in late 2005, to comprehensively re-examine all the processes by which IAD appeals are resolved. Following extensive internal and external consultations, the Chairperson released the IAD Innovation Plan in March 2006. The IAD Innovation Plan sought to transform the IAD into a more proactive and flexible tribunal that maximizes the opportunities for parties to resolve appeals within the shortest possible time.

The basic direction is to create a more proactive tribunal by introducing:

  • more information earlier from the parties
  • more effective case management and triage (screening and streaming of cases)
  • early informal resolution
  • a more proactive hearing - more focused and efficient

During the 2007-2008 reporting period, the IAD has continued to make changes in conformity with the principles and ideas generated through the IAD Innovation initiative. Public service emloyees at the Board assumed responsibility for the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program, to free up more decision-makers for hearings. The adjudicative support for the IAD included a comprehensive triage process to effectively screen and stream all appeals. The IAD began to develop enhanced hearing readiness procedures to reduce postponements and adjournments and to facilitate more proactive hearings.

Two pilot projects were completed and continued:

  • The CBSA agreeing to appear through written submissions (rather than in person) in residency obligation appeal hearings (Eastern and Central Regions)
  • ID-IAD streamlining project – to facilitate the person concerned waiving the right to an oral admissibility hearing and entering into a joint recommendation for a stay of their removal order by the IAD (Central Region)

We continued to develop adjudication strategies to deal with caseload and legal issues in a strategic and consistent manner. The focus was on proactive hearings, where the decision-maker is more involved in managing the hearing to ensure that it is focused on the key issues. Implementation included the development of training materials, several professional development sessions for decision-makers and discussion on best practices.



Integration of Adjudicative Support

To respond more effectively to changes in its volume of work, the IRB has taken two important measures that have had the effect of transforming the way we carry out our mandate. The first has been to thoroughly review how the work is done. With respect to refugee claims, the Chairperson's Action Plan produced significant results through a review of business processes. A similar exercise took place in the IAD, with the Innovation initiative. The second measure that the Board has taken has been to promote functional integration of the three divisions, subject to legal and practical constraints. This has entailed training some decision-makers to hear cases in more than one division.

A major component of functional integration has been to expand the level of adjudicative support to the decision-making process across all three divisions. The integration of adjudicative support is aimed at improving quality and consistency through effective pre-hearing preparation and resolution of cases, as well as enhancing efficiency by enabling decision-makers to focus on their adjudicative functions with the assurance that they are receiving the best available information to make their decisions. Finally, an integrated approach to tribunal support is consistent with the core values of flexibility and responsiveness to business needs that are key components of public service modernization.

On April 1, 2007, a restructuring of public service adjudicative support ensured that the three divisions were supported effectively. The existing community of Refugee Protection Officers (RPOs), Operations Service Managers (OSMs), Quality Project Officers (QPOs) and Regional Program Analysts (RPAs) were amalgamated to include tribunal officers and the mandates for OSMs, QPOs and RPAs were expanded to serve all three divisions. The tribunal officers received training in areas of immigration and refugee law. In addition to accessing employment at a higher classification level, RPOs saw career advancement possibilities expand with new competencies in hand. The Board is benefiting from new efficiencies and flexibility when assigning adjudicative support resources to various functions. The new structure places special emphasis on quality control and enhanced management to assure that the highest quality support is provided to the divisions, enhancing their productivity and the quality of their work.

Impact

The Board's accomplishment of its mandate to make well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters quickly, simply and fairly is facilitated by the availability of high-calibre adjudicative support. The integration of adjudicative support is contributing to the Board's capacity to resolve as many matters as possible without a hearing, to assure that all matters going to hearing are fully hearing-ready, and to assure that all decisions produced are of the highest quality.

Tribunal officers have developed expertise in the IAD that has helped them to be more creative in their approach to resolve more appeals. By the end of 2007-2008 all cases streamed into the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism were conducted by trained tribunal officers. The national resolution rate at ADR for the last year is 48%.

In March 2008, only 52% of appeals in the IAD were resolved by a hearing. The remainder of appeals were resolved through ADR or in chambers following receipt of submissions from the parties in response to Early Resolution letters or Early Informal Resolution letters or as the result of the case being declared abandoned or the appellant withdrawing his or her appeal.



Information and Contacts

Legislation Administered

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
(S.C. 2001, c. 27, as amended)

Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
(SOR/2002-227, as amended)

Refugee Protection Division Rules
(SOR/2002-228)

Immigration Division Rules
(SOR/2002-229)

Immigration Appeal Division Rules
(SOR/2002-230)

Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules
(Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada)
(SOR/2002-231)

IRB Processes

Visit these links to find out how the IRB processes its cases:

Related Information

UNHCR Web site: http://www.unhcr.org/home.html

Contact us

For more information, visit the IRB Web site at
http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca
or contact the IRB Communications Directorate at 613-947-0803 or one of the IRB offices listed below.

National Headquarters

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Minto Place, Canada Building
344 Slater Street, 12th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K1
Tel: 613-995-6486  Fax: 613-943-1550

Regional Offices

Eastern Region
200 Ren Lvesque Boulevard West
Guy Favreau Complex
East Tower, Room 102
Montreal, Quebec H2Z 1X4
Tel: 514-283-7733  Fax: 514-283-0164

Central Region
74 Victoria Street, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario M5C 3C7
Tel: 416-954-1000  Fax: 416-954-1165

Western Region
Library Square, Suite 1600
300 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 6C9
Tel: 604-666-5946  Fax: 604-666-3043