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ARCHIVED - RPP 2007-2008
Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

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Section 1: Overview

Message from the Chairperson

"Integration is the approach that I have championed to see us through a time of transition. Integration of our operations will build a stronger, more flexible institution that will enable the IRB to respond effectively to future challenges, and we are well on our way to delivering on this vision for operational integration."

Jean-Guy Fleury

Photo of Jean-Guy Fleury, Chairperson

I am pleased to present the 2007-2008 Report on Plans and Priorities for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).

The IRB is an administrative tribunal whose work reflects Canada's humanitarian values and respect for our international obligations. As an arms-length, quasi-judicial tribunal, the IRB hears a wide variety of cases ranging from family reunification, detention reviews, admissibility to Canada and appeals from removal orders to claims for refugee determination.

The Board fully recognizes the importance of these cases and the consequences of the decisions it renders. It is with this sense of responsibility to those who appear before us, and to all those who count on us to uphold the integrity and fairness of the decision-making process, that we undertake the plans and priorities presented in this report.

Focus on Current Initiatives

To ensure the consistent delivery of high-quality administrative justice in an ever-changing environment, the IRB has been engaged in a process of transformation over the past five years, and has undertaken a number of major initiatives to become more proactive and dynamic. We are currently pursuing several initiatives designed to further integrate our three Divisions. In addition to continuing to deliver case management tools and modernized processes that will improve efficiency and productivity, our efforts in 2007-2008 will be concentrated on key initiatives currently underway. Our focus will be on ensuring excellence in implementation and execution.

"The IRB is
engaged in a process
of transformation
to become more responsive and flexible, as befitting its role as a tribunal."

Jean-Guy Fleury

Photo of children

As previously promised, the IRB will also review its current governance structures, with a view to clarifying and improving the Board's organizational design.

Decision-maker Appointments and Reappointments

Although the IRB successfully eliminated a substantial inventory of claims in the Refugee Protection Division over recent years, delays in Governor-in-Council reappointments and appointments have led to an increase in inventories in both the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). As a result of the continued shortfall of decision-makers in these two Divisions, 2007-2008 will not be business as usual as the Board attempts to mitigate the effects of this shortfall.

We will continue to pursue recruitment efforts to re-build capacities and build new capacity while also seeking new strategies to address the growing inventories of refugee claims and immigration appeals. In addition, the IRB will evaluate the need to seek further resources. As a result of the shortfall of decision-makers in the RPD and IAD, the projected forecasts for these two Divisions are given in upper and lower ranges due to the ongoing productivity uncertainty.

Key Priorities for 2007-2008

To continue our process of organizational transformation, we have identified four strategic priorities for 2007-2008 that build on those from the previous fiscal year, and are as follows:

  • 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
  • Continue to build an organization that strengthens its operational and leadership capacity, its diversity and its flexibility
  • Continue to improve adjudicative and case management strategies, including the implementation of Stage 1 of the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS)
  • Implement a horizontal and fully integrated management plan that reflects the IRB's current reality

In line with these strategic priorities, we will focus our resources on our existing initiatives in the year ahead. These include:

  • Implementation of the IAD Innovation initiative, which will transform how the IAD processes and adjudicates immigration appeals
  • Implementation of components of the Integrated Adjudicative Support initiative, which is intended to expand the level of adjudicative support to the decision-making process across all three IRB Divisions and improve quality and consistency through effective pre-hearing preparation and resolution of cases
  • National deployment of ICMS in the Refugee Protection Division, which will support the IRB in its efforts to improve case preparation and management by streamlining and automating business processes, and will provide all IRB employees with access to a national repository of information required to support quality decision-making
  • Conducting professional development for existing and new members
  • Continue to deliver on our commitment on applying modern management practices and ensuring accountability at all levels of the IRB as well as the ongoing implementation of our People Management and Outreach Strategies

Looking Ahead

In the coming year, we will remain focused on the integration of our operations. Key to our efforts will be the continued dedication and professionalism of our people and our ability to adapt to change in order to deliver on our mandate. I invite you to read this report and to visit our website at for more information about the IRB, and its plans and priorities for the next fiscal year.

Signature of Jean-Guy Fleury
     Jean-Guy Fleury

Management Representation Statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-2008 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-2008 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • It is based on the department's Strategic Outcome(s) and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Signature of Jean-Guy Fleury
     Jean-Guy Fleury

Summary Information

Raison d'être

Who we are

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is an independent administrative tribunal that reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

As an organization responsible for applying administrative justice, the IRB adheres to the principles of natural justice, and its decisions are rendered in accordance with the law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This mandate is reflected in our mission, vision and values, which help shape our corporate priorities and identify the qualities we strive to embody. It also guides our day-to-day decisions, to ensure that everyone and their work at the IRB is aligned with our mission and our vision for the future.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada is an independent tribunal established by the Parliament of Canada. Our mission, on behalf of Canadians, is to make well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters, efficiently, fairly, and in accordance with the law.
We will excel in everything we do and will deal simply, quickly and fairly with everyone. Through innovation and flexibility, we will be a leading-edge administrative tribunal and a creative partner in building the future of the Canadian immigration system.
  • Excellence in delivery
  • Valuing people
  • Open, honest, timely communication
  • Relevant, responsive and accountable management
  • Working together effectively

As Canada's largest federal tribunal, the IRB consists of three Divisions each of which has its own mandate under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA):

  • Refugee Protection Division (RPD)
  • Immigration Division (ID)
  • Immigration Appeal Division (IAD)

The IRB employs approximately 1,025 people in its headquarters office and regional offices. Through each Division, the IRB delivers a simpler and faster form of justice than that provided by the courts, but with no less attentiveness to the rigour of the law. The IRB is a human rights tribunal, and the men and women who work at the Board respect the human dignity of all those who come before it.

The IRB is fully committed to applying fairness to all aspects of its work, which in turn means being just, lawful, honest, open and without bias. This includes recognizing that some individuals who appear before our Board have experienced very difficult circumstances, and respecting the diversity of cultures of individuals who appear before the IRB. Most importantly, it means recognizing that the determination of each case directly and profoundly affects the lives of people.

Benefits to Canadians

Immigrants and refugees have always made significant contributions to Canada's growth and development. In the delivery of its mandate, the IRB benefits Canadians in three important ways:

  • Its hearings on refugee claims ensure that Canada accepts those in need of protection in accordance with international obligations
  • Its hearings on admissibility and detention reviews help ensure the security of Canadians
  • Its independent mechanism for resolving sponsorship, removal order and permanent residence status appeals ensures fairness of process for appellants and their families

Through the decisions it makes, the IRB also contributes more broadly to the quality of life of Canada's communities by strengthening our country's social fabric, and by reflecting and reinforcing core values that are important to Canadians. These include respect for:

  • Human rights
  • Equality
  • Fairness
  • Peace
  • Rule of law

What we do

Based on the Program Activity Architecture, the work of the IRB and its Divisions is conducted through four program activities; the first three are responsible for all the tribunal decisions made at the Board.

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Refugee Protection Program Activity
  • Renders quality decisions in a timely manner on claims for refugee protection made by persons in Canada. In making these critical decisions, Canada fulfils its obligations as a signatory to a number of international human rights conventions
  • Makes decisions on applications for vacation of refugee status
  • Meets the information needs of decision-makers by providing and making publicly available current and reliable information related to human rights and to refugee and migration issues
Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews Program Activity
  • Conducts admissibility hearings for foreign nationals or permanent residents who seek entry into Canada, or who are already in Canada and are considered to be inadmissible
  • Conducts detention reviews for foreign nationals or permanent residents who are detained for immigration reasons
Immigration Appeal Program Activity
  • Hears appeals of sponsorship applications refused by CIC
  • Hears appeals from certain removal orders made against permanent residents, Convention refugees and other protected persons, and holders of permanent resident visas
  • Hears appeals by permanent residents against whom a CIC officer outside of Canada has decided that they have not fulfilled their residency obligation
  • Hears appeals by the Minister from decisions of the Immigration Division at admissibility hearings
Corporate Management and Services Program Activity
  • Supports the three IRB decision-making program activities through a range of human resources, legal services, communications, strategic planning, audit and evaluation, risk management, values and ethics, financial services, information technology, and management activities
  • Provides the IRB with efficient management processes and administrative services while promoting organizational effectiveness
  • Ensures that all corporate management services are integrated into the business of the IRB

IRB Logic Model

What we do, what we produce and the impact of these activities are captured in the following diagram. It represents a dynamic process in which information is shared throughout the IRB to ensure that everyone at the Board is focused on the appropriate activities and outputs in order to achieve the expected results for Canadians.

Diagram of the IRB logic model

(Click on image to enlarge)

Total Financial and Human Resources

The IRB's three-year forecast for its total financial and human resources is as follows:

Financial Resources ($ millions)
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010
113.7 113.6 113.6

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010
1,025 1,025 1,025

IRB Strategic Outcome and Strategic Priorities

To achieve its strategic outcome, the IRB has identified four strategic priorities for fiscal year 2007-2008. These contribute to the achievement of the IRB's strategic outcome by ensuring that the Board's plans and expected results emphasize high-quality, consistent and efficient measures across the organization, and an open environment that values its people, and promotes flexibility, accountability and continuous improvement.

Provide Canadians with well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.
Strategic Priorities 2007-2008

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.


2. Continue to build an organization that strengthens its operational and leadership capacity, its diversity and its flexibility.


3. Continue to improve adjudicative and case management strategies including the implementation of Stage 1 of the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS).


4. Implement a horizontal and fully integrated management plan that reflects the IRB's current reality.


IRB Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

The IRB's four program activities (Refugee Protection, Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews, Immigration Appeal, and Corporate Management and Services) are carried out with the goal of achieving the IRB's strategic priorities and strategic outcome. The following table outlines the planned spending for each program activity over the next three fiscal years.

Estimated Financial Resources by Program Activity
Strategic Outcome: To provide Canadians with well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters rendered efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.
  Planned Spending ($ millions)
Program Activities 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010
Refugee Protection Program Activity 85.5 85.4 85.4
Expected Results: Refer to Section 2
Contributes to IRB Strategic Priority 1, 2 and 3
Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews Program Activity 15.2 15.2 15.2
Expected Results: Refer to Section 2
Contributes to IRB Strategic Priority 1, 2 and 3
Immigration Appeal Program Activity 13.0 13.0 13.0
Expected Results: Refer to Section 2
Contributes to IRB Strategic Priority 1, 2 and 3
Corporate Management and Services Program Activity
Expected Results: Refer to Section 4
Contributes to IRB Strategic Priority 1, 2, 3 and 4
Total 113.7 113.6 113.6

Note: The total Corporate Management and Services planned spending per year is $24.9 M and includes $14.5 M for personnel, $2.7 M for the Employee Benefit Plan (EBP) and $7.7 M for other operating expenditures. The amount of $24.9 M is proportionally reallocated to the other program activities: $18.7 M to Refugee Protection, $3.3 M to Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews and $2.9 M to Immigration Appeal. The reallocation is based on respective budget expenditures trends.

Plans and Priorities

The IRB develops an Integrated Business Plan for each upcoming fiscal year, in which business, HR and financial resources for the Board's four program activities are integrated. It also identifies how the plans and expected results for each program activity contribute to the achievement of the Board's stated strategic priorities for each fiscal year and its strategic outcome. (The plans and expected results for each of the IRB's decision-making program activities are presented in Section 2.)

In addition, the IRB's Integrated Business Plan is aligned with the stated plans and priorities of the Board's Report on Plans and Priorities, and is monitored for progress and performance via mid-year and senior management reviews. The IRB has introduced initiatives (e.g., IAD Innovation, Integrated Adjudicative Support and the Integrated Case Management System) that improve value for money in the organization, which go directly to achieving better results for Canadians.

The direct impact is felt through the increased efficiencies in case processing, including resolving cases as early as possible in the process. The IRB also develops and implements policies that deal effectively with representatives appearing before the IRB's three Divisions.

In addition, the Board has developed financial and non-financial (human resources, risk and procurement) management processes which align the IRB's activities with modern management principles and ultimately contribute to the government's commitment to be accountable for results to Canadians.

Working Environment

The IRB carries out its mandate within a complex and ever-changing environment. Both international and internal factors can influence the Board's working environment and context. For example, conflicts and country conditions abroad can result in refugee movements, which in turn affect the number of refugee protection claims made in Canada. The same is true of unanticipated shifts in international patterns of migration, which can affect the number of people seeking admission to Canada. Domestic immigration policies and changing government priorities can have a direct impact on the IRB's workload and on the nature and type of cases and appeals that come before the Board.

Changing refugee trends

According to the latest figures from the UN Refugee Agency, the number of claims for refugee protection lodged in industrialized nations declined in the first half of 2006; a continuation of the trend witnessed on a global scale for the past few years.

Graph showing refugee claims filed for the years 2002 to 2006

In Canada, however, after years of declining refugee claims, a 16 per cent increase in claims for protection was recorded in 2006. Latin American and Asian countries, specifically Mexico, Colombia and China, remain the top source countries for refugee protection claims. While the Americas account for 45 per cent of all claims referred, Mexico continues to comprise an increasing portion of all IRB referrals at 23 per cent.

Graph showing RPD total intake for the years 2004 to 2010

Trend of family sponsorships

Immigration continues to be very important for Canada, as immigrants represent an increasing part of the population. Canada's population of immigrants is expected to reach between 7.0 and 9.3 million by 2017.

In this context and given the Government of Canada's priority of promoting family reunification, family-class sponsorship applications have increased at Canadian visa posts around the world. As a result, the IRB continues to experience a high volume of family sponsorship appeals.

Internal factors

A series of transitions in government since 2004 has significantly delayed the rate at which IRB decision-makers are appointed and reappointed to the Board. Consequently, as the number of decision-makers hearing refugee claims and immigration appeals has declined, the pending inventory of cases has increased – a trend already evident in the Refugee Protection Division.

The impact of the shortage of decision-makers in the Immigration Appeal Division will also become evident by the end of fiscal year 2007-2008, expressed as lower productivity achievements for the Division. The shortfall of members has also increased average processing times and has had a negative impact on the Board's ability to provide prompt services in both official languages and meet its obligations under the Official Languages Act.

Modernization and accountability

Public interest in the work of the IRB continues, along with a greater demand for accountability and transparency in government. The IRB continues to respond to this demand by adopting more modern management practices and operations, continuing strategic and operational planning, reviewing performance measurements, and continuing to improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of its decision-making.

Protocol addressing member conduct issues

The IRB was the first federal administrative tribunal to institute a formal process for addressing complaints about the conduct of members (decision-makers) appointed to the IRB by the Governor in Council. The Protocol Addressing Member Conduct Issues instituted in October 1999, recognizes that high standards of conduct are required of public officials, such as IRB decision-makers, whose decisions profoundly affect people's lives. Over the planning period, the IRB will continue to monitor the Protocol and take remedial action where warranted. The IRB will also be revising the Code of Conduct over the next fiscal year to make it more comprehensive and consistent with the Federal Accountability Act.

Government-wide initiatives

The Government of Canada has put a strong emphasis on the importance of accountability and modernization. The IRB understands this, both in terms of being accountable for its decisions, and public servants and decision-makers being accountable for theirs. In line with the objective of strengthening public sector management, the IRB will continue to modernize and strengthen its management practices in order to enhance the organization's overall performance. In 2007-2008, the IRB will continue to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place in the areas of management, human resources, information technology and communications.

Portfolio Management

As key partners within the immigration and refugee portfolio, the IRB, CBSA and CIC collaborate on operational and policy matters, while respecting each other's distinct mandates and the independence of the Board. The portfolio approach has created opportunities for effective communication and coordination. Relationships within the portfolio reflect strengthened efforts in this regard on issues relating to the overall management of the portfolio and take into account evolving case management initiatives designed to meet ongoing challenges.

The IRB and CIC have had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place since December 1996. The agreement clearly defines the administrative relationship between the two organizations, while underlining the institutional independence of the IRB and its decision-makers. The agreement facilitates workload management and the effective use of resources.

However, with the creation of the CBSA and the transfer to that organization of many enforcement and intelligence functions formerly carried out by CIC, the 1996 MOU has become largely obsolete. Therefore, the IRB, CBSA and CIC are currently negotiating a trilateral MOU which will clearly define their institutional relationships and reflect today's operational environment and priorities. The agreement is expected to be signed in 2007. Flowing from this new MOU, further priorities for collaboration on an operational level will be established and reflected in various sub-agreements.

Diagram illustrating the interrelationships between the IRB, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

(Click on image to enlarge)

Partners and Agencies

The IRB also works closely with central agencies, for example, with the Privy Council Office on Governor-in-Council (GIC) appointments of IRB members and on regulatory initiatives, and with the Treasury Board Secretariat on program management and accountability. Furthermore, the IRB works with Public Works and Government Services Canada on procurement and accommodation issues, and with the Public Service Commission, Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada and the Canada School of Public Service on human resources management issues. The IRB continues to contribute to the annual conferences of the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals (CCAT). These meetings provide an opportunity for all Canadian administrative tribunals to share best practices and new approaches to emerging issues.


The IRB's Consultative Committee on Practices and Procedures (CCPP) encourages systematic contact between the IRB and non-governmental stakeholders at the national level. The Committee is composed of representatives of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), the Refugee Lawyers Association (RLA), L'Association québécoise des avocats et des avocates en droit de l'immigration (AQAADI) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The CCPP provides a forum for consultation, advice, information sharing and the resolution of issues of mutual concern regarding procedures and practices.

The IRB is building on efforts it has initiated over the past fiscal year to establish new and flexible mechanisms to enhance ongoing dialogue and to ensure that relationships continue to be responsive to evolving needs. This includes bilateral meetings with select organizations on specific issues.

Regional offices maintain relationships with their own regional stakeholders, including immigration consultants and bar associations, refugee and refugee law associations and non-governmental organizations.

International Activities

In the context of the IRB's mandate, resources and abilities, the Board participates in international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, which includes regular participation in three forums:

  • The International Association of Refugee Law Judges (IARLJ)
  • The Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (EXCOM)
  • The Intergovernmental Consultations on Asylum, Refugee and Migration Policies in Europe, North America and Australia (IGC)

The IRB has developed good relations with a number of refugee-receiving countries through the IGC network, and works with its counterparts in various states such as Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The IRB also participates in the European Union Network for Asylum Practitioners (Eurasil) and in Metropolis, an international forum for comparative research and public policy development about population migration, cultural diversity and immigrant integration in cities in Canada and around the world.

Alignment with Government of Canada Outcome Areas

Canada's federal organizations play an important role in the quality of life of Canadians. All government policies, outcomes, departmental mandates and programs are directed at fulfilling this role. The IRB's strategic outcome and supporting program activities are aligned with a number of key Government of Canada outcome areas.

Provide Canadians with well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.
Program Activity Links to Government of Canada Outcome Areas
Refugee Protection A safe and secure world through international cooperation
Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews Safe and secure communities
Immigration Appeal A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage