Asylum system management board

The administration and operation of Canada’s asylum system is mainly delivered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), which is an independent, adjudicative tribunal.

While IRCC is the overall steward of the asylum system, each organization has its own governance framework and accountabilities. Given the interdependence of partner organizations and the decentralized nature of the asylum system, greater coordination is needed to ensure effective governance.

A successful asylum system requires a concerted and coordinated effort between several partners involved in the refugee determination process while upholding the values of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, fairness to refugee claimants, preserving the integrity of the adjudicative process, and ensuring that the system is free of improper influence on the decision maker and the decision-making process.

Improving coordination between partners

The Asylum System Management Board (ASMB) is the senior level coordinating body for the asylum system. This body was established to conduct system-wide joint priority setting, trends analysis, performance management and monitoring of interdepartmental goals, and better horizontal coordination between partners involved in the delivery of the asylum system.

The ASMB’s role will reflect existing accountability frameworks for each deputy head including departmental and financial accountabilities. The ASMB will function within the terms of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and in accordance with all applicable laws.

The ASMB will operate in a manner that is consistent with the adjudicative independence of the IRB.

Enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the asylum system

The following are the objectives of the ASMB, which will be operationalized in ways which advance the effectiveness and efficiency of the asylum system.

  1. Joint Situational Awareness: All delivery organizations are aware of the same key developments related to the asylum system.
  2. Joint Strategic Direction: The ASMB will undertake joint planning and priority setting to maximize the alignment of resources and will report on its operations, including emerging trends.
  3. Timely and Transparent Decision Making: Decisions of one organization are available to the other delivery organizations, ahead of those decisions being implemented.
  4. Innovation: Continual improvement is fostered through innovation.

Key activities

To carry out its mandate the ASMB will:

  • operationalize ministerial processing priorities
  • establish performance targets, and align and report on productivity, to build the responsiveness of each part of the system to shifting volumes and influxes
  • act as a clearing house, including to identify and resolve operational issues associated with the implementation of the system (e.g. case prioritization, removals)
  • monitor updated quarterly asylum forecasts
  • report regularly on its operations

Board members

The Committee consists of senior officials from across the asylum system. The principal members are:

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
    Deputy Minister (Chair)
  • Canada Border Services Agency
    President (Alternate Chair)
  • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

The principals are equal, respectful of each other’s roles and duties, and expected to attend all meetings.

Supporting members from each organization are also participants.

How decisions are made

Decisions will be taken in light of the ASMB’s joint situational awareness and based on consensus and cooperation among ASMB members. The ASMB will seek to develop a common understanding of, and approaches to managing the asylum system, while respecting the mandates and accountabilities of each organization.

In the absence of consensus, members may wish to engage external experts for advice. Members may also brief ministers on issues in the absence of consensus, in order that the Minister may render a decision.

The Committee will meet on a quarterly basis, or more frequently as otherwise agreed to by members.

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