Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

Memorandum of Understanding

Between

The Department of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC)
represented by the Deputy Minister of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration

And

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
represented by the President of the Canada Border Services Agency

And

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)
represented by the Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

Collectively referred to as the “Parties.”

Introduction

Whereas the Parties are Government of Canada institutions with a common commitment to realizing the goals of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 (IRPA);

Whereas the Parties are key organizations within the immigration and refugee portfolio and share responsibilities in managing the envelope of resources dedicated to that portfolio;

Whereas under the IRPA, CIC is responsible for facilitating the arrival of people and their integration into Canada in a way that maximizes their contribution to the country while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians. CIC also maintains Canada’s humanitarian tradition by protecting refugees and people in need of protection. These objectives are achieved through the administration of the IRPA, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations;

Whereas the CBSA is responsible for providing integrated border services that support national security priorities and facilitate the free flow of people and goods, including food, plants and animals, across the border. Under the IRPA, the CBSA is responsible for managing the flow of travelers at Canadian ports of entry, intelligence, interdiction of irregular migration, immigration enforcement and criminal investigations of IRPA offences. This includes responsibility for arrests, detentions, removals and representing Ministers at immigration proceedings. Along with the IRPA, the CBSA's mandate is fulfilled through the administration of over 90 acts, including the Customs Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act;

Whereas the IRB is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal, established by the Parliament of Canada to resolve immigration and refugee matters efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law;

Whereas CIC and the CBSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on May 4th, 2011, to define, in general terms, the basis for cooperation between CIC and the CBSA regarding the effective administration and delivery of the immigration and refugee programs, information sharing and the provision of various services, lines of business and shared IT services;

Whereas CIC and the CBSA are responsible for the employment of best practices in administering their responsibilities under the IRPA and its Regulations in a manner that reflects the domestic and international interests of the Government of Canada and recognizes the objectives set out in section 3 of the IRPA; and

Whereas the IRB reports to Parliament through the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the CBSA reports to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Therefore the parties agree as follows:

Purpose

1. This MOU establishes the basis of cooperation regarding the delivery of the immigration and refugee programs with respect to matters within the mandate of the IRB, including cooperation on administrative measures and the sharing of information.

Principles

2. While undertaking to share information and cooperate on administrative measures, the Parties recognize the institutional independence of the IRB. Nothing in this MOU or any of its annexes will be interpreted in a manner that infringes, or could be reasonably seen to infringe, on that independence. Moreover, the IRB is a tribunal before which the CBSA and CIC appear as parties. The Parties will take no actions that impinge, or could be reasonably seen to impinge, on the independence of the IRB’s decision-makers in individual cases.

3. The Parties agree to, where appropriate, share information and cooperate on administrative, safety and security measures with respect to matters within the mandate of the IRB regarding:

  • the enhancement of administrative efficiency, while respecting the principles of fairness and natural justice;
  • the identification and clarification of roles and responsibilities in administering the IRPA;
  • the sharing and integration of best practices developed within each organization;
  • the provision of improved and cost-effective services to the public;
  • the establishment of effective lines of communication; and
  • the enhancement of national security.

Sharing of information

4. The Parties agree to share, where appropriate, such information as is required to carry out their respective mandates as derived from the IRPA.

5. The administrative framework governing the exchange of personal and case related information between the Parties throughout the immigration and refugee processes is outlined in the Information Sharing Annex.

6. The Parties recognize that any sharing of information under this MOU must be carried out in accordance with any applicable legislation or policy requirements.

Communication and consultation

7. The Parties recognize that regular and timely communication and consultation are key elements in achieving the purposes of this MOU.

8. Key areas for communication and consultation may include:

  • emerging trends, actual and projected workloads, workload priorities and productivity issues insofar as these have an impact on the Parties;
  • notification when there are changes in identified resource requirements with respect to issues of mutual interest or where a Party is unable to meet workload demand;
  • major initiatives, including legislative and regulatory proposals or proposed rule changes, policy proposals or new administrative procedures, that may have a meaningful impact on the administrative functioning or operations of the other Parties; and
  • issues arising from any cost or service-sharing component of this MOU.

9. The Parties will endeavour to communicate and consult as appropriate, especially in relation to new initiatives or program changes with potential impacts for the other Parties.

Governance

10. The Parties agree to establish a Steering Committee to oversee the elements of this MOU and resolve significant issues of interpretation or application arising from this MOU.

Mandate of the Steering Committee

11. The Steering Committee is responsible for the administration of this MOU. It will meet to provide oversight and direction on the elements pertaining to the MOU, set the priorities for the Annexes, solve significant issues of interpretation or application arising from the MOU and advise the persons occupying the positions of the signatories of the MOU regarding changes and termination of the MOU.

Steering Committee Members

12. The following designated officials are signatories to the Annexes for the Parties and have overall administrative responsibility for this MOU and its Annexes.

CIC - DG, Refugee Affairs Branch
CIC - DG, Operational Management and Coordination Branch.

CBSA - DG, Enforcement and Intelligence Programs Directorate
CBSA - DG, Enforcement and Intelligence Operations Directorate.

IRB - DG, Policy, Planning and Research Branch
IRB - DG, Registry and Regional Support Services Branch.

Substitutes

13. All Committee members who cannot attend a meeting should arrange for a delegate to attend in their place. The replacement will have full authority to make decisions on behalf of the absent member.

Secretariat

14. The secretariat functions are shared and will rotate each fiscal year between the three Parties. The Party who assumes the secretariat function will also chair meetings during the course of the fiscal year and circulate a record of decision to the Parties.

Frequency of Meetings

15. The Steering Committee will meet at least once a year or as required to address issues pertaining to the MOU and its Annexes.

Sub-commitees

16. To assist it in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities pertaining to the MOU and its Annexes, the Steering Committee will establish the following sub-committees:

  • The Management sub-committee consists of Director/Manager level representatives from each Party and will meet regularly to provide direction and guidance to the Working Group (WG) as well as monitor its work, make recommendations and report activities to the Steering Committee.
  • The WG consists of subject matter experts from each Party and is responsible for discussing, drafting and consulting on the MOU and any Annexes stemming from the MOU, as well as for making recommendations and reporting activities to the Management sub-committee.

Annexes

17. The Parties agree to negotiate annexes under this MOU, which will be negotiated and interpreted in accordance with the principles of this MOU.

18. The Annexes comprise an integral part of this MOU and are to be interpreted in a manner consistent with this MOU.

19. Annexes under this MOU may be developed or amended as required at any time with the approval of the Steering Committee.

20. The Parties to these annexes will be either the IRB and one of the other Parties to this MOU, or, where appropriate, all three Parties to this MOU.

Dispute resolution

21. Any disagreement arising from the interpretation or operation of this MOU and its Annexes that cannot be resolved through consultation between the Parties will be referred to the Steering Committee for resolution. If such negotiation fails, the Parties will refer the matter to the persons occupying the positions of the signatories for resolution.

22. Where an Annex does not specify a dispute resolution process, the dispute resolution process set out in this MOU will apply.

Financial arrangements

23. This MOU will not impose financial responsibilities on any Party. Each Party is responsible for its own costs associated with activities under this MOU, unless otherwise stated in a specific Annex.

Administrative details

Review

24. The Parties agree to review this MOU and Annexes no later than five years from the date on which the MOU takes effect and no later than every five years thereafter to monitor its performance and effectiveness.

Date in effect

25. This MOU will come into effect on the date on which it is signed by the last of the Parties and will remain in effect until it is terminated in accordance with the procedure set out in this MOU.

26. The Parties agree that, on the date on which this MOU comes into effect, the 2008 MOU between CIC, the CBSA and the IRB is terminated.

27. The Parties agree that the existing Annexes and sub-agreements referred to in the 2008 MOU will remain in effect under this MOU until they have been terminated or replaced.

Amendment

28. This MOU may be amended at any time, by mutual written consent of the persons occupying the positions of the signatories to this MOU.

29. Where an Annex under this MOU does not specify an amending process, it may be amended at any time by mutual written consent of the persons occupying the positions of the signatories to the Annex.

Audit, evaluation and quality assurance

30. Without restricting each Party’s ability to conduct audits and evaluations for their respective policy and service delivery responsibilities, the heads of Internal Audit and Evaluation bodies for CIC, the IRB and the CBSA will work collaboratively in conducting horizontal audits and evaluations. This collaboration will include:

  • Sharing audit and evaluation plans;
  • Consulting at each step of horizontal audits and evaluations, from planning to final report, where the audit or evaluation relates to shared delivery or impacts on a business process of the partner organizations; this consultation includes sharing draft reports, providing opportunities for feedback on findings and recommendations and facilitating management responses.

31. Quality assurance activities related to specific business processes are the responsibility of the program area. The Parties will be responsible for implementing and administering quality assurance activities within their respective organizations and for sharing the results with the appropriate program or policy area of the Parties where it will promote organizational learning across the immigration and refugee programs.

Security of information

32. Each Party is responsible for ensuring that the standards and requirements of the Policy on Government Security for the safeguarding of sensitive information and assets under their control and the Operational Standard for the Security of Information Act, as amended or replaced from time to time, are met.

Termination

33. This MOU may be terminated by mutual written consent of the persons occupying the positions of the signatories to this MOU.

34. The IRB may terminate this MOU with either or both Parties by providing 90 days written notice to the other Parties of its intention to terminate the MOU. If the IRB terminates this MOU with only one of the Parties under this provision, this MOU will remain in effect as between the IRB and the remaining Party.

35. CIC or the CBSA may terminate its part in this MOU by providing 90 days written notice to the other Parties of its intention to terminate from the MOU. Upon the termination of either CIC or the CBSA under this provision, the MOU will remain in effect as between the IRB and the remaining Party.

36. Where an Annex does not specify a termination process, it may be terminated between the persons occupying the positions of the signatories to the Annex, i.e. Steering Committee, at any time by providing 90 days written notice to the other Parties of its intention to terminate from the Annex.

37. If any Party terminates their participation in this MOU, their participation in any Annex under this MOU is also terminated.

Counterpart signature

38. This MOU may be signed in counterparts, each of which will be deemed an original, but all of which together will constitute one and the same instrument.

In Witness Thereof, this Memorandum of Understanding, in both official languages, was signed in triplicate, each copy being equally authentic.

For the Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Anita Biguzs
Deputy Minister of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration

For the Canada Border Services Agency

Linda Lizotte-MacPherson
President of the Canada Border Services Agency

For the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

Mario Dion
Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada


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