Gender-Based Analysis Plus: Supplementary Information of the Departmental Plan 2024–25

General Information: Institutional GBA Plus Capacity


Equity, fairness, inclusion and intersectionality are key considerations in the work of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), given its global mandate and its impact on newcomers, refugees and Canadians. IRCC strives to lead by example and demonstrate a commitment to equity in all areas of its work. In the last three years, IRCC has invested significant effort to modernize the department’s approach to equity and make progress towards eliminating all forms of bias and discrimination in areas of people management, policy and program design, and service delivery.

Employee diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) networks remain critical for surfacing equity and GBA Plus considerations in IRCC’s work and for collaboration with broader employee networks across the federal public service. IRCC’s DEI employee networks represent diverse employees from across the Department, and include Pride@IRCC, the Indigenous Peoples Circle, the Black Employees Network, the Racialized Employees and Allies Network, the Persons with Disabilities Network, and the Women’s Network. Employee networks are sustained through the efforts of volunteer employees with lived experience. IRCC continues to consider options to ensure this work is appropriately resourced and formally supported.

Efforts to mainstream the practice of applying a broader equity lens and an intersectional approach to GBA Plus will continue through the GBA Plus Working Group and intra-departmental collaboration on equity policy and frameworks. These spaces of collaboration will continue to provide guidance and support analytical capacity building for the equity work happening across IRCC.

Additionally, IRCC has developed several models and frameworks to address bias and racism in decision-making and risk management, including the Institutional Bias and Racism Identification Method, and the Renewed Risk Management Framework. To address and mitigate institutional bias, IRCC will conduct objective risk assessments of the racialized population and develop data-driven risk indicators to be used by processing officers and policy makers. Once applied to several representative examples, this work will inform a broader Anti-Racism strategy for all the immigration programs. Ultimately, by implementing this methodology the Department aims to create a more equitable program delivery strategy, and further strengthen the use of GBA Plus by enhancing IRCC’s capacity to conduct more robust intersectional analysis.

Data and Capacity

IRCC recognizes that disaggregated data is a critical strategic asset that guides and supports the implementation of GBA Plus. The new IRCC Data Strategy (2023-2026) ensures effective data management, using trustworthy and relevant sources while respecting privacy laws. Enhancing how we collect, use and manage our data to support equitable outcomes is a key priority for the department and will enable us to access faster, more reliable insights to inform our decision making and promote more equitable outcomes within our programs.

IRCC Policy on Client Identity Management, its associated directives, and IRCC Sex and Gender Client Identifier Policy, will ensure departmental policies are inclusive, client-centric and do not create barriers for IRCC clients. The standard is to collect information on gender, which includes a gender-inclusive option in addition to the male and female gender options, as is recommended in the Treasury Board Secretariat report on Modernizing the Government of Canada’s Sex and Gender Information Practices (produced in collaboration with the Department of Justice and Statistics Canada). IRCC programs or services requiring data on sex at birth of a person must collect and use it for specific and mandatory purposes (e.g., health-related and compliance with international standards or regulatory requirements). The Department will continue to support the implementation of IRCC Sex and Gender Client Identity Policy, and will undertake further analysis to ensure alignment and consistency across all programs.

IRCC has extensive data that is disaggregated by gender, as well as other intersectional factors such as age, country of origin and country of citizenship. The Department will continue to utilize disaggregated and intersectional data to gain better insight into the populations and clientele we serve. This data will be used to further enhance performance measurement and evaluation processes, allowing for robust intersectional analysis to be undertaken. This helps to ensure that IRCC can identify and address any unintended differential outcomes within its programs. The systematic monitoring of the Department’s progress on equity, fairness and inclusion in the future will enable IRCC to better highlight successes, best practices, as well as identify gaps and new priorities. A notable data gap is the lack of race based data. The Department currently collects proxy data, such as country of birth, but this can only be used as a proxy when it comes to assessing and analyzing racialized impacts of a program.

To support better intersectional analysis on client experience and satisfaction, in 2021 the Department began the first of many updates to the annual Citizenship and Immigration Client Experience Survey to collect data on additional intersectional factors (such as accessibility, disability and ethnicity). Since that time, departmental GBA Plus leads are consulted each year prior to launching the annual Citizenship and Immigration Client Experience survey and the annual Passport Client Experience survey to gather feedback that informs ongoing updates to every wave of the survey questionnaire.

Other notable sources that provide useful disaggregated data for the Department are IRCC’s public opinion research surveys, including the Annual Tracking survey, that include demographic questions asking participants to share their gender, age, race, and citizenship status. This allows for the disaggregation of data when results are being analyzed and/or used in informing the Department’s programs, policies and services. Additionally, whenever possible efforts are made to include groups of typically under-represented populations (e.g. newcomers, Indigenous peoples, Francophones outside of Quebec, etc.) in public opinion focus groups, to ensure that their perspectives are included.

Work continues on the review of the Department’s GBA Policy (2011). Utilizing the GBA Plus working group, a gap analysis and cross-departmental consultations took place to better understand the application of GBA Plus in IRCC’s policy and program development cycles. The Department’s use of disaggregated data will be an integral tool as work to modernize programs and services through the use of automation, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence progresses.

In collaboration with stakeholders, IRCC will develop a renewed Anti-Racism Strategy for 2025 and beyond. The renewed Anti-Racism Strategy will endeavor to implement racial equity reviews to create a baseline of information about existing and potential equity problem areas in our current policies and programs. The Strategy will be developed in consultation with external stakeholders, including non-profits, other levels of government, unions, as well as the academic and legal community, ensuring a diversity of perspectives inform the refinement and iteration Anti-Racism Strategy and its outcomes.

Highlights of GBA Plus Results Reporting by Program

Core Responsibility 1: Visitors, International Students and Temporary Workers


IRCC’s Visitors Program seeks to achieve a balance between facilitating the travel of foreign nationals while maintaining the integrity of the immigration and asylum system.

There are several notable ongoing initiatives that will help to improve and expand the Visitors Program’s capacity to report and monitor impacts based on gender and diversity factors.

In 2022, the Visitors Program announced its commitment to examine its Performance Measurement Strategy Framework from a GBA Plus and Anti-Racism perspective. The Review was completed in March 2023 and a findings summary report consolidated a number of recommendations from key internal stakeholders. In 2024–25, the implementation of these recommendations is being explored.

Since 2018, IRCC has leveraged the use of advanced analytics to improve client service by expediting the processing of temporary resident applications. The Department will continue monitoring the impacts of the advanced analytics tools with a GBA Plus and Anti-Racism lens to detect and mitigate any potential biases which the automated tools may introduce into the Visitor Program.

IRCC has partially lifted the visa requirement on 13 countries, which could result in more equitable client experience and access to Canada for diverse visitors. Monitoring is concurrently underway to examine the performance of these partial visa lifts, and to identify if there are opportunities in the near future to expand access to even more countries around the world, making it easier for people to visit Canada.

International Students

IRCC facilitates the entry of students who wish to study at a designated Canadian educational institutions through the International Student Program (ISP), which is a demand driven temporary residence program. The ISP integrates GBA Plus analysis within policy making (e.g., increasing acceptance rates in specific areas and dedicated pathways for underrepresented groups). The Department collects disaggregated data on study permit holders and Post-Graduate Work Permit holders that can be broken down by gender, preferred official language, age, country of citizenship and other identity factors. This data will be used to inform the ISP policy review throughout 2024–25.

Temporary workers

IRCC facilitates the entry of foreign nationals who wish to work temporarily in Canada and collects socio-economic variables on work permit holders that allow for monitoring, reporting and analysis of program impacts by gender and diversity. These variables include gender, age, country of birth, country of residency, official language, language spoken at home, and family status.

Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers

The Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers (OWP‑V) program helps to facilitate Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in leaving abusive employment and gives TFWs the ability to work for another employer, without compromising their authorization to work in Canada. For OWP-Vs, qualitative and quantitative data on gender, age, country of citizenship, ability to speak in English/French, prior work permits, and location of work (in Canada) is collected. This information is used to inform program management and policy work. Significant data analysis continues to be conducted to better understand program barriers for clients and identify opportunities to improve the OWP‑V program for clients.

International Experience Canada

Under International Experience Canada (IEC), IRCC focuses on signing and maintaining youth mobility agreements with countries and territories that can typically promote equal opportunities for a diverse Canadian population. Going forward, IRCC will continue to include annual review mechanisms in new and existing agreements to provide officials with the opportunity to address issues, including those related to GBA Plus that could impact barriers to participation.

To ensure that Canadians are aware of, and can benefit from, these international opportunities abroad, promotional and engagement activities will continue to include initiatives and research directed at various communities of interest, including Indigenous youth, youth who identify as part of the 2SLGBTQI+ communities, and disadvantaged youth.

IRCC collects disaggregated data on IEC participants to enable monitoring and reporting on the program’s impacts. In 2024–25, the Department will continue to review its research, metrics, and data to further expand on its reporting capabilities.

Core Responsibility 2: Immigrant and Refugee Selection and Integration

Federal Economic Immigration

In accordance with Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan, IRCC facilitates the admission of a targeted number of permanent residents under various federal economic immigration programs.

Data on permanent residents admitted under federal economic immigration programs is analyzed on a regular basis, including disaggregation by variables such as age, gender, education, official languages spoken and proficiency, country of citizenship, country of birth, country of residency, intended occupation, destination in Canada, family status (i.e., principal applicant, spouse, or dependent), and marital status (i.e., married/common-law union, single/separated/widowed, or unspecified).

In the summer of 2023, category-based invitation rounds launched in Express Entry, allowing more targeted invitations to candidates in the pool that meet the criteria of a given category. Categories are established by the Minister based on labour market information, public consultation and research, including GBA Plus analysis, to address specific economic goals

Regional Economic Immigration

Delivery partners, (i.e. provinces, territories, and communities) select immigrants to fill labour needs in local and regional labour markets. By attracting a diverse population of candidates at all skill levels from different backgrounds, these programs contribute to strengthening Canada’s cultural diversity and economic resilience and support the full economic participation of women and diverse groups of people.

IRCC collects disaggregated data on the gender of applicants under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and the Rural Northern Immigration Program (RNIP). All applicants under the PNP, AIP and RNIP will continue to be assessed equally according to a defined set of selection criteria, irrespective of gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other diversity factors.

Under the AIP, designated employers under the program are required to take intercultural competency training as part of their commitment, which includes training on how to overcome implicit bias in hiring and managing employees.

Under RNIP, foreign nationals are initially identified by Community Partners and the Pilot has brought in various job occupations filled predominately by both male and female applicants, including early childhood educators, truck drivers, cooks, nurses, home support workers, etc. In order to reduce potential negative impacts for spouses, IRCC made the decision to extend temporary open work permits to all spouses of Pilot candidates. When principal applicants come to Canada, they are permitted to bring a spouse and dependent children with them to Canada, all of whom are eligible for permanent residence at the same time.

Complementary Pathway – under Federal and Regional Economic Programs

The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) is a labour mobility complementary pathway that helps skilled refugees and other displaced people immigrate to Canada by providing eligible applicants with facilitation measures designed to help them overcome some of the barriers they may face when they apply to economic immigration programs.

IRCC collects data showing the gender breakdown of primary applicants who apply to and land in Canada using the EMPP, as well as their dependents. Since the pilot started in April 2018, the number of overall admissions via the Pilot has been low, and the female-to-male ratio of principal applicants continues to be low.

IRCC continues to work on improving gender equity in principal applicants, and identifying barriers, including systemic barriers, to address this imbalance and to ensure equitable access to the Pilot.

Family Reunification

IRCC facilitates the admission of a targeted number of permanent residents under the family reunification category. Candidates include spouses, partners and dependent children, parents, grandparents, and certain other relatives (e.g., an orphaned relative) wishing to join their family in Canada.

The Family Reunification Program collects disaggregated data on the gender of sponsors, co-signers (when applicable), and applicants (i.e., principal applicants and accompanying family members). The Department collects data on the age, country of citizenship of applicants, as well as data on forced marriages. This disaggregated data will aid IRCC in mitigating for unintended or differential outcomes, as well as provide clarity on where potential gaps in the system exist.

In 2024, IRCC will finalize an evaluation of the Family Reunification Program. The evaluation findings may help to identify potential gaps and assist the Department in expanding the program’s capacity to report on GBA Plus considerations.

IRCC continues to monitor data and deliver on the family violence measures introduced in 2019 to support foreign nationals in Canada who are in situations of family violence in finding safety.

IRCC has developed a training module on Gender-Based Violence to help decision-makers recognize warning signs of possible family violence and know how to proceed when abuse is disclosed or suspected. In addition, IRCC is reviewing and updating its materials, adopting gender-inclusive language on guides and forms, and ensuring that the guidance found in Program Delivery Instructions aligns with GBA Plus principles, notably during interviews and when requesting proof of relationship status from 2SLGBTQI+ individuals.

Humanitarian/Compassionate and Discretionary Immigration

The Humanitarian/Compassionate and Discretionary Immigration Program facilitates the admission of a select number of permanent residents based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds or public policy considerations, responding to situations for which gender and diversity considerations may be a factor.

The Department continues to engage with various stakeholders groups such as the Black Legal Action Centre and Migrant Rights Network that represent diverse communities to better understand the lived experiences of migrants who may benefit from humanitarian programs. Through collaboration, IRCC is able to develop more inclusive public policies that address the needs of diverse populations and promote equity and inclusivity within the immigration system.

Gender and diversity perspectives will continue to be considered in IRCC’s discretionary program as part of the development of these tools and monitoring their results, including the use of disaggregated data such as gender, age, and country of origin.

Refugee Resettlement

Through the Resettlement Assistance Program, IRCC funds Service Provider Organizations to provide immediate and essential settlement services to government-assisted refugees and other eligible clients in the first four to six weeks after their arrival to Canada. These services take into account the gender and diversity of refugees by providing, where appropriate, women staff and interpreters, ensuring that appropriate accommodations are made for single mothers, and by conducting a targeted needs assessment.

In addition to the effects of the resettlement program writ large, several of its specific aspects carry benefits to diverse groups facing persecution.

Immigration officers have the ability to identify and prioritize cases as “Assistance to Women at Risk” recognizing that women and girls are often particularly vulnerable in refugee situations where they are not part of a conventional family unit. Cases identified with “Assistance to Women at Risk” may be provided with additional settlement support services through the Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program or through gender-specific settlement services and supports.

The Joint-Assistance Sponsorship program provides additional settlement support to refugees with exceptional needs, including individuals with disabilities. Under this program, eligible refugees receive up to two years of income support through the Resettlement Assistance Program and are matched with a private sponsorship group who provides additional settlement assistance, emotional support, and help with adjusting to life in Canada.

Refugees are exempt from the requirement that individuals not place excessive demand on medical services, which means that Canada can resettle refugees with disabilities or medical concerns that would otherwise be inadmissible in other immigration categories. Refugees still undergo a medical examination overseas and must meet the remaining admissibility criteria related to health.

Canada’s Urgent Protection Program provides protection to persecuted persons who are facing immediate threats to their life, liberty, or physical safety. The expedited processing provided under the Urgent Protection Program helps refugees find safety when they would otherwise be likely to be killed, subjected to violence, sexual assault, arbitrary imprisonment, or returned to their country of nationality or former habitual residence.

Through the Human Rights Defenders stream, Canada aims to resettle human rights defenders who are most at risk around the world, regardless of where they come from or their profession.

Canada works with partners to assist targeted populations. In June 2023, IRCC signed a memorandum of understanding with Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian non-profit organization that helps persecuted LGBTQI+Footnote1 individuals worldwide find avenues to safety. As a direct referral partner, Rainbow Railroad will join the United Nations Refugee Agency in referring refugees for resettlement to Canada under the Government-Assisted Refugee program, helping more LGBTQI+ refugees start a new life in Canada. IRCC partners with the Vancouver-based organization Rainbow Refugee on the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership, which provides additional resettlement spaces for LGBTQI+ refugees to be privately sponsored by Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH)Footnote2 organizations in Canada, with financial support partly provided by the Government of Canada.

Gender is tracked for each arrival. Canada does not collect immigration data disaggregated by race when refugees apply overseas, but using newcomers’ original country of nationality as a proxy suggests that the majority of refugee newcomers are racialized individuals. The Department will work with internal research and evaluation partners to ensure relevant data is collected in regular performance monitoring and evaluation cycles, including a GBA Plus analysis of the resettlement program that is currently underway.

In addition to the analysis of the Resettlement Program, the Department has been working with internal research and evaluation partners to ensure new program tools do not have disproportionate impacts on certain groups, especially those who are traditionally marginalized.


IRCC is accountable for facilitation of the In-Canada asylum system (ICAS) by which foreign nationals may seek refugee protection from within Canada. The ICAS provides gender-specific protection to in-Canada refugee claimants fleeing gender-based conflicts or fragile states. This is supported by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada Chairperson’s Guidelines on women refugee claimants fearing persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Asylum claim data that are recorded may be broken down by age, gender and family size to best analyze how vulnerable groups may be affected. IRCC and its partners continue to collect, analyze and disseminate data that is disaggregated by sex, country of origin, and other key indicators, as well as continuously strives to find ways to measure GBA Plus performance and progress.


GBA Plus is an important lens for the Settlement Program. In 2024–25, IRCC will continue to strengthen GBA Plus sector governance which includes accountability measures to monitor and report on activities that advance Departmental priorities on Anti-Racism, Gender Equality, Truth and Reconciliation, reduce barriers to services, and address inequities for specific newcomer populations through targeted programming.

Programming to prevent and end gender-based violence will continue in 2024–25. This programming will include resources and support for individuals that have experienced violence, programming to engage men and boys on this issue, and capacity building activities for the settlement sector to respond effectively.

To understand the effects of the Settlement Program for newcomers, IRCC has conducted the Newcomer Outcomes Survey (NOS) since 2018, which collects settlement outcomes information from both clients and non-clients of IRCC’s Settlement Program. The NOS covers the collection of additional data elements such as race, gender, 2SLGBTQI+ status, disability, family status, household income, experiences of discrimination while receiving settlement services and sense of belonging; which allows for in-depth analysis of intersectional outcomes and barriers to settlement.

To deepen our understanding of the differences in settlement outcomes among newcomers, in 2024–25 IRCC will continue to conduct the NOS, while enhancing data analysis. Furthermore, ongoing analysis will focus on newcomers’ experience of discrimination within the settlement services context. In 2024–25, IRCC will use outcomes findings from the survey to inform reporting on results as well as future program development and design, priority setting and preparations for the next program intake.

Addressing the needs of Youth and Older Adults

As a partner Department under the Employment and Social Development Canada-led Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, IRCC will continue to support employment-related services tailored to newcomer youth through the Settlement Program.

In 2024–25, IRCC will continue to enhance targeted programming for older adults in a way that responds to diverse demographics, is disability-inclusive, and age-sensitive.

Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot

Racialized newcomer women often face multiple barriers when accessing the Canadian labour market. To address these challenges, IRCC launched the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot in December 2018 to support the employment and career advancement of racialized newcomer women. While the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot ended in March 2023, the Government of Canada remains committed to supporting racialized newcomer women to find meaningful work in Canada and progress in their careers through services designed for racialized newcomer women. In 2024–25, IRCC will continue to support employment-related services tailored to racialized newcomer women, while integrating the learnings into upcoming processes.

Addressing Gender-based Violence

IRCC has been funded under Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-based Violence (GBV), to implement a settlement sector strategy on GBV through a coordinated partnership of settlement and anti-violence sector organizations ( Through Budget 2021 IRCC received $2M in funding for five years until 2026. This work will continue to focus on capacity building across the settlement sector, raising awareness on the issue, the establishment of a common base of knowledge on GBV, and online training for front-line settlement workers to assist with identifying abuse and providing tailored supports.

Core Responsibility 3: Citizenship and Passport


Working with Statistics Canada

Citizenship is working with Statistics Canada to examine factors (e.g. education, language, income, source region, gender, etc.) that influence citizenship uptake rates. In 2024–25, the Program will leverage the data to inform program analysis.

Client Experience Survey

The Citizenship Program collects gender, age, and language data through IRCC’s annual Client Experience Survey. In 2023–24, the Program examined new and complementary measures to include in the Survey in an effort to expand its capacity to report on impacts based on disaggregated data analysis. In 2024–25, the Program will continue these efforts.


The Passport Program collects data that enables it to monitor and report on program impacts for gender and diversity. The Program undertakes a GBA Plus lens as well as applies a Racial Impact Assessment Tool for all new operational policies. The Passport Program collects several key data elements through the application form such as gender (including the gender “X” identifier), date of birth (age) and place of birth. Additional client demographics are collected through the annual Client Experience Survey.

In 2023, the Passport Program applied a Racial Impact Assessment Tool to all of its existing operational policies. This work has identified preliminary solutions to enhance equity in the Program’s policies based on cultural considerations.

As part of this GBA Plus commitment, the Program updated its previous system limitations to allow Canadians with only one name to accurately represent their name on their travel documents.

In tandem to this work, the Passport Program is implementing new policies to reduce barriers faced by clients with disabilities. These policies will formalize an interim measure that allows Government of Canada employees to provide assistance to applicants who are unable to fill out travel document forms independently due to a disability. Additionally, the Program is updating and clarifying procedures for applicants applying on behalf of a family member who are unable to apply for themselves due to accessibility needs.

This work continues into 2024–25 as the Program continues to review and update operational policies to enhance equity in its policies and procedures for all Canadians.


Engagement in International Fora

IRCC continues to engage with international partners to advance Canada’s international protection obligations, which include the protection of refugees, particularly in situations where forced displacement exacerbates the existing vulnerabilities of women, girls, and persons with disabilities, and where individuals are persecuted on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. In bilateral, regional, and multilateral discussions, this includes advocating for the implementation of the gender-responsive Global Compact on Refugees to better protect and empower vulnerable refugees, affirm international legal obligations, and increase international cooperation to better enable comprehensive refugee responses.

IRCC’s international engagement includes its role as a partner in the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative. Canada will continue to share best practices with countries that are in the process of developing refugee sponsorship programs. Some of these practices and lessons learned relate to engagement of refugee communities in programming, and integrating gender and intersectionality considerations into program design.

Canada has continued to demonstrate its commitment to a feminist assistance policy through its tenure as Chair of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS by its Spanish acronym) Support Platform. Gender considerations and topics drawing attention to the international protection needs of women and girls were integrated in the activities implemented throughout Canada’s tenure as Chair. IRCC will continue some of those efforts in our current role as past-chair of the MIRPS support platform.

Canada continues to support a gender-responsive approach to the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), an intergovernmental agreement on common approaches to international migration. The GCM identifies gender-responsiveness as a crosscutting and guiding principle in migration. IRCC will continue building on its efforts to promote an inclusive approach to migration, including through engagement in the upcoming GCM Regional Reviews in 2024, and by continuing to support GenMig, the Gender and Migration Research Policy Action Lab – an International Organization for Migration (IOM) initiative focused on impact research for supporting gender-responsive policies, operations, programming and practices in migration.

In addition, IRCC is funding two projects in collaboration with IOM. The first two-year project aims to enhance ethical recruitment practices for the promotion of safe and regulated labour migration in Mexico, with a particular emphasis on addressing gender-based issues affecting women in the workplace. Another project related to fair and ethical recruitment in the Philippines, is designed to address gaps in the Department of Migrant Workers’ capacity building efforts, and benefit government agencies involved in international recruitment of migrant workers and the private recruitment industry. Recognizing that there is an increased feminization of labour migration, especially for Filipinos, the project aims to promote gender-sensitive and inclusive strategies and encourage the participation of women and LGBTQI+ members of stakeholder organizations.

Facilitating Participation

Global Refugee Participation

Canada signed a joint pledge at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum calling for the meaningful participation of refugees in decisions that affect their lives, noting that this participation should take into account the diversity within communities, include age, gender, and disability. In partnership with Global Affairs Canada, IRCC has since included persons with lived experience of forced displacement as advisors on its delegations to meetings in the international refugee system, including at the Global Refugee Forum, the United Nations Refugee Agency’s Executive Committee sessions, the High-Level Officials Meeting, and the Consultations on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (formerly Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement) and its Working Group on Resettlement. Canada entrusts the Refugee Advisory Network of Canada with the nomination of refugee advisors according to the intersectional principles outlined in the 2019 pledge.

At the Global Refugee Forum in December 2023, the Government of Canada’s delegation included a strong representation of Canadian civil society, with nearly a third of its members representing non‑governmental and refugee-led organizations. The delegation for this forum also included dedicated refugee advisors from the Refugee Advisory Network of Canada, the Together for Learning Refugee Education Council, and several refugee protection experts with lived experience of forced displacement.

As inaugural chair of the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility (GTFRLM), Canada along with its national and international partners, is actively pursuing the goal to incorporate Meaningful Refugee Participation in the day-to-day work of the Task Force. In September 2023, the GTFRLM hired five Refugee Advisors of diverse backgrounds and genders, to join the Core Group as members to provide ideas and advice on the work to build capacity for refugee labour mobility complementary pathways globally. Canada’s funding of this initiative reinforced the need for diverse voices and consideration for meaningful refugee participation. Through the GTFRLM, Canada will continue to ensure diverse voices have a seat at the table and influence the important work being done.

Domestic Participation and Consultations

Following the conclusion of the Department’s Strategic Immigration Review, a Council of Newcomers will be launched to provide advice and commentary to the Deputy Minister on immigration policies and programs. The Council will consist of a diverse group of newcomers from across the country who, leveraging their own lived experience, are expected to provide greater insight to the Department on intersections of immigration and gender, race, and other socio-economic factors.

Within Canada, work is ongoing to diversify and broaden the scope of partners invited to attend or participate in the Department’s consultation and engagement activities, with a significant increase expected in the number of 2SLGBTQI+, Indigenous and faith-based organizations involved in IRCC’s outreach efforts.

IRCC Workforce: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion-Related Initiatives

The Department will continue to honour its commitments aimed at building a more diverse workforce, at all levels, that is representative of the Canadian population through several initiatives including the implementation of a plan that will enable IRCC to achieve its Employment Equity (EE) Representation Baseline objectives by 2024.

This plan will focus on providing key stakeholders with access to disaggregated and intersectional EE data to support a more effective action plan and better decision-making related to recruitment, promotion, learning and development and talent management.

The voluntary EE self-identification (self-ID) process has been thus far managed internally by IRCC. With the expected launch of TBS modernized self-ID questionnaire, the Department will be implementing a comprehensive engagement strategy to raise awareness on the importance of self-ID, which will be aimed at shifting the paradigm around stigmas that exist within the self-ID process and on how the data collected can make a difference for our organization.

Moreover, IRCC will be conducting a review of existing developmental pilot programs (e.g. Mentorship Plus Program) that support the career development of EE groups which were introduced to increase representation in the middle and senior career levels.

IRCC will continue to increase its visibility at career fairs, events, and within various communities, as well as exploring partnership opportunities with stakeholders within the public and private sector, to leverage various innovative recruitment approaches, and continue to attract the best diversity of talent.

In 2023, IRCC undertook an Employment Systems Review to identify whether there are barriers for EE groups in HR processes. The information collected will support the development of a multi-year Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Plan, that will address barriers faced by EE groups.

In compliance with the Accessible Canada Act: An Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada, IRCC published its first Accessibility Plan in 2022 and its first progress report in 2023. The areas of commitments included in the Act are as follows: employment, the built environment, information and communication technologies, communications, procurement, programs and services, transportation. Additionally, the Accessibility Plan commits to accommodations (Duty to Accommodate) and culture. The report aims to identify, remove, and prevent barriers for persons with disabilities. In 2024, IRCC plans to work on developing metrics to address those commitments.

In October 2023, as part of its organizational realignment, IRCC established a new Equity Branch that will serve as an equity-focused centre of expertise for the department. In 2024–25, the department will focus on consolidating various functions related to Anti-Racism, GBA Plus, Equity Policy and Frameworks, and employee support, within the newly formed Branch. These structural changes are intended to help IRCC take a more intersectional approach to equity and ensure greater consistency and fairness in all aspects of IRCC’s work including people management, policy and program design, and service delivery.

The Equity Branch will provide guidance and monitor performance on anti-racism, accessibility, equity policy, reconciliation and other equity initiatives that will support improving the wellness of the workplace and achieving equitable outcomes for employees, clients and Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. The new branch will include an Ombuds Office which will serve as an independent channel of recourse for employee complaints regarding racism and discrimination, and other well-being related issues. Additionally, the Ombuds Office will play a key role in identifying systemic biases in employment systems and the workplace, and ensuring that departmental actions are effective in remedying issues.

The new Equity Branch will also serve as the hub for continued engagement between the various lens leaders at IRCC and across the Government of Canada, such as departmental focal points for Black and racialized communities, the Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (2SLGBTQI+) community, persons with disabilities, women, and Indigenous Peoples, in order to deepen the application of intersectionality in migration policy and program analysis.

Part of the new Equity Branch’s mandate includes overseeing the work of the Employee Support Office (ESO) and the Office of Conflict Resolution (OCR). ESO works to support IRCC's ability to provide timely and effective accommodations under the Duty to Accommodate directive, which falls under the authority of the People Management Strategy. As part of IRCC's commitments to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and to its Accessibility Plan, required under the Accessible Canada Act, the ESO’s role is to facilitate accommodation solutions for employees with disabilities and other prohibited grounds of the Canadian Human Rights Act. ESO also works to streamline the process to obtain those solutions, to ensure that IRCC is meeting its obligations under these legislations and directives by accommodating employees with respect and in a timely manner.

OCR contributes to meeting IRCC’s commitments to anti-racism and diversity, equity and inclusion by building anti-racism competencies and capacities through tools and services that help employees and managers safely raise and resolve issues, such as unconscious bias, racism, and discrimination thus creating a safer workspace for all. Under the auspices of the Equity Branch, both OCR and ESO are integral to IRCC achieving results for all departmental priorities through the removal of barriers and development of psychologically safe environments which increases productivity, morale and improves the department’s ability to attract and retain talent.

In 2024–25, the Department will advance the work to address systemic racism and inequities by identifying strategies to integrate anti-racism and equity-related work and key performance measures into departmental planning, evaluations, and results reporting. Building on the initiatives of IRCC’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2.0 (2021-2024), the Department will update its Anti-Racism Strategy and work towards a holistic approach to equity-related work to advance equity for its employees, clients and Canadians. IRCC will continue to work towards results reporting of anti-racism and equity efforts by monitoring, tracking progress, and reporting on departmental commitments to enhance transparency and accountability of diverse equity initiatives to the Minister, Parliament and Canadians.

Equity perspectives in support of departmental results will include program-led evidence-based equity reviews of policies, programs and operations to establish a baseline understanding of potential biases in policy, program design, operational decision-making and risk management. The new approach will integrate multiple equity lenses through an intersectional approach with a focus on applying this analysis as early in policy-program development cycle and service delivery design process as possible. This will include initiatives to identify and address biases in the implementation of automated solutions and modernization of the department’s digital platforms.

The IRCC initiatives outlined in the leadership accountability and equitable workplace pillars of Anti-Racism Strategy 2.0 will support the Clerk of the Privy Council’s Call to Action issued on May 9, 2023 to increase employment equity by setting multi-year hiring and promotion goals for Indigenous, Black and other racialized employees and the implementation of the Executive Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy Index piloted in the Department in 2023–24.

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