Evaluation of the Reviews and Interventions Pilot Project

4. Summary of Findings and Recommendations

4.1 Summary of Findings

The R&I Pilot was designed to provide the capacity for CIC to conduct reviews and interventions on in-Canada asylum claims being heard before the IRB where it identified issues of credibility and program integrity. CIC was successful in implementing the Pilot as planned, with a few modifications to timing, budget, scope, and process. The evaluation found that communication and coordination within CIC was working well, but that there is a need for improved communication and coordination with the CBSA, particularly with respect to the establishment of formal channels for information exchange. The evaluation also found that there is an opportunity for improving the function for example, by filling gaps in training and tools that were identified by R&I staff, developing a clear framework to guide the interventions process, and improving the consistency of administrative data.

In the first 18 months of the Pilot, CIC was able to conduct 10,775 reviews and 2,465 interventions. The evaluation found that these interventions have added value as they have ensured that comprehensive information for the claim has been brought forward for the IRB decision-making process. Information from the interventions has been referenced in written IRB decisions and administrative data showed that 2013 positive decision rates at the RPD are lower for cases in which CIC has conducted an intervention. While the Pilot has added value, it has been limited to a small percentage of total cases and there may be opportunities to clarify application of the methodology and interventions methodology through the development of a policy framework. Based on trend analysis, systemic issues were identified and brought the attention of the IRB. From a relevance perspective, there is need to have the function in place to ensure that the Government of Canada has a mechanism to present information during IRB hearings processes where concerns have been identified.

The current roles of CIC and the CBSA in reviews and interventions are aligned with their respective mandates. However, having two departments sharing the responsibility has created some operational challenges, particularly with respect to confusion around roles and responsibilities for hybrid cases and the fact that cases are sometimes passed back and forth between the two departments, resulting in less time to conduct the review and intervention, if necessary.

4.2 Recommendations

If CIC were to regularize the R&I Pilot into a permanent program, the following recommendation should be considered:

  1. CIC should develop a policy framework, in consultation with the CBSA, which outlines CIC's authorities for the Reviews and Interventions function, including:
    • identifying what information can be gathered and from what sources;
    • clarifying protocols around information sharing, with government departments and non-government organizations; and
    • establishing guidance and parameters for the conduct of interventions (i.e., when an intervention should be conducted).
  2. CIC should work with the CBSA to ensure that the mandates of each department and respective roles and responsibilities for hybrid cases and the triage process are clearly defined, documented, and communicated to all staff.
  3. CIC should work with the CBSA to identify and establish the necessary instruments and processes (such as information sharing agreements) to obtain and/or exchange information that is required to conduct reviews and interventions (e.g., document analysis).
  4. CIC should address the gaps in training and tools, including training on RAD and CIC information systems, developing standard operating procedures, and obtaining additional analytical tools.
  5. In order to address the R&I data issues identified through the evaluation:
    • CIC should ensure that appropriate performance measures are identified for the Reviews and Interventions function and integrated in existing relevant Performance Measurement Strategies where applicable; and
    • CIC should ensure that performance data related to the Reviews and Interventions function are being collected and reported in a consistent way across the department.
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