CIMM — Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) - Inventory and Wait Times – February 15 & 17, 2022
Between 2015 and 2018, the IRB saw an unprecedented intake of refugee claims – an increase of 300% – well above funded processing levels, creating the largest backlog and wait times in the Board’s history.
In response, the Government provided approximately $600 million in temporary funding to the Board, the largest investment in its 30 years’ history.
With this investment, coupled with productivity improvements recently introduced by the IRB and other measures:
the backlog of refugee claims has decreased by some 40%, from a high of over 90,000 to 57,000 claims; and
projected wait times for new claims have decreased from 22 months at the start of the pandemic to 14 months for new claims as of December 2021, its lowest level since 2016.
Despite the significant disruptions of the past two years, the Board has returned to full productivity and, helped by the slowdown in intake as a result of the pandemic, has been able to reduce inventory across all of its divisions by almost 40% (to the end of December 2021).
The Government is working with the Board on the possibility of permanent funding, as intake is expected to return to or exceed previous volumes when travel resumes.
Since 2020-21, the Board has reduced its overall inventory of refugee cases and appeals by more than a third, from over 101,000 in May 2020 to approximately 62,000 at of the end of December 2021.
At the end of December 2021, wait times for new cases at both the Refugee Protection Division and Refugee Appeal Division were at their lowest levels since September 2016.
Between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, the IRB finalized more than 82,500 refugee claims and appeals, and approximately 16,000 immigration-related decisions.
Overall, between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, the inventory across all IRB divisions has declined by 38%. The Board has been able to reduce the backlog of refugee claims in the Refugee Protection Division by 37%, the Refugee Appeal Division by 43%, the Immigration Division by 15%, and the Immigration Appeal division by 38%.