CIMM - Summary of the Immigration and Refugee Board’s 2020-2021 Supplementary Estimates C - Mar 8, 2021
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) did not request additional funding in the 2020-2021 Supplementary Estimates C.
To offset the cost of the Program and Administrative Services collective agreement, ratified on September 29, 2020, funding was allocated to departments under Supplementary Estimates C from the Treasury Board (TB) central vote 15. The IRB was allocated $8.6Mn for this purpose.
The IRB’s total funding as reported in Supplementary Estimates C (excluding the TB vote 15 transfer) equals $286M. The source of this funding is as follows:
$279M in 2020-2021 Main Estimates, which includes $140M in B2018 and B2019 temporary funding;
$2M in B2019 funding to improve IT interoperability amongst asylum system departments; and,
$5M from the 2019-2020 operating budget carry forward.
Through the 2020-2021 Supplementary Estimates C, $33M of the $286M was frozen and is being re-profiled to 2023-2024 to mitigate the significant reduction in funding once temporary funding sunsets in 2022-2023. This amount is in addition to $2M which was already re-profiled to 2023-2024, from funding approved in Budget 2018. The total re-profile into 2023-2024 is $35M.
Approach to business resumption
The Board is committed to protecting the health and safety of its staff and those who appear before it, while also ensuring meaningful access to justice.
Prior to the pandemic, the Board was on track to meet its projections of processing approximately 50,000 refugee claims and 13,500 refugee appeals each year.
Although most in-person hearings were suspended in March 2020 because of the pandemic, the Immigration Division continued to hold detention reviews and some admissibility hearings where individuals were detained.
While in-person hearings were suspended, members finalized reserved decisions, finalized claims and appeals that did not require a hearing and developed policies and procedures to prepare for remote hearings.
The IRB quickly adopted a business resumption strategy, which included a range of initiatives to further enable remote operations, including remote hearings, while returning employees to the workplace to resume in-person hearings, in line with public health guidance from federal, provincial and local authorities. The IRB has been assured by the Public Health Agency of Canada that the Board’s health and safety protocols offer robust measures to mitigate the risk COVID-19 infection and transmission on IRB premises.
The Board began piloting remote hearings in June 2020, and began resuming in-person hearings across all Tribunals in July 2020, once health and safety measures could be fully implemented.
Throughout fall 2020 and early winter 2021, the Board shifted its hearings model to increase the proportion of hearings held remotely. As of January 18, 2021, and for the foreseeable future, only remote hearings will be held. To date, over 8,000 claims and appeals have been heard remotely. Urgent and particularly sensitive hearings may be considered for in-person hearings on a case-by-case basis. The Board expects this approach to last until at least September 2021 (source).
Productivity during COVID - Supporting Facts and Figures
The IRB has finalized nearly 30,000 refugee claims and appeals, and more than 7,000 immigration-related decisions since April 1, 2020. The overall inventory across all divisions has declined by 15%.
The current inventory of refugee claims is at 78,000, down 14% from 91,000 since April 2020. It is projected that this inventory will be below 70,000 by March 31, 2021.
The current inventory of refugee appeals is close to 6,400, down 24% from 8,400 since April 2020.
The average expected wait time is currently 24 months for refugee protection claims and 12 months for refugee appeals.
Without the extension of temporary funding from the Economic Update 2020, wait times for refugee protection claims would currently be in excess of 36 months.
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