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UPDATED 2011 Refugee Claim Data and IRB Member Recognition Rates
The following note and the accompanying data are provided by Sean Rehaag
Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
6 August 2012
This note updates data on 2011 refugee claims and Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) grant rates previously reported at http://ccrweb.ca/en/2011-refugee-claim-data.
A letter from the IRB, dated 5 July 2012, indicates that data provided earlier by the IRB in response to an Access to Information request (which was reported at the above website) contained a “computer error”. The IRB provided updated data to correct this error.
The new data, like the earlier data, reveals vast disparities in refugee claim recognition rates across IRB Members in 2011.
In 2011, some Members very rarely granted refugee status, including Daniel McSweeney (0%, 129 decisions) and David McBean (1.1%, 88 decisions). Others granted refugee status in most of the cases they heard, including Thomas Pinkney (98.7%, 746 decisions) and Deborah Morrish (98.1%, 320 decisions).
It is important to note that some of the recognition rate variation may be due to Member specialization in particular types of cases. For example, some Members are assigned a large number of expedited cases, which generally result in positive decisions. Similarly, some Members specialize in geographic regions with especially high or low refugee claim recognition rates. For further possible explanations for variations in recognition rates, please follow the link below to an IRB explanatory note (obtained as part of a prior Access to Information Request).
Although some of the recognition rate variation can be explained by factors related to Member specialization, the tables below suggest that even when one accounts for such factors, massive disparities in recognition rates persist. The tables show that there is substantial variance for some Members between the recognition rates that would be predicted based on the average recognition rates for the countries of origins in the cases they decided, and their actual recognition rates. For instance, Daniel McSweeney (predicted: 44.1%; actual: 0%) and Michael McCaffrey (predicted: 60.7%; actual: 30.0%) had much lower recognition rates than predicted, whereas Jacques Fortin (predicted: 54.4%; actual 81.5%) and Barry Dhillon (predicted 35.0%; actual: 59.7%) had much higher recognition rates than predicted – and none of these Members decided expedited positive cases.
The data may be of use to advocates for refugees, especially in the context of debates over reforms to Canada’s refugee determination system – including discussions surrounding Bill C-31, and the importance of access to the Refugee Appeal Division for all refugee claimants. The data may also be of interest for lawyers seeking to judicially review negative refugee determinations made by Members with extremely low recognition rates.
For a discussion of the methodology used to obtain the data and to calculate the statistics, as well as a full analysis of the implications of similar data for a previous year, see Sean Rehaag, “Troubling Patterns in Canadian Refugee Adjudication” (2008) 39 Ottawa Law Review 335. This article is available via links here: http://ssrn.com/author=404046
1. Summary of Outcomes
2. Outcomes by Country
3. Outcomes by Board Member (Alphabetical)
3a. Outcomes by Board Member (Organized by Recognition Rate, 50+ Decisions)
3b. Outcomes by Board Member (Organized by Nominal Variance, 50+ Decisions)
4. Outcomes by Country and Board Member
5. Outcomes by Board Member and Country
6. Full Data
7. IRB Explanatory Note (2008)
8. IRB Letter Identifying the “Computer Error” (2012)
To be cited as: Sean Rehaag, “UPDATED 2011 Refugee Claim Data and IRB Member Recognition Rates” (3 August 2012), online: http://ccrweb.ca/en/2011-updated-refugee-claim-data.
- The data was obtained through Access to Information Request A-2011-090. I thank the Immigration and Refugee Board, and in particular Eric Villemaire, Director ATIP, and Debora Eisl, Deputy Director ATIP, for their prompt and helpful assistance with the request.
- Table 2 includes only cases resulting in a positive or negative decision, or where the application was withdrawn or declared abandoned, excluding cases otherwise decided. Tables 3-5 include only cases resulting in a positive or negative decision (i.e. only cases decided on the merits), excluding all other cases.
- Unlike in the data obtained for previous years (see links below), the data for 2011 includes information on claims made both by principal claimants and dependents.
- A small number of cases have duplicate entries in the data. Debora Eisl, Deputy Director ATIP at the IRB has advised that: “all decisions listed are final decisions as determined by the IRB. Perceived duplicate entries would appear for files that were re-opened due to abandonment or withdrawal, as well as any file that is sent back to the IRB from the Federal Court for a new hearing as that is how they are treated in the case management system.”
- This year’s data refers to “recognition rates”. The term “recognition rate” is used to mean the proportion of positive decisions relative to the total number of positive and negative decisions, excluding cases that are abandoned, withdrawn or otherwise resolved. This is the standard practice for reporting outcomes by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (http://www.unhcr.org/statistics), and it is the way that “grant rates” were reported for data obtained for prior years (see links below). Moreover, in this year’s data, the term “rejection rate” is used in Table 2 in the way set out in Bill C-31, cl 58, that is to say, the number of negative, withdrawn and abandoned cases relative to the total number of cases decided. Similarly, the term “abandon rate” is also used in Table 2 to reflect Bill C-31, cl 58: abandoned and withdrawn cases relative to the total number of cases decided. Full text of the Bill is available here: http://parl.gc.ca/legisinfo/BillDetails.aspx?billId=5383493
Osgoode Hall Law School
Data from previous years