Resolutions adopted May 1999

14. IRB - expanded mandate

Whereas:
  1. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has proposed in a white paper that the mandate of the Immigration and Refugee Board be expanded to include adjudication on whether persons face risks in returning to their countries of nationality other than those risks covered by the Refugee Convention;
  2. It has been announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada will soon be drafting legislation to embody the above mentioned proposal;
Therefore be it resolved:

That the CCR:

  1. Support the expansion of the mandate of the IRB as proposed by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, provided that the legislation and regulations enabling this proposal contain the following provisions:

    (a) that the IRB shall, when dealing with a person's claim, first determine if the person is a Convention Refugee before going on to decide whether that person faces other risks in returning to her/his country of nationality;

    (b) that the risks which the IRB may determine are grounds for not returning a person to his/her country of nationality shall include but not be limited to:

    (i) risks identified in international instruments to which Canada is party, such as the Convention Against Torture, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;

    (ii) Generalized and personal risks resulting from country conditions, such as a state of war, generalized violence, widespread abuse of human rights, unchecked criminal activity, state-sanctioned torture or persecution against women;

    (iii) risks to family life and unity.

    (c) that the IRB be designated a "court of first instance" to determine whether a person's rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would be violated should he/she be required to leave Canada and return to her/his country of nationality;

    (d) that the selection and training of members of the IRB be done in a fair, unbiased, and open manner, as more specifically stated in previous CCR resolutions;

    (e) that a person have the right to an appeal on the merits from the decision of the IRB in accord with CCR Resolution 24, May 92;

    (f) that there be a pre-removal review conducted by the IRB to determine if there has been any change in circumstances which would alter the IRB's initial decision on the person's claim for Convention Refugee status and on whether that person would face other risks;

    (g) that a person has the right to paid counsel at the initial hearing before the IRB, at the appeal on the merits, and at the pre-removal review.

  2. Request meaningful consultation on the issues addressed prior to the drafting of legislation on these matters.