Data obtained from the Immigration and Refugee Board through an Access to Information Request reveals vast disparities in refugee claim grant rates across IRB Members in 2008.

In 2008, some Members very rarely granted refugee status, including Andre Lamoureux (3.6%, 55 decisions) and Roger Houde (4.4%, 92 decisions). Others granted refugee status in virtually all the cases they heard, including Marie Chevrier (99.6%, 262 decisions) and Richard Dawson (98.8%, 257 decisions).

It is important to note that some of the grant 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 grant rates. In an explanatory note appended to the data provided (see below), the IRB sets out further reasons why outcomes in refugee determinations may vary.

Nonetheless, the tables set out below suggest that even when one accounts for these factors, massive disparities in Member grant rates persist.

The tables as well as the underlying data may be of use to advocates for refugees, especially in the context of debates over the delayed implementation of the Refugee Appeal Division. The information may also be of particular interest for lawyers seeking to judicially review negative refugee determinations made by Members with extremely low grant rates.

For a discussion of the methodology used obtain and calculate the data, 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,

Tables & Data:

  1.  Grant Rates, by Members (Alphabetical Order)
  2.  Grant Rates, by Members (Organized by Grant Rate)
  3.  Extreme Grant Rates, Members Deciding 50+ Cases
  4.  Grant Rates, by Country of Origin and Members
  5.  Grant Rates, by Members and Country of Origin
  6.  Grant Rates, by Country of Origin
  7.  Expected Grant Rates, by Members (Based on IRB Averages for COO)
  8.  Expected Grant Rates, by Country of Origin and Members (Based on IRB Averages for COO)
  9. Extreme Variations Between Expected and Actual Grant Rates, Members Deciding 50+Cases (Based on IRB Averages for COO)
  10. Full Data
  11. IRB Explanatory Note PDF


  • The underlying data was obtained from the IRB through Access to Information Request #A-2008-00087 (10 Feb 1009).
  • The data includes only principal claimant refugee determinations where a positive or negative decision was mailed to the claimant in 2008.
  • The data includes only cases where information was provided about the name of the IRB Member deciding the case.
  • In the underlying data, there are unverified digitization errors for the “File Number” field. Use with caution.
  • In previous years, “Claim Type” information was available. However, according to the IRB, this information was no longer recorded as of December 2006.

To be cited as: Sean Rehaag, “2008 Refugee Claim Data & IRB Member Grant Rates” (4 March 2009) online:

Sean Rehaag
Assistant Professor
Osgoode Hall Law School
York University