Source description last updated: 6 April 2020

Note: The information provided in this source description mainly focuses on the work of the IRB’s Research Directorate

In brief: The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is an independent administrative tribunal responsible for making decisions on immigration and refugee matters.

Coverage on ecoi.net:

Responses to Information Requests (RIR), Issue Papers, Country Fact Sheets

Covered monthly on ecoi.net for countries of priorities A–E (all available countries).

Mission/Mandate/Objectives:

“The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada is an independent tribunal established by the Parliament of Canada. Our mission, on behalf of Canadians, is to resolve immigration and refugee cases efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.”

“The IRB decides, among other responsibilities, who needs refugee protection among the thousands of claimants who come to Canada annually. […]

The IRB reports to Parliament through the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, but the IRB remains independent from IRCC [Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada] and the Minister.” (IRB website: About the Board, last updated 3 February 2020)

“Because conditions in a country often change, we produce regular information about ‘countries of origin’ [COI]. Our decision makers may consult this information as part of their work.” (IRB website: Country of origin information, last updated 3 July 2018)

Country of origin information is provided in several different formats:

Responses to Information Requests (RIRs) are “[f]ocused research reports that answer specific COI questions”. (IRB: The Research Directorate and Country of Origin Information, 23 November 2016, p. 6). They are produced by the IRB’s Research Directorate upon request by IRB decision makers and are provided in English and French. (IRB website: Responses to Information Requests, last updated 25 June 2018)

National Documentation Packages (NDP) are “lists of public documents that provide information on country conditions. Updates occur on a regular basis” (IRB website: National Documentation Packages, last updated 28 June 2019).

Fact Finding Mission Reports, Issue Papers and other research publications (IRB website: Other documents, last updated 12 December 2019)

Funding:

“The IRB is financed by the Government of Canada through Parliamentary authorities.” (IRB website: 2018–2019 Financial Statements, last updated 26 February 2020)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: all countries of origin of asylum-seekers to Canada

Thematic focus: human rights; security; situation of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities; socio-economic conditions; citizenship; ID documents etc.(

Methodology

According to a presentation given by representatives of the IRB’s Research Directorate in November 2016, its research methodology involves “[p]roduc[ing] a report that compares, contrasts and corroborates information using multiple sources[,] [u]se [of] publicly available information[,] [i]dentify[ing] sources for all information (reference list provided)[,] [a]ssign[ing] no ‘weight’ to any source or report”, the Research Directorate refraining from offering opinions of their own on conditions in a country, and acknowledging that “COI research is necessarily ‘equivocal’” (IRB: The Research Directorate and Country of Origin Information, 23 November 2016, p. 12).

The Research Directorate consults “a variety of publicly available sources to represent multiple points of view”, including “[i]nternational, national and regional human rights organizations[,] [n]ewspapers and media[,] [a]cademic publications[,] [i]ndependent research institutes[,] [g]overnments” as well as “[o]ral sources willing to provide public domain information and/or be cited in a public document” (IRB: The Research Directorate and Country of Origin Information, 23 November 2016, p. 13).

“Sources are assessed for their reliability and selected based on the following criteria: [c]urrency[,] [o]bjectivity[,] [t]ransparency[,] [r]eputation[,] [m]andate/mission of the source[,] [q]ualifications and background of the author[,] [i]nformation gathering and reporting methodology[,] [q]uality of the writing and presentation[,] [s]ource funding” (IRB: The Research Directorate and Country of Origin Information, 23 November 2016, p. 15).

Oral sources consulted by the IRB’s Research Directorate may include “[s]cholars, government officials, human rights defenders, NGO representatives, legal experts, etc” (IRB: The Research Directorate and Country of Origin Information, 23 November 2016, p. 16). Information may be obtained from oral sources through “[phone] [i]nterview or correspondence” (IRB: The Research Directorate and Country of Origin Information, 23 November 2016, p. 17). When presented in research documents, oral sources are “[g]enerally not identified by their name“ but only cited with reference to their area of expertise and institutional affiliation (IRB: The Research Directorate and Country of Origin Information, 23 November 2016, p. 19).

Languages of publication:

English and French

 

All links accessed 6 April 2020.