Immigration board turns to triage to eliminate backlog
The Immigration and Refugee Board will begin to triage and refer old and new claims for shorter hearings in March in an attempt to reduce its ballooning backlog, or at least to stop it from snowballing.
Through flexible scheduling and shorter hearing streaming, the IRB hopes to increase the productivity of its 119 decisionmakers by 15 to 20 per cent, said Paula Thompson, the board’s chief of staff.
The redeployment, announced earlier in February, came on the heels of President Trump’s antirefugee policies and Canada’s lifting of the visa requirements for Mexican travellers in December. However, Thompson said the board’s move was not prompted by these events.
“There’s no direct relationship with what’s going on in the States,” Thompson said. “So far we have seen a very negligible increase from Mexico.”
Data showed the IRB received an average of 1,700 new claims a month from January to August last year, but the number has skyrocketed to 2,400 cases since. Currently, there are 19,000 claims in the backlog.
Under the new triage approach, claims will be screened for short hearings if the cases are straightforward and have no issues with the identity and credibility of the claimants.