Im­mi­gra­tion board turns to triage to elim­i­nate back­log

StarMetro Vancouver - - NEWS | CANADA -

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.

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