Currently, refugee protection claimants must provide personal information to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) when applying for refugee protection at the land border or at the airport, or to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) when applying for refugee protection in Canada, and to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) for the hearing into their claim.
For the initial processing of their claims, claimants provide information on paper forms and in interviews with immigration or border services officers. The information collected is used for a variety of purposes: admissibility, eligibility and security screenings. After the claim is referred to the IRB, claimants must provide the IRB with more information for the assessment of their claims.
There are numerous duplications in the information collected from refugee protection claimants. The essential information required by the IRB in the Personal Information Form (PIF) is already provided to CIC or the CBSA in forms IMM 5500 (Information on Individuals Seeking Refugee Protection) and IMM 5474 (Schedule 1 - Background Information) and in the immigration or border services officer interview questionnaire. This information is sent to the IRB under the Refugee Protection Division Rules and an administrative agreement on information sharing.
Simplified information-gathering at the CBSA and CIC
Under the pilot project, the CBSA and CIC will use a harmonized form (IMM 5598- Background Information on Individuals Seeking Refugee Protection), which combines several forms used to collect personal information.
Simplified information-gathering at the IRB
For the duration of the pilot project, the IRB will use the harmonized form and excuse claimants participating in the project voluntarily from completing questions 1 to 30 on the PIF. These claimants will complete a Simplified PIF consisting of a single question- their description of the events that caused them to flee their country–and provide the form to the IRB within the prescribed time frame. Claimants who do not wish to participate in the pilot project will complete the full PIF.
The project objectives are to simplify and improve the quality of the information-gathering process. Eliminating duplication in the information collected by CIC, the CBSA and the IRB should make the process more streamlined, focused, uniform and human for claimants. The use of a single form should simplify the process for claimants by reducing opportunities for unintentional errors.
The pilot project will be conducted at ports of entry and at CIC Inland Services in the Quebec Region.
Port of entry: All persons who claim refugee protection at the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport or at the Lacolle border crossing between March 12 and 30, 2007, will complete the harmonized form.
Inland Services: All persons who claim refugee protection at the CIC inland services office in Montreal between March 5 and 23, 2007, will complete the harmonized form.
Number of files
It is estimated that a sample of 200 to 300 files should be processed during the three weeks of the pilot project. This number should be sufficient to evaluate the new form and the information-gathering process.
Advantage of a pilot project
A pilot project will enable us to make sure that the administration of the harmonized form is going smoothly and to refine its content without disrupting operations, while respecting the rights of refugee protection claimants.
Under rule 69a),(b) and (c) of the RPD Rules, the Division may "act its own initiative", "change a requirement of a rule" and "excuse a person from a requirement of a rule". The RPD will exercise the authority granted by this rule in order to allow claimants to provide only the narrative (Simplified PIF).
The project will be evaluated by the IRB, CIC and CBSA. The stakeholders will be consulted.