Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada releases newly-updated guidance for decision-makers

​​​​The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) announces the release of the following updated Chairperson's Guidelines:

Both guidelines will come into force on October 31, 2023. The next 3 months will be used to deliver comprehensive training to the Board's 500-plus members and adjudicative support staff. This will ensure we are ready to effectively implement Guideline 3 and Guideline 8 on October 31.

Improvements to Chairperson's Guideline 3

We have improved and updated Guideline 3 by:

  • providing more explicit guidance on the application of the Best Interests of the Child (BIOC) principle in order to ensure the rights of the child are respected in all cases involving minors at the IRB;
  • adding substantive legal guidance regarding specific issues for each division, as appropriate;
  • providing more practical guidance on unaccompanied, accompanied, and separated minors;
  • giving more guidance on the role of designated representatives; and
  • providing enhanced guidance on strategies to elicit evidence from minors.

Improvements to Chairperson's Guideline 8

We have improved and updated Guideline 8 by:

  • removing the need to designate and label an individual as a “vulnerable person”;
  • removing the requirement for an individual to establish that their ability to present their case is “severely impaired”;
  • providing enhanced guidance on procedural accommodations;
  • incorporating the IRB's obligations under the Canadian Human Rights Act and other legislation, to increase access to justice to individuals who may face barriers to a fair proceeding taking into account ​disabilities, vulnerabilities and/or personal characteristics; and
  • providing guidance on situations where a person's disabilities, vulnerabilities and/or personal characteristics may be relevant to the assessment of the merits of the case.​

In addition, to ensure consistency between Chairperson's Guidelines, we will update language regarding trauma-informed adjudication in the current Chairperson's Guideline 4: Gender considerations in proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board to reflect the language used in Guideline 3 and Guideline 8. These revisions to Guideline 4 will also come into force on October 31, 2023.​

Part of the IRB's adjudicative policy suite

Chairperson's Guidelines provide IRB decision-makers with guiding principles for adjudicating and managing cases. Chairperson's Guideline 3 and Guideline 8 are the fifth and sixth guidelines to have been updated since 2021 as part of the IRB's overall renewal of its adjudicative policy suite. In addition, the IRB has

These efforts have supported the IRB's overall goal of delivering quality decisions fairly and quickly.

The Board gratefully acknowledges the stakeholders and academics across the country who participated in the extensive consultation process that contributed to the review and revision of the guidelines.