Gender Related Task Force

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About the Gender Related Task Force

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has established a Gender Related Task Force (GRTF) to further enhance the quality of decision-making at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD). The creation of the GRTF is in keeping with the IRB’s proud history of being a global leader in developing guidelines on how best to conduct hearings for refugee claimants raising gender-related issues.

Decision makers on the taskforce

The GRTF is made up of 24​ highly qualified and experienced decision-makers. It is a dedicated team with specialized training to hear and decide gender-related refugee claims. It will ensure the respectful, trauma-informed, and consistent adjudication of gender-related claims. It will also identify, implement and refine best practices for adjudicating gender-related claims and share those best practices for adjudication broadly across the RPD.

Refugee claims will be assigned to the GRTF based on refugee claim-type only; streaming will not result in priority or expedited processing. Claims assigned to the GRTF will be determined based on evidence, the specific merits of the claim, and in accordance with the law.

The GRTF is the third of three RPD commitments outlined in the IRB’s most recent Departmental Plan.

  • The first commitment was to complete additional mandatory training for all refugee adjudicators on gender-related claims in early 2020. The training included concepts such as addressing myths and stereotypes about survivors, the effects of trauma on memory, and unconscious bias and cultural competency.
  • The second commitment was to review and update Chairperson Guidelines related to gender. A comprehensive consultation of Chairperson Guideline 4: Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution is underway.
  • The third commitment has been fulfilled by the creation of the GRTF.

Selection process

The members of the GRTF were selected from a highly qualified applicants from across Canada, The GRTF members have an impressive range of professional skills and backgrounds including:

  • graduate studies and/or university professorships in gender-related fields
  • work countering domestic violence amongst indigenous communities in rural parts of Mexico
  • work at a women’s legal aid centre in Tanzania
  • advocacy at The Hague advancing gender-related issues related to DRC prosecutions
  • criminal prosecutions focused on empowering witness testimony during the prosecution of crimes against female victims of violence
  • the development of best practices while interacting with victims during the prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

Training for members

The training for GRTF members lasts four weeks and is delivered by leading experts on refugee and immigration law on topics such as:

  • trauma-informed practice
  • trauma-informed decision making
  • questioning from a cross-cultural and trauma-informed perspective
  • cultural humility
  • assessing credibility
  • weighing of evidence 

This training allows GRTF members to bring enhanced expertise and awareness to deciding gender-related claims.

The RPD is consulting with stakeholders and subject matter experts on the scope and work of the GRTF. Ongoing consultations on the review of Chairperson Guidelines 4 – Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution ​will also influence the work of the GRTF and vice versa. The Board’s Policy, Engagement and Parliamentary Affairs Directorate is working closely with the GRTF to ensure alignment between these two initiatives.

GRTF members will start hearing refugee claims in late October 2020.