Departmental Results Report (DRR) – 2018-2019

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​​Table of contents

  1. Institutional head's message
  2. Results at a glance
  3. Results: what we achieved
    1. Core responsibility
    2. Internal services
  4. Analysis of trends in spending and human resources
    1. Actual expenditures
    2. Actual human resources
    3. Expenditures by vote
    4. Government of Canada spending and activities
    5. Financial statements and financial statement highlights
  5. Supplementary information
    1. Corporate information
      1. Organizational profile
      2. Raison d'être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do
      3. Operating context and key risks
    2. Supporting information on the program inventory
    3. Supplementary information tables
    4. Federal tax expenditures
    5. Organizational contact information
  6. Appendix: definitions
  7. Endnotes

Institutional head's message

I am pleased to present the 2018–19 Departmental Results Report for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).

In 2018–19, political instability and armed conflict around the globe generated a record number of asylum seekers at Canada’s borders, and in the hearing rooms of the IRB. Despite investments in Budget 2018, this record intake of refugee claims continued to outstrip funded capacity at the IRB, which in turn led to growing inventories and wait times at both the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD).

Having received more than $70M in additional temporary funding in Budget 2018 to reinforce decision-making capacity at the Board, the IRB placed its focus in fiscal year 2018–19 on maximizing the impact of this investment through the development and launch of a multi-year “growth and transformation” agenda. Through this agenda, the IRB has begun to improve overall productivity, enhance quality and consistency in decision-making, and strengthen management, with a focus on strengthened governance, the development of a culture of operational awareness and results, and a renewed commitment to people management.

Our efforts enabled the IRB to deliver its strongest year-end results since the asylum system was reformed in 2012. By increasing the number of finalized refugee protection claims by more than 30 percent at the RPD and 60 percent at the RAD over the previous year, the IRB substantially exceeded its funded performance commitments. This materially slowed the growth of the backlog and wait times from where they would otherwise be. In addition, innovations in case management, including a focus on resolving appeals outside the hearing room, enabled the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) to successfully eliminate its backlog of immigration appeals, allowing it to turn its focus towards improving the timeliness of decisions and establishing a service standard of 12 months for all appeals filed as of April 1, 2018. Lastly, the Immigration Division (ID) finalized a remarkable 11,000 detention reviews and some 1,700 admissibility hearings, meeting the demand of intake and avoiding any backlog, while meeting both statutory time limits and service standard commitments. Most importantly, the IRB was able to achieve these impressive productivity results while upholding its commitment to fair hearings and high-quality decisions.

The IRB, along with its portfolio service providers—Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)—also established the Asylum System Management Board* to enable improved planning, performance measurement, coordination and resource allocation across the asylum determination system. It is expected that these system-wide efforts will lead to a more effective and efficient refugee determination system and I look forward to reporting on the results next fiscal year.

The IRB’s progress this past year positioned it well for Budget 2019, through which the Government identified an investment of over $200M for fiscal years 2019–20 and 2020–21, the largest investment in the IRB’s 30 year history.

Our strong performance this past year, despite the strained operating context, is a credit to the commitment and professionalism of all IRB personnel. I look forward to working with all staff and stakeholders in fiscal year 2019–20 on the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Richard Wex

Results at a glance

Results: what we achieved​


Core responsibility

Adjudication of immigration and refugee cases

The IRB renders quality decisions and resolves cases in a timely manner regarding immigration and refugee protection cases. This includes determining refugee protection claims and appeals and applications to vacate or cease refugee protection. It also includes making decisions on admissibility hearings and detention reviews, and on appeals on certain immigration cases (e.g. family sponsorship applications, certain removal orders, applications based on meeting residency obligations and admissibility hearings).


The IRB’s strategic priorities for 2018–19 were to:

  1. Limit the growth of the refugee determination backlogs
  2. Eliminate the backlog of immigration appeals

Key to addressing these priorities was to improve productivity without compromising quality, and to strengthen management, including system-wide coordination across service delivery partners.

Improved productivity through innovation

Innovation is key to achieving and sustaining a high level of productivity, and in 2018–19 the IRB became more efficient in finalizing immigration and refugee cases through evidence-based experimentation.

This experimentation included a number of case management pilot projects involving, for example, the triage of cases and the assignment of scheduling and resources based on their relative complexity. A task force was created to rapidly process and finalize less complex cases. In addition, geographical specialization among decision-makers in the RPD, together with the additional capacity provided for in Budget 2018, allowed the Division to finalize more than 30 percent more cases than in the previous year.

At the same time, the RPD’s previously established task force that focused on finalizing the majority of the oldest cases in the inventory achieved its target result. Through its focused efforts, the RPD had substantively eliminated the remaining backlog of pre-2013 “legacy” claims by year-end. In addition, thanks to internal efficiency measures as well as the increased temporary funding allocated to the IRB in Budget 2018, the RPD was able to finalize over 34,000 refugee protection claims in 2018–19, exceeding its finalization target by 9 percent.

Innovative practices adopted by the RAD included the transition to paperless case files, allowing the Division to achieve greater efficiency through national case assignment and the batching of similar cases together. In addition, a new position was piloted at the RAD to support decision-makers with non-adjudicative tasks, including case triage and research. Coupled with additional decision-makers appointed by the Governor in Council, these efforts helped the RAD to finalize 5,300 appeals in 2018–19, an increase of more than 60 percent over the previous year, including the near elimination of appeals filed before 2018.

For its part, the ID kept pace with intake throughout the reporting period and productivity continued to meet the demands of intake. Further, the IAD expanded its early resolution program that aims to resolve appeals without the need for an oral hearing, generating efficiencies for the Division while contributing to a less stressful and costly resolution process for appellants. The IAD also took steps to ensure that cases were hearing-ready before they were scheduled, thereby avoiding unnecessary delays and maximizing the use of available hearing time. These measures helped the Division to finalize 7,100 cases in 2018–19, up from 6,800 in the previous year, thereby eliminating its remaining backlog by the end of the reporting period.

Strengthened management

Canada’s refugee determination continuum is complex, with multiple hand-offs and other interactions between the IRB, IRCC and CBSA on a daily basis. However, as noted by an independent review of the IRB published in 2018, system-wide coordination was lacking, leading to inefficiencies and bottlenecks. In response, the IRB worked with its portfolio partners to strengthen system-wide governance and coordination. Through their cooperative efforts, the three organizations established a new Asylum System Management Board at the deputy head level, while at the same time piloting an Integrated Claim Analysis Centre to streamline front-end processes and ensure the hearing readiness of refugee protection claims referred to the RPD for processing. By working together in this way, the IRB, IRCC and CBSA have demonstrated the potential to reduce overlap, improve planning and enhance coordination across the continuum, all the while preserving the IRB’s institutional independence as an administrative tribunal.

Fairness and quality

Just as the IRB must continuously strive to be as efficient as possible in its case processing, so must it ensure the quality and fairness of all its proceedings.

Quality was an area of particular focus for the ID during the reporting period. Responding to the recommendations of an audit of long-term detention review hearings that concluded in the second quarter of the fiscal year, the Division adopted a comprehensive management action plan to address findings of the audit. Key initiatives undertaken include the implementation of a new Chairperson’s Guideline on Detention, aimed at reinforcing best practices in the Division, as well as the promotion of active adjudication and the provision of advanced training for decision-makers. In addition, the Division ensured that cases involving the detention of individuals for six months or longer were subject to active case management, including regular reviews and close oversight.

Throughout the reporting period, the IRB demonstrated its continuing commitment to gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness through the application of the Chairperson’s Guideline on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE). Having launched a review of the implementation of the Chairperson’s Guideline on SOGIE in the fourth quarter of 2018–19, the IRB looks forward to making adjustments as warranted to this pioneering policy instrument in the year ahead.

Our commitment to fairness and quality is also reflected in the decisions of the Federal Court, which has returned less than one percent of our decisions.

Results achieved
Organizational resultPerformance indicatorsTargetDate to achieve targetActual results
Fair and timely adjudication of immigration and refugee casesPercentage of cases that are deemed fair by the partiesBaseline year - target to be set by January 31, 2020March 2021n/an/an/a
Percentage of cases overturned by the federal courtLess than 1%March 20200.6%0.6%0.7%
Percentage of cases that meet legislated or internal timelinesn/aMarch 202058%n/an/a
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2018-19 Main estimates2018-19 Planned spending2018-19 Total authorities available for use2018-19 Actual spending (authorities used)2018-19 Difference (actual spending minus planned spending)
99,903,644 99,903,644 130,763,872111,379,470 11,475,826
Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs])
2018-19 Planned FTEs2018-19 Atual FTEs2018-19 Difference (actual FTEs minus planned FTEs

In 2018–19, Budget 2018 provided the IRB with $30 million in temporary funding to process an increased number of refugee protection claims. This temporary funding accounts for the difference between the 2018–19 main estimates and total authorities.

The IRB leveraged this additional funding to acquire additional resources to substantially increase the number of finalizations. Actual expenditures and FTEs are greater than planned because of the costs associated with these additional resources.

Financial, human resources and performance information for the IRB’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Internal services

Internal services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of Programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct services that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Acquisition Management Services; Communications Services; Financial Management Services; Human Resources Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Legal Services; Management and Oversight Services; Materiel Management Services; and Real Property Management Services;


Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
Main estimates
Planned spending
Total authorities available for use
Actual spending (authorities used)
Difference (actual spending minus planned spending)
Human resources (FTEs)
Planned FTEs
Actual FTEs
Difference (actual FTEs minus planned FTEs)

In 2018–19, $8.9 million in temporary funding was also provided to internal services to acquire the required capacity to support a higher number of finalizations. This $8.9 million accounts for the difference between the main estimates and total authorities available for use. Budget 2018 provided $4.9 million of the $8.9 million, with the remaining $4 million being sourced from the departmental 2017–18 operating budget carry-forward.

Actual spending in internal services was higher than planned as the IRB invested in program support infrastructure, which includes accommodations, equipment and information technology, as well as increased number of FTEs in the corporate enablers.

Internal Services were critical to the IRB’s successes in 2018–19 by ensuring that human and financial resources as well as the necessary training, business tools and infrastructure were in place to support the implementation of Board priorities. Investments were also made in system enablers such as information technology, providing the basis for strengthened performance measurement and reporting and the transition from paper to digital files at the RAD, among other improvements. These investments are expected to deliver even greater benefits to the organization in future years.

Together with heightened operational awareness, the IRB has taken steps to reinforce a culture of performance and results. A new governance model was implemented at the Board to enhance rigour to management decision-making while improving management and oversight of operational performance.

Employee wellness was also a priority during 2018–19. Working with unions and other employee representatives, the IRB appointed workplace mental health champions and established a Joint Sub-Committee on Mental Health. This Sub-Committee, with a mandate to develop a Workplace Mental Health Strategy, administered an organizational survey to baseline employee perceptions of workplace wellness and mental health. It also pursued a number of measures to promote psychological health and well-being among Board personnel. This will be an area of continued focus in the year ahead, as the IRB strives to offer its personnel a healthy and supportive work environment.

Analysis of trends in spending and human resources

Actual expenditures

Organizational spending trend graph


Budgetary performance summary for core responsibility and internal services (dollars)

Core responsibility and internal services2018–19
Main estimates
Planned spending
Planned spending
Planned spending
Total authorities available for use
Actual spending (authorities used)
Actual spending (authorities used)
Actual spending (authorities used)
Adjudication of immigration and refugee cases99,903,644 99,903,644 129,371,913 111,919,660 130,763,872111,379,470 93,887,241 82,914,807
Subtotal 99,903,644 99,903,644 129,371,913 111,919,660 130,763,872 111,379,470 93,887,241 82,914,807
Internal services33,407,711 33,407,711 37,331,439 33,865,768 42,310,368 46,979,165 37,805,143 32,584,660
Total133,311,355 133,311,355 166,703,352145,785,428 173,074,240 158,358,635 131,692,384 115,499,467

Increases in expenditures in 2017–18 and 2018–19 are the result of costs incurred to increase the number of claims being processed.

On March 19, 2019, Budget 2019 earmarked temporary funding for the IRB to increase the number of claims being processed over two fiscal years. This temporary funding increases available resources from $167 million in 2019–20 to $225 million, and from $146 million in 2020–21 to $281 million. In 2021–22, when the temporary funding sunsets, funding will decline to approximately the same level as in 2017–18. The IRB will be working with the portfolio partners and central agencies to address the IRB’s long-term funding requirements.

Actual human resources

Human resources summary for core responsibility and internal services FTEs

Core responsibility and internal services2016–17
Actual FTEs
Actual FTEs
Planned FTEs
Actual FTEs
Planned FTEs
Planned FTEs
Adjudication of immigration and refugee cases7157898429491,142945
Subtotal 715 789 842 949 1,421 945
Internal services261268270296258232

The increase in FTEs from 2016–17 through 2018–19 is due to additional resources required to increase the number of claims being processed. In 2019–20 and 2020–21, the IRB will leverage funding provided in Budget 2019 and increase the number of FTEs to process a higher number of claims. With the additional funding, FTEs are projected to increase from 1,400 to 1,592 in 2019–20 and from 1,177 to 1,876 in 2020–21.

Expenditures by vote

For information on the IRB’s organizational voted and statutory expenditures, consult the Public Accounts of Canada 2018–19.

Government of Canada spending and activities

Information on the alignment of the IRB’s spending with the Government of Canada’s spending and activities is available in the GC InfoBase.

Financial statements and financial statement highlights

Financial statements

The IRB’s financial statements (unaudited) for the year ended March 31, 2019, are available on IRB’s website.

Financial statement highlights

Condensed statement of operations (unaudited)

For the year ended March 31, 2019 (dollars)

Financial information2018-19
Planned results
Actual results
Actual results
Difference (2018-19 actual results minus 2018-19 planned results)Difference (2018-19 acutal results minus 2017-18 actual results)
Total expenses161,701,000 189,388,301 160,054,370 27,687,301 29,333,931
Total revenues00000
Net cost of operations before Government funding and transfers161,701,000189,388,301 160,054,370 27,687,30129,333,931

Total expenditures are higher than the planned and previous years’ expenditures because of the costs incurred to augment the IRB’s capacity to process a higher number of claims.

Condensed Statement of Financial Position (unaudited)

As of March 31, 2019 (dollars)

Financial information2018-192017-18Difference (2018-19 minus 2017-18
Total net liabilities29,683,21321,688,1597,995,054
Total net financial assets20,525,78013,343,6747,182,106
Organizational net debt9,157,4338,344,485812,948
Total non-financial assets1,946,9322,951,124(1,004,192)
Organizational net financial position(7,210,501)(5,393,361)(1,817,140)

Total net liabilities increased primarily because of higher payables at year end. This increase is offset by an increase in total net financial assets, providing the financial means to settle liabilities. The organizational net debt represents future requirements to be settled from future financial authorities.

Supplementary information

Corporate information

Organizational profile

  • Appropriate Minister: The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino​
  • Institutional head: Richard Wex, Chairperson
  • Ministerial portfolio: Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship
  • Enabling Instrument:Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Year of incorporation/commencement: 1989

Raison d'être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do is available on the IRB’s website.

Operating context and key risks

Information on operating context and key risks is available on the IRB's website.

Reporting framework

The IRB’s Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory of record for 2018–​19 are shown below.

Supporting information on the program inventory

Financial, human resources and performance information for the IRB’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Supplementary information tables

The following supplementary information tables are available on the IRB’s website.

Federal tax expenditures

The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs. The tax measures presented in this report are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Organizational contact information

For more information, visit the IRB website, or contact the IRB through the Contact us webpage or at the address indicated below.

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Minto Place, Canada Building
344 Slater Street, 12th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K1

Follow us on Twitter (@IRB_Canada) or Facebook.

Appendix: definitions

appropriation (crédit)
Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)
Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.
Core Responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)
An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a Core Responsibility are reflected in one or more related Departmental Results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.
Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)
A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a three year period. Departmental Plans are tabled in Parliament each spring.
Departmental Result (résultat ministériel)
A Departmental Result represents the change or changes that the department seeks to influence. A Departmental Result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.
Departmental Result Indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)
A factor or variable that provides a valid and reliable means to measure or describe progress on a Departmental Result.
Departmental Results Framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)
Consists of the department’s Core Responsibilities, Departmental Results and Departmental Result Indicators.
Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)
A report on an appropriated department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.
experimentation (expérimentation)
Activities that seek to explore, test and compare the effects and impacts of policies, interventions and approaches, to inform evidence-based decision-making, by learning what works and what does not.
full time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)
A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person year charge against a departmental budget. Full time equivalents are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work. Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.
gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS+])
An analytical process used to help identify the potential impacts of policies, Programs and services on diverse groups of women, men and gender differences. We all have multiple identity factors that intersect to make us who we are; GBA+ considers many other identity factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)
For the purpose of the 2018–19 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2015 Speech from the Throne, namely: Growth for the Middle Class; Open and Transparent Government; A Clean Environment and a Strong Economy; Diversity is Canada’s Strength; and Security and Opportunity.
horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)
An initiative where two or more departments are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.
non budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)
Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.
performance (rendement)
What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.
performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)
A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.
performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)
The process of communicating evidence based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.
plan (plan)
The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead up to the expected result.
planned spending (dépenses prévues)
For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.
A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.
priority (priorité)
A plan or project that an organization has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired Strategic Outcome(s) or Departmental Results.
program (programme)
Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.
result (résultat)
An external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.
statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)
Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.
Strategic Outcome (résultat stratégique)
A long term and enduring benefit to Canadians that is linked to the organization’s mandate, vision and core functions.
target (cible)
A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.
voted expenditures (dépenses votées)
Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an Appropriation Act. The Vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.