Case No. 21-006

The complainant was a refugee claimant whose claim was before the member at the Refugee Protection Division.

The complainant alleged:

  • That the member’s reasons for their decision relied on homophobic stereotypes. In particular, the following sentence was problematic: “Considering that this was his first relationship with a male partner, the claimant would have remembered at what age he succumbed to his physical needs despite his society’s norms.”​
  • The complainant subsequently alleged that the member ignored the realities of conversion therapy

Pursuant to the Procedures for Making a Complaint about a Member, the Chairperson reviewed the complaint and decided to refer the complaint to an external investigator. This decision was consistent with the recommendation of the Ombudsperson.

The investigator made the following findings:

  • The member used the words “succumb to his physical needs” to describe the claimant’s alleged same-sex activities. The investigator found that used in this way, this expression carries a negative connotation. It reflects an unconscious reliance on stereotypes and assumptions about SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics) individuals and constitutes a breach of the Code of Conduct
  • The member asked a series of questions about the details of the “counselling” or “conversion therapy” the claimant had undergone. As the member’s questions were in response to the claimant’s evidence, there is nothing to suggest that the questions or the manner in which they were posed were unprofessional, disrespectful, or tainted by a reliance on stereotypes and assumptions about SOGIESC identities

The investigation report was provided to the Chairperson. He was satisfied that the investigation was thorough and fair. The Chairperson accepted the conclusions in the report and found that there was a breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of the IRB.

As the member is no longer an IRB employee, remedial or disciplinary actions were not warranted.

The complaint was founded in part and the file was closed.