Case No. 21-017

​The complainant was a refugee claimant whose case was heard by a member of the Refugee Protection Division and was represented by legal counsel.

The complainant alleged that the member made comments that were rude and offensive to the complainant who was a member of the LGBTIQ2 community.

Pursuant to the Procedures for Making a Complaint about a Member , and consistent with the recommendation of the Ombudsperson, the Chairperson referred the complaint for investigation by the Office of the Ombudsperson.

The final investigation report came to the following conclusions:

  • The member was hostile and unprofessional when commenting on a date on one of the complainant's documents. In commenting that a certain notation was the “dumbest practice” one has ever seen, the member established a tone in the hearing room that lacked professionalism. The allegation was founded, and the member's conduct amounts to a breach of section 9 of the Code of Conduct for Members of the IRB (the Code). 
  • The member relied on inappropriate stereotypes of SOGIESC individuals to form questions during the hearing. Using a stereotype to assess the credibility of a claim is insensitive. The claim was based on the complainant's sexual orientation and their risk of persecution because of their sexual orientation. Therefore, the member's questions should have been formed with this context in mind to avoid the appearance of relying on harmful stereotypes. The allegations were founded and amount to a breach of section 10 of the Code.

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 were breaches of sections 9 and 10 of the Code.

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

In the Chairperson's decision letter to the complainant, the Chairperson noted that there have been recent updates to the ​Chairperson's Guideline 9 – Proceedings Before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics, and that extensive training of all adjudicative staff was underway which included the examination of stereotypes, biases, and proper questioning techniques, with a view to eliminating behaviour noted in this investigation report.

The complaint was founded and the file was closed.