Top media lines

​​Media lines on Oberlander

  • The Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has dismissed a preliminary application by counsel for       Mr. Helmut Oberlander that the Division did not have the jurisdiction to conduct an admissibility hearing in this case.
  • With this application decided, the case can now proceed to determine whether Mr. Oberlander is inadmissible and should be removed from Canada.
  • The Board remains committed to its mandate of providing fair and efficient adjudication on refugee and immigration matters.
  • It would not be appropriate to comment further on an individual case.

Responsive:

  • Recourse on the Board's decision has been sought by way of leave and judicial review to the Federal Court​, it would be inappropriate to comment. 

​Background

Helmut Oberlander - The Minister has referred two s. 44 reports to the ID (for misrepresentation, and for human rights violations/war crimes/crimes against humanity). Preliminary issues were dealt with in writing. Mr. Oberlander requested the ID dismiss the referral for lack of jurisdiction and abuse of process. However, the ID issued a decision on October 20, 2020 dismissing the application.

In light of Mr. Oberlander's advanced age and visual/auditory/cognitive impairments, the ID granted his counsel's request that “redacted” be appointed as his Designated Representative.

Multiple media have made requests on the current status of the case before the ID and have been provided with public documents on the case and application, including Global News, National Post, Canadian Jewish News, CBC, Waterloo Record, as well as Russian media. On October 21, 2020, media following the case were provided with the decision on the application to dismiss and informed of next steps. On November 4, 2020, Terry Pender of the Waterloo Region Record reported that counsel for Mr. Oberlander filed for leave and judicial review of the ID's October 20, 2020 decision.

The ID confirmed on November 5, 2020 that Counsel for Mr. Oberlander seeks to quash the ID's decision, based on allegations that the decision was unreasonable and that the ID erred in law, misrepresented, or ignored evidence.

Media lines on Toure

  • The Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada is responsible for reviewing reasons for detention of persons detained for immigration purposes, based on the evidence presented and in accordance with the law.
  • In this case, as with all matters before the Immigration and Refugee Board, the decision-maker made his decision based on the evidence and arguments presented by the parties and in accordance with the law.

Background:

On November 6, 2020, a 48-hour detention review was held for Mr. Toure following his arrest and detention for removal by CBSA on November 4, 2020. The Minister disclosed that a Gambian passport was issued to Mr. Toure, valid from August 5, 2020 to August 5, 2025. With the issuance of this travel document, CBSA submitted that there remained no legal impediment to Mr. Toure's removal, and a removal date was tentatively scheduled for December 14, 2020. According to CBSA, Mr. Toure contended once again that he is a citizen of Guinea and no other country. However, no alternatives to detention were proposed by his Counsel. The detention review was adjourned for a decision, and at the November 9, 2020 resumption, his detention was ordered continued based on flight risk.

The 7-day detention review was held on November 13, with resumptions on November 16, and 17, followed by an adjournment for a decision. On November 18, Mr. Toure was ordered released with terms and conditions including a $6000.00 cash bond from his permanent resident wife, electronic monitoring, and weekly reporting to the CBSA. CBSA confirmed that removal is scheduled for December 11, 2020.

Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star attended the DR proceedings and requested/was provided with disclosure (DR-22 and DR-23) made by the Minister. The reporter also requested an interview with the presiding Member and contacted the Member directly to schedule same after he was informed by Media Relations that an interview would not be possible. He has written a number of articles reporting on the 48-hour and 7-day detention reviews, raising questions about the credibility of the evidence and testimony from CBSA Removals Officer Dale Lewis, and the veracity of the passport obtained for the purpose of Mr. Toure's removal.

Media lines on privacy of RPD hearings and refugee cases

Media lines on detention

  • Canadian law regards detention as an exceptional measure.
  • The detention reviews must be conducted in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, the Immigration Division Rules, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, international law, and the jurisprudence.
  • Particular attention must be paid to Charter considerations where detention is lengthy.
  • Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, immigration detentions must be reviewed at regular intervals by the Immigration Division, one of four Divisions of the IRB.
  • At each detention review, the IRB decision-maker must make a fresh determination based on the evidence presented, including the decisions of previous detention reviews.
  • Members must actively consider and reassess alternatives to detention at each review.

Media lines on Hong Kong refugees

  • Certain country and claim types, such as Hong Kong claims, may be eligible for processing as a “less complex claim.”
  • The IRB makes an independent assessment of country and claim types that may be eligible, and updates that assessment regularly based on the Board's continual monitoring of conditions in refugee source countries. The IRB's monitoring includes conditions related to human rights, political activity and legal systems, as they can evolve quickly. 
  • Potentially less complex claims are triaged by the IRB. Claims may: be granted a positive decision on the basis of the information in the file without a hearing, supported by evidence; proceed as a short hearing if only one or two issues need to be resolved; or, proceed as a regular hearing if complex or credibility issues are raised.
  • Asylum claims from Hong Kong are currently being triaged as potentially less complex claims by the IRB, however this does not provide any indication that all claims will be decided upon without a full hearing nor that they will be granted a positive decision.

If pressed on how many asylum and refugee claims have been granted since January 1, 2019, to those who were previously living in Hong Kong:

  • The IRB cannot confirm or deny whether any person has made a claim for refugee protection.
  • This is not only to respect the privacy rights of such persons – including our responsibility to safeguard such information – but also and especially in the case of persons seeking refugee protection, to mitigate any risks to that person, noting that they are seeking legal and physical protection and may be fleeing agents of persecution from their country of origin.

If pressed on if the IRB is prioritizing claims from Hong Kong:

  • Under IRPA, scheduling of files is informed by principles of, fairness, efficiency, integrity, and institutional independence.
  • I can assure committee members that all refugee claims from Hong Kong are currently being actively examined.
  • We have identified them for triage as part of our less complex claims task force, which means, based on country conditions, we are examining these claims to see if they can be resolved without a hearing or through a shorter hearing if there are only 1 or 2 key determinative issues to be resolved.  That said, if there are more complicated questions of credibility or identity, then such cases will not be able to be addressed as a less complex claim.
  • Hong Kong refugee cases currently represent a very small number of our overall claims inventory