Information sheet on Policy on National Documentation Packages in Refugee Determination Proceedings

The purpose of the Policy on National Documentation Packages in Refugee Determination Proceedings is to ensure that National Documentation Packages (NDPs) are used as the standard source of country of origin information (COI) evidence by the Immigration Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).

Country of origin and National Documentation Packages

A country from which a person claims asylum is called their “country of origin” and since conditions in a country often change, the IRB produces regular information about “countries of origin”. The IRB’s decision makers may consult this information as part of their work.

The NDPs are lists of public documents that provide information on country conditions. The IRB produces NDPs for every country from which refugee claims originate. The IRB’s Research Directorate is responsible for compiling and updating all NDPs.

National Documentation Packages as a standard source of country of origin evidence

The relevant NDP(s) are disclosed to the parties in every refugee claim as the standard source of COI evidence in refugee determination. More specifically, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) provides the parties with information as to where the NDPs can be found on the IRB’s website, and it is the parties’ responsibility to check the website for the newest version of the relevant NDP(s) prior to their hearing.

The use of NDPs does not preclude the disclosure of additional COI not contained in an NDP by the Division or a party to a proceeding. Such information must be disclosed on a case-by-case basis, subject to the legal and procedural requirements of each Division.

Selection of documents to be included in an NDP

The IRB’s Research Directorate is responsible for developing all NDPs used by the RPD and the RAD. The development of NDPs is a process that involves the selection and quality assurance review of publicly available COI on a given country.

The IRB’s Research Directorate assesses the inclusion of content for NDPs based on selection of specific criteria including:

  • How up-to-date is the information?
  • Who is the author?
  • Does the information come from an anonymous source?
  • What are/is the qualifications/expertise of the author?
  • What is the reputation of the publication/publisher?
  • Does the author/publisher display any bias?
  • What is the source of the information on which the document is based?
  • Has the document been edited?
  • Are there partial quotes (possibly misquotes or quotes taken out of context)?
  • Is the information consistent with other reliable evidence?
  • Are there other publications by the same author?
  • Is there any opportunity to interview the author?
  • Where does the author's knowledge of the subject matter come from?
  • What is the "tone" of the document and is it impartial?
  • To what extent is the document based on opinion?
  • To what extent is the document based on observable facts?
  • For what purpose was the document prepared?
  • Are there any alterations apparent on the face of the document?
  • Are there any spelling errors in the official document?
  • How does the document compare with a known genuine document?
  • Have the contents of the document been sworn to be true?

Sending suggestions of documents for an NDP

Any member of the public may send suggestions of documents for NDPs to the IRB. The suggestions must use guidelines as follows:

  1. Submissions must be received at least one month before the NDP’s next scheduled publication date;
  2. Submissions should be sent with the URL of the document being proposed;
  3. Copies of document must not be send electronically;
  4. Media reports are not generally included in NDPs; and
  5. Standard NDP documents are updated on a regular basis.

Document suggestions may be sent via email.

The IRB reserves the right to include or not include any suggested documentation. Please also note that suggestions cannot be acknowledged.

Ensuring up-to-date NDPs

Each NDP is updated on a regular basis according to the National Documentation Package update cycle. Each update to an NDP is based on:

  • A review of claim type data;
  • A full review of content;
  • The outcome of Documentation Selection Committee; and
  • The suggestions from stakeholders and the general public.

The NDPs are also subject to ad-hoc amendments in order to respond to the identification of newly emerging issues such as an exceptional change in country conditions.

The IRB uses Twitter and Facebook to seek document suggestions for upcoming NDP updates.

Related links

Questions and feedback

Comments relating to the content of NDPs or for suggestions relating to documents for possible inclusion in upcoming NDP updates may be sent via email.