The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has released an updated version of its 1996 Gender Guideline based on a comprehensive review conducted between Spring 2020 and Winter 2022.
Chairperson's Guideline 4: Gender Considerations in Proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board is now on the IRB website.
The revised Guideline 4 incorporates approaches and best-practices already well-established at the Board and which reflect expert advice, evidence-based developments in social science, and recent developments in law.
Some of the more noteworthy revisions in the new Guideline include:
- a broadened gender-inclusive scope, while still recognizing that women, girls, and LGBTQ2I+ individuals are disproportionally impacted by gender inequality, discrimination, and gender-based violence. This new scope is reflected in a new title:
Chairperson's Guideline 4: Gender Considerations in Proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board;
- explicit reference to the ongoing application of a trauma-informed and intersectional approach to proceedings involving gender considerations, consistent with the Board's existing commitment to trauma-informed adjudication in all refugee and immigration cases involving individuals who have experienced trauma. Recognizing that the challenges people who have experienced trauma may face is part of the Board's overall adjudicative strategy for fair, timely and well-reasoned decision-making. Moving forward, the Board will consider incorporating this approach in other policy instruments, as appropriate;
- expanded substantive guidance on gender as a basis for persecution, state protection, internal flight alternatives and gender-specific considerations for detention reviews, admissibility hearings, and immigration appeals; and
- an expanded application to also include the Immigration Division and the Immigration Appeal Division.
The 2020-2022 review consisted of the following:
- consultations internal to the IRB;
- a case law review of IRB and higher court cases;
- an analysis of current literature pertaining to gender issues and trauma; and
- a review of other countries' approaches to adjudicating similar cases.
The input and advice of other government departments was sought, along with those of subject matter experts and stakeholders who have experience and expertise in working with survivors of gender-based violence, refugee and immigration law, and trauma, among other subjects.
The revised Guideline 4 complements efforts by the Board to respond to the changing landscape of gender-based adjudication, including through innovative initiatives such as the recent creation of the Chairperson's Gender-based Task Force.
Comprehensive mandatory training for all decision-makers has now been delivered and updates will be provided on a regular basis to our members based on experience gathered with the application of the Guideline as well as input from our members and those appearing before the Board; key elements of the Board's ongoing commitment to adjudicative quality and consistency.
The Board gratefully acknowledges the stakeholders and academics across the country who participated in the extensive consultation process between Spring 2020 and Winter 2022 that contributed to the review and revision of the Guideline.