- In Budget 2019. the Government provided $204 million over two years to address the rising intake of refugee claims.
- As a result, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)'s 2020-21 financial authorities total $286 million, which includes $140 million in temporary funding provided as part of Budget 2019.
- With these financial authorities, the Board is funded to finalize approximately 80,000 decisions across its four divisions, with about 500 decision makers and 1400 support staff.
- As a result of COVID and the necessary postponement of in-person hearings during the first two quarters of the year, the IRB has had to re-adjust its program outcome targets as follows:
- Refugee first level decisions: between 35,000 – 40,000
- Refugee recourse (appeals): between 9,000 – 11,000 appeals
- Detention Reviews: 7,200 – 8,800
- Admissibility Hearings: 810 – 990
- Immigration Appeals: 2,160 – 2,640.
- Planned authorities are scheduled to return to 2017-18 finalization levels of 26,000 refugee first-level decisions and 7,500 refugee claim appeals by 2023-24.
Funding and Human Resources – Temporary Funding
- In Budget 2019 the Government provided $204 million over two years to address the rising intake of refugee claims.
- As a result, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)'s 2020-21 financial authorities total $286 million, which includes $140 million in temporary funding provided as part of Budget 2019.
- This temporary funding provides for an additional 700 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to significantly increase the IRB's capacity to process 50,000 refugee claims and 13,500 refugee appeals a year.
- More specifically, of the $140 million in temporary funding for FY 2020-21:
- 60% or so support refugee determination claims processing, including 186 additional decision makers above baseline of 119
- 20% or so supports refugee appeals processing, including 57 additional decision makers (GICs) above baseline of 62
- 20% or so is for enabling services, including IT investments (such as VC equipment upgrades, modernization of case management tools and digitization of case inventories) and an additional 457 support staff.
- To date, the IRB has effectively staffed to meet hiring targets. As a result of the aggressive ramp-up, the IRB successfully met or exceeded its performance targets in FY 2019-20, despite postponing all in-person hearings as of mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- These investments are slowing the growth of the refugee claim backlog by 30,000 claims and keeping wait times for refugee claims under 2 years, as compared to 5 years had extra funding not been received.
- The July Economic Update has earmarked $300 million for two years as extension to Budget 2019. Planned authorities are scheduled to return to 2017-18 finalization levels of 26,000 refugee first-level decisions and 7,500 refugee claim appeals by 2023-24.
Available Financial Resources (millions)
|$138||$173||$224||$286 ||$277 ||$262|
Human Resources (FTEs)
|1,057||1,245||1,592 ||1,876 ||2,095 ||2,063|
|Adjudication of immigration and refugee cases||Refugee Protection ||$81.0||$120.1||$124.2||$120.0|
|Refugee Appeal ||$28.2||$47.1||$51.7||$50.0|
|Immigration Appeal ||$17.9||$20.7||$20.3||$20.3|
|Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews ||$12.1||$12.2||$12.0||$12.0|
|Internal Services||Internal Services||$61.2||$86.1||$68.7||$59.2|
| ||Human Resources (FTEs)||Human Resources (FTEs)||Human Resources (FTEs)||Human Resources (FTEs)|
|Adjudication of immigration and refugee cases||Refugee Protection (Decision Making)||220||305||305||305|
|Refugee Appeal (Decision Making)||103||119||131||131|
|Immigration Appeal (Decision Making)||46||47||47||47|
|Admissibility Hearings and Detention Reviews (Decision Making)||33||33||33||33|
|Adjudication Support Services||886||960||1,121||1,089|
|Sub-Total Adjudication of immigration and refugee cases||1,288||1,464||1,637||1,605|
|Internal Services||Internal Services||304||412||458||458|
In 2021-22 and 2022-23 a larger share of temp money is being allocated to FTEs versus B2019 in 2020-21 where O&M investments in facilities were required.
Planned authorities and FTEs in 2021-22 and 2022-23 include extension of temporary funding subject to TB approval. The temp funding included in 2021-22 and 2022-23 is net of the portion set aside for PSPC and SSC for accommodations and core informatic services, which is centrally held by TBS.
IRB budget and pending inventory
|Fiscal Year||Budget ($M) ||Pending RPD Claims ||Pending RAD Appeals |
|2016-17 ||123 ||26,200 ||3,500 |
|2017-18 ||138 ||52,600 ||5,000 |
|2018-19 ||173 ||74,200 ||7,600 |
|2019-20 ||224 ||91,700 ||8,800 |
|2020-21 ||286 ||88,700 ||8,800 |
|2021-22 ||277 ||116,700 ||8,800 |
|2022-23 ||262 ||133,700 ||8,800 |
|2023-24 ||133 ||167,700 ||8,800 |
*The planned spending from 2021-22 to 2022-23 includes temporary funding earmarked as part of the Spring Economic Update 2020, which if appropriated, will sunset in 2023-24.
FY 2020-21 and onward include projected pending inventories for RPD claims and RAD appeals, prior to COVID-19 impacts to operations. Adjustments will be made once the extend of impacts is known.
Questions & answers:
Q. What are the funding allocations for the Immigration and Refugee Board
- The IRB's 2020-21 financial authorities total $286 million, which are comprised of:
- $279 million included in the Main Estimates;
- $2 million included in the Supplementary Estimates B for IT systems information-sharing between federal asylum partners (which is part of the $3.8M provided in Budget 2019); and
- $5 million unspent funding brought forward from 2019-20 through the Operating Budget Carry Forward.
- This amount includes $140 million in temporary funding, which will sunset at the end of fiscal year 2020-21.
Q. How many employees does the Immigration and Refugee Board Employ
- The IRB had approximately 1,800 employees at the end of Q2 of 2020-21, and plans to have approximately 1,900 in place by the end of Fiscal Year.
- Approximately 50% are permanently funded.
- The rest are comprised of temporary resources primarily funded by Budget 2019.
- The Refugee Protection Division currently has 279 active members (81 permanent, 198 term and casual) and are funded for 305 this year.
- The Immigration Division currently has 31 active members (23 permanent, 8 term and casual).
Q. How many Governor-in-Council appointees does the Immigration and Refugee Board currently have
- The Refugee Appeal Division is funded for 119 Governor-in-Council decision-makers and currently has 105 appointed.
- The Immigration Appeal Division is funded for 47 and currently has 34 Governor-in-Council appointed decision-makers.
Q. Is the Board sufficiently funded
- The Board has made significant progress with recent investments, which has closed a substantial portion of the gap between intake and capacity. However, a gap still remains.
- The government recently announced through the July Economic Update 2020 an extension of these temporary funds. With this extension, the temporary investments will sunset in 22-23 bringing our capacity to process claims and appeals back to base levels of 26,000 and 7,500 respectively.
- If the Board returns to these base funding levels,
- wait times would immediately double to approximately 4 years (36 months at the RPD and 12 months at the RAD)
- there will exist a very significant gap in funding to meet current intake levels that would see the backlog grow by more than 40,000 claims per year (with a projected annual intake of 70,000)
- wait times would continue to grow by an additional by approximately 20 months each year (with annual intake of 70,000)
- The IRB supports a flexible funding model that takes into account shifting volumes and in-year spikes greater than projected intake. Permanent funding and developing a contingency workforce, along with a flexible funding mechanism, are critical success factors to reduce risk of, and better manage the creation of backlogs.