Digital agenda

​Key messages

  • The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) is focused on driving its digital transformation in order to enhance access to justice for those involved in immigration and refugee proceedings at the Board. 
  • Established a digital strategy in 2019 to position the Board to: become paperless; simplify our processes; improve the exchange of information with partners and clients and develop modern tools to better support members and staff of the Board.
  • Ultimately, employees will have tools to work more efficiently and effectively while accessing and managing cases files electronically; and parties will be able to interface digitally with the IRB and have the option of accessing all files electronically.
  • The disruptive impacts of COVID-19 have amplified the need for digital transformation in order to improve business continuity and decrease reliance on manual or in-person interactions and have been a catalyst for change over the last eight months.
  • Most recently and in response to COVID-19, we have:
    • Invested in systems, tools and supports for employees.
      • Nearly all employees whose jobs can be conducted from home were equipped to do so and are able to collaborate with all employees and management through video chats and virtual meetings/training.
    • Invested in systems and processes to support remote hearings
      • More than half of all hearings at the IRB are now virtual. The Board shifted its approach to conducting  hearings adjudication model such that remote hearings are now the default operating model for the duration of the pandemic. 
    • Expanded options for parties to exchange information digitally with the IRB through email, ePost (a Canada Post service), and through its ePortal
  • Over the next few years, the Board intends to modernize its case management tools for members and staff, enhance the sharing of information across partner organizations and continue to improve the way parties receive and are able to send information and notifications to the Board.


  • The IRB has been exploring and making use of technology and information exchanges with partners over the past few years:
    • In 2011 a digital interface was established to share notifications with IRCC and CBSA (e.g. Front-end Security Screening (FESS), notice of referrals and appeals, and final decision); 
    • In 2015 IRCC agreed to grant IRB staff Global Case Management System (GCMS) roles to obtain full temporary resident visa (TRV) application information;
    • Since 2017, Counsel have the ability to submit documents electronically to the RPD through ePost;
    • Incoming faxes are converted to electronic documents (emails); 
    • In October 2018, a pilot was launched in Toronto to transfer documents electronically to the Federal Court​​ (FC); and
    • In 2019-20, all RAD appeal files in the inventory were digitized.
  • While these initiatives provided significant value and drove process improvements, in 2019, the Board established its Digital Strategy with the goals of becoming paperless, exchanging information electronically with partners and stakeholders and providing members and staff with modern tools.
  • The IRB is looking at modernizing all stages of the claim process from intake, to triage, scheduling, hearing and decision mail out.
  • The IRB will endeavor to make it easier for claimants/counsel, partners and staff to work in a modern digital environment.
  • The use of the My Case Portal (below) will minimize paper and accelerate the incoming and outgoing processes.  Decisions will be transmitted more efficiently also expediting appeals, if any.
  • Scheduling will be automated for all parties including internal and external participants for all proceedings at the Board.


My Case Portal

  • The My Case self-service portal was launched on November 13th, as an invitation-only open-ended pilot project.
  • The Board invited a limited number of counsel to take part in the My Case pilot. Invited counsel are members in good standing of a professional body, and have either already expressed interest in electronic document sharing with the IRB or are a counsel with active cases at the IRB.
  • The success of the pilot is being measured by feedback received from participating counsel after they have had the opportunity to use the tools on the My Case portal.
  • Developed in an agile and iterative fashion in partnership with selected counsel, this approach enables the Board to address any issues and respond to user suggestions before launching the application publicly to all clients.
  • At maturity, this secure online application will allow clients and their counsel to interact with the Board in a more efficient and streamlined way, for example, by viewing their case information and upcoming hearing dates electronically.
  • In October of 2020 the board launched the following system capabilities in My Case:
    • Document upload capability for counsel.
    • Change of address notification to IRB for client.
    • e-Notifications to counsel for document reception.
  • Planned new system capabilities for 2021:
    • Expansion of the delegate role to counsel.
    • Provide MyCase functionality to clients (for example, unrepresented) and designated representatives.
    • Submission of RAD appeals electronically.