Information sharing and system interfaces

​Key m​essages

  • The Immigration and Refugee Board remains committed to the efficient and effective sharing of information with IRCC and CBSA to ensure the effectiveness and integrity of Canada’s asylum and immigration system.
  • IRB decisions are shared with CBSA both electronically by virtue of our case management system interfaces and/or through fax, email or regular mail depending on the circumstances.
  • For refugee protection and refugee appeal decisions, which may trigger the removal order coming into force, the final decision (without reasons) is shared automatically through a systems interface between the IRB’s case management system (NOVA) and IRCC/CBSA’s (GCMS). The full decision is also shared electronically via ePost or encrypted email or by mail/courier service.
  • For Immigration Division admissibility hearings the Minister (CBSA) is always a party to the proceeding. Decisions can be issued both orally (bench decision) or in writing. For in-person proceedings, decisions were generally issued by hand (in the hearing room) prior to COVID. Today, all decisions (whether rendered through in-person or remote proceedings) are issued using email, fax or mail (less frequent). Fax and mail continue to be used when proceedings are private.
  • Similarly, for Immigration Appeals, the Minister (CBSA) is always a party to the proceeding. Written decisions are sent by email (main means of communicating), or by fax or mail (less frequent). Fax and mail continue to be used when proceedings contain confidential or sensitive matters or when a party cannot receive electronic information.
  • Going forward, all three departments have committed to enhance system interfaces and further exchange information electronically. Investments provided in Budget 2019 ($3.8M for IRB to support Asylum Interoperability Project over two years) is supporting the development of additional interfaces and expansion of information and document exchanges across partner organizations.


Interface process (Refugee Protection Division / Refugee Appeal Division)

  • The case management system interface (NFI) is an automated application which enables the IRB and IRCC separate case management systems to communicate with each other. The NFI runs nightly, and includes:
  • Retrieving and sending data from IRCC’s case management system (GCMS) with regard to cases before the RPD and RAD;
  • Creating and updating cases within IRB’s case management system (NOVA), such as all new RPD referral are automated from GCMS into NOVA, thus removing the need for data entry duplication.
  • Retrieving and sending RPD and RAD proceeding outcomes and decisions from the IRB to IRCC and CBSA through the automated upload from NOVA to GCMS
  • An average of 25K data transactions are sent via the interface each month.

Removal orders and issuance of decisions (by Division)


  • Refugee claimant will receive a conditional removal order upon making a claim. If the claim is accepted, the removal order will not be enforced. If the claimant becomes a permanent resident of Canada, the removal order will be void. If the claim is rejected, the removal order will then come into force once all avenues of recourse are exhausted (source:
  • System Interface: NOVA to GCMS automated transfer of proceeding outcomes and decisions (i.e. decision disposition) which both IRCC and CBSA receive (through GCMS).
  • If the Minister intervenes (party to the proceeding): Reasons (decisions) are sent directly to Minister’s counsel by  mail/courier service, or encrypted email.
  • If the Minister has not intervened: Reasons (decisions) are sent to the IRCC / CBSA Triage Center by courier service, ePost or encrypted email.
  • Registry sends decisions within 4-5 business days (of decision signed by Members) to all parties


  • Removal orders are issued by the Immigration Appeal Division when allowing a Minister’s appeal (s.63.5) and when dismissing a residency obligation appeal (s.63.4) only if the appellant is in Canada at the time of the decision
  • The IAD confirms removal orders issued by the ID or CBSA in removal appeals when the appeal is dismissed (s.63.2 and 63.3)
  • No system interface
  • The Minister (CBSA) is always a party to the proceedings
  • Reasons (decisions) are sent by email (main means of communication), or by mail/courier service.
  • Registry sends decisions within 5 business days (of decision signed by Members)


  • Removal orders are issued by the Immigration Division (ID) where an individual is determined to be inadmissible to Canada
  • No system interface
  • The Minister (CBSA) is always a party to the proceedings. 
  • Admissibility Hearing (bench decision): Orders are shared by hand by the Member for in-person proceedings (individuals in the hearing room), or orders are sent by Registry using email, fax, and mail (less frequent) when participating remotely to the proceeding – same day.  Registry sends transcripts (reasons) by email, fax, and mail (less frequent).
  • Admissibility Hearing (written decisions/reasons): Registry sends order and decision by email, fax, and mail (less frequent) to all parties within 2 business days (of decision signed by Members).

Going forward (Investments/Initiatives attributed to improve information sharing)

  • The IRB received a budget of $3.8M to support the Asylum Interoperability Project over a period of 2 years (2019-2021).
  • Significant work is scheduled to rebuild and support a new interface between the IRB and partners that will expand data exchange as well as document exchange.
  • The project is bringing improvements by:
    • enhancing existing data exchanges between IRCC, the CBSA, and the IRB resulting in better and more efficient sharing of data electronically in real-time;
    • improving existing system functionality, incorporating automation and digitization (versus paper); and
    • creating online applications to enable counsel and clients to submit applications, update information, share documents and receive notification.
  • As a result, an average of approximately 10,000 additional documents (across all divisions) will be uploaded into the system each month, which would have otherwise been sent by mail – as is currently the case.
    • This project will not only reduce the risk of error/loss of documents, it could potentially reduce the amont of outgoing paper correspondence by 80%
  • As an interim measure, portfolio partners are exploring options to further exchange information electronically (for ex.: using ePost)