Wait times (all divisions)

Key Messages

  • The Board has significantly increased the number of refugee claims and appeals that it is able to finalize, which has materially slowed the growth of the backlog and as such, the average wait time from where they would otherwise be.
  • Projected wait times are approximately 24 months for refugee claims and 12 months for refugee appeals. 
    • Average waites times over the past 2 years have generally remained the same.  Processing times over the past 2 years have been lower than this as a reflection of a case management approach that involved processing a balance of both newer and older cases. 
  • The Board continues to meet the demand of intake of Detention Reviews  avoiding backlogs, and meeting both statutory time limits and service standard commitments, despite the often-challenging conditions under which its members operate.
  • Average processing time at the IAD is expected to remain at approximately 12 months through a balanced case management approach for the remainder of the year.


  • Wait times for new cases are calculated as the number of months of funded capacity required to clear the current inventory of cases pending a decision.For example, based on an inventory of 100,000 claims, if the IRB is funded to process 50,000, it will take 2 years to process.
  • Wait times for already pending cases take into account the average amount of time those cases have already been waiting.
  • For the RPD, new claims can expect shorter wait times of 20 months because of reductions to backlogs. Currently pending claims will have longer wait times of 27 months due to the impacts of COVID-19 on operations.
  • For the RAD, new appeals can expect shorter wait times (9 months) because of the recent reduction the backlog. Currently pending appeals will have longer wait times (12 months) due to the impact of COVID-19 on operations.
  • The IAD has made quite a bit of progress in the last five years, bringing the backlog down from approximately 10,500, with a wait time of approximately 19 months, to 3,300 pending appeals as of October 2020.
  • Once IAD finalizations return to its baseline funded capacity (3,500 finalizations a year, if no COVID-19 related impacts), the inventory should not grow and wait times will remain stable at less than 12 months. This assumes that IAD is resourced to match intake.
  • Detention review hearings are subject to legislated time-limits of 48 hours or as soon as possible afterwards, 7 days and 30 days. The Board has a consistent track-record of meeting these time-limits at least 96% of the time. In rare cases, detention reviews need to be held outside the time-limits for reasons of natural justice or due to operational limitations, including for example, lockdowns at correctional centres where individuals are held.