Procedures for Making a Complaint about a Member

Effective Date: December 21, 2017


Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Effective Date
  3. Application
  4. How to Make a Complaint
  5. Complaint Review Process
  6. Decision of the Chairperson
  7. Ongoing Proceedings before the Board
  8. Roles and Responsibilities
  9. Public Reports
  10. Inquiries

1. Purpose

  1. 1.1. These Procedures outline the process of making a complaint about the conduct of a member (i.e. an individual who has the authority to make refugee or immigration-related decisions) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
  2. 1.2. The Code of Conduct for Members of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Code of Conduct) requires that members of the IRB comply with high standards of conduct.

2. Effective Date

  1. 2.1. This document has been approved by the Chairperson of the IRB and came into effect on December 21, 2017. 
  2. 2.2. The Procedures for Making a Complaint about a Member replaces the Protocol Addressing Member Conduct Issues.

3. Application

  1. 3.1. A complaint may be made about any full-time or part-time member of the IRB.
  2. 3.2. A complaint may be made by any individual, including: counsel, any party to IRB proceedings, IRB personnel, an organization, or the public.
  3. 3.3. A complaint must be about the conduct of a member which is believed to be contrary to the Code of Conduct. A complaint cannot be about a member’s decision.
  4. 3.4. The conduct may have occurred inside or outside the hearing room.
  5. 3.5. If the complaint is about a member’s decision, the proper approach is to file an appeal at the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) or the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), if applicable, or to apply for judicial review at the Federal Court.
  6. 3.6. These Procedures do not limit rights that members may have, including rights under any applicable collective agreement, legislation, policies or codes.

4. How to Make a Complaint

  1. 4.1. A complaint about the conduct of a member must be made in writing to the Director of the Office of Integrity. It may be sent to this address:

    Director, Office of Integrity
    Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
    Minto Place, Canada Building
    344 Slater Street, 14th Floor
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Canada
    K1A 0K1
  2. 4.2. A complaint can also be made to the Director of the Office of Integrity by email at this address: Integrity-Integrite@irb-cisr.gc.ca
  3. 4.3. A complaint should include the following information:
    1. a) the name and contact information of the person making the complaint;
    2. b) the name of the member who is the subject of the complaint;
    3. c) the IRB file number (if any);
    4. d) a description of the conduct; and
    5. e) any other information which supports the complaint.
  4. 4.4. A Complaint Form is available to assist with this process. However, a complaint may be made without using that form.
  5. 4.5. The IRB will not accept anonymous complaints. However, the person who made the complaint may request in writing that their identity be safeguarded from the member who is the subject of the complaint. In this situation, the identity of the person who made the complaint will be known only to the Director of Integrity. If the identity of the person who made the complaint must be revealed to the member to provide for a fair and fulsome investigation into the complaint, the Director of Integrity will contact the person who made the complaint and will confirm whether the person wishes to pursue their complaint. If not, the complaint will be closed by the Director of Integrity.

5. Complaint Review Process

  1. 5.1. When a complaint is received, the IRB’s Office of Integrity will send an acknowledgement of receipt to the person who made the complaint.
  2. 5.2. A copy of the complaint will be provided to the member who is the subject of the complaint and to the Assistant Deputy Chairperson (ADC) and the Deputy Chairperson (DC) of the Division in which the member works.
  3. 5.3. The Director of the Office of Integrity may attempt to informally resolve the complaint, to the satisfaction of both parties, where it is appropriate to do so.
  4. 5.4. The Director of the Office of Integrity will review the complaint and will make a recommendation to the Chairperson regarding whether the complaint:
    1. a) is within the scope of these Procedures (i.e. it relates to the conduct of a member and is not about a decision);
    2. b) is serious enough to proceed (for example, it is not frivolous or vexatious); or
    3. c) would be better addressed through another process.
  5. 5.5. The Chairperson may:
    1. a) dismiss the complaint after concluding that it is not within the scope of these Procedures or that it is not serious enough to proceed with an investigation;
    2. b) refuse to deal with the complaint if it would be better addressed through another process;
    3. c) refer the complaint to the Director of the Office of Integrity for investigation; or
    4. d) in exceptional cases, after consideration of the seriousness of the alleged conduct and other relevant factors, refer the complaint to another person, including to an external investigator.
  6. 5.6. If the Chairperson dismisses the complaint or has refused to deal with the complaint because it would be better addressed through another process, the person who made the complaint, the member concerned, the ADC and the DC will all be informed of the reasons for the decision.
  7. 5.7. If the Chairperson refers the complaint to the Director of the Office of Integrity or to another person, including an external investigator, they will conduct an investigation and prepare an investigation report. The direction provided by the Chairperson to the investigator may include specific timeframes and other instructions regarding deliverables.
  8. 5.8. As long as fairness is respected, flexibility is permissible in conducting investigations. For example, interviews with the person who made the complaint and the member may take place but may not be required in every case.
  9. 5.9. The person who made the complaint, the member who is the subject of the complaint, the ADC and the DC will all be informed that the complaint has been referred to the Director of the Office of Integrity or to an external investigator or to another person to investigate and make a report.
  10. 5.10. The investigation report will contain findings of fact, analysis and conclusions, including whether the Code of Conduct was breached. The report will be provided to the Chairperson for a decision.
  11. 5.11. The complaint will be dealt with as quickly as fairness and thoroughness permit. The person who made the complaint, the member who is the subject of the complaint, the ADC and the DC will be kept informed about the complaint process, as appropriate.
  12. 5.12. The complaint process will be fair to the person who made the complaint and the member who is the subject of the complaint. 
  13. 5.13. The identities of the person who made the complaint, the member who is the subject of the complaint, and other individuals will be protected, when required, to the extent that it is possible to do so, bearing in mind the principles of procedural fairness and the requirements of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.
  14. 5.14. The IRB will make best efforts to accommodate the particular needs of vulnerable persons who make complaints where those needs are made known to the IRB.

6. Decision of the Chairperson

  1. 6.1. After careful consideration of the investigation report and, having ensured that the principle of procedural fairness was applied, the Chairperson will decide whether to accept the conclusions in the investigation report. The Chairperson will also decide whether there was a breach of the Code of Conduct.
  2. 6.2. The Chairperson will inform the person who made the complaint, the member who is the subject of the complaint, the ADC and the DC whether the Code of Conduct was breached and provide reasons for the decision.
  3. 6.3. The Chairperson may take any follow-up actions he or she considers appropriate in the circumstances. In deciding whether follow-up actions are required, the Chairperson will take account of any incidents of prior misconduct, the gravity of the conduct, or any other factors and circumstances.
  4. 6.4. After the Chairperson has dismissed the complaint, refused to deal with it as it would be better addressed through another process, or has made a decision on whether there was a breach of the Code of Conduct, the complaint will be closed and the person who made the complaint will have no further recourse under these Procedures.

7. Ongoing Proceedings before the Board

  1. 7.1. If the complaint against the member is that they are biased in conducting an immigration or refugee protection proceeding and that proceeding has not finished, then the allegation of bias should be raised with the presiding member at the first reasonable opportunity.
  2. 7.2. Normally a complaint will not be dealt with until the proceedings before the member who is the subject of the complaint have been finalized. In exceptional circumstances the Chairperson may decide that the complaint will be dealt with immediately, even though the proceedings before the member have not been finalized.

8. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. 8.1. The Chairperson is responsible for:
    • the overall application of these Procedures;
    • deciding whether to dismiss the complaint or to refuse to deal with the complaint as it would be better addressed through another process;
    • deciding whether to refer the complaint to the Director of the Office of Integrity or to another person including an external investigator;
    • deciding whether the Code of Conduct has been breached; and
    • taking follow-up action, as required.
  2. 8.2. The Director of the Office of Integrity is independent from the members and oversees the complaint process. The Director is responsible for:
    • the overall administration of these Procedures;
    • making recommendations to the Chairperson;
    • conducting the investigation into the allegations of misconduct, if the complaint was referred by the Chairperson;
    • the administrative procedures related to retaining the services of an external investigator, if applicable;
    • ensuring that the complaint is dealt with after the proceedings before the member have been finalized;
    • conducting all activities specified in the Procedures according to the principles of fairness and respect; and
    • preparing the public reports.

9. Public Reports

  1. 9.1 Every year the IRB will publish a report of all complaints over the previous year on its website. This report may include a description of the nature of the complaints, steps taken to address the complaints and the decision taken, but will not contain information identifying individuals.

10. Inquiries

  1. 10.1. Inquiries related to these Procedures should be directed to the following:

    Director, Office of Integrity
    Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
    Minto Place, Canada Building
    344 Slater Street, 14th Floor
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Canada
    K1A 0K1
    E-mail: Integrity-Integrite@irb-cisr.gc.ca