Operating Context

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB or the Board) carries out its work within a global environment of increasing migration and shifting mobility patterns. Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most substantial factor influencing the Board's operating context, including the decision to pivot from a paper-based tribunal to a predominantly digital tribunal.

In 2021–22, the Board continued to be guided by its strategic objectives outlined in the Growth and Transformation Agenda. The Agenda's strategic outcomes to improve access to justice and public confidence in the Board's immigration and refugee determination systems played a central role in how the Board has navigated the pandemic.

As pandemic restrictions lifted and borders reopened in the second half of 2021–22, the IRB returned to its pre-pandemic position as a high-volume administrative tribunal by rendering some 70,000 decisions across its four divisions.

Refugee claims and appeals

The Refugee Protection Division finalized just over 48,000 claims, the most claims ever finalized in one year in the history of the IRB, resulting in a 23% decrease in the inventory. This led to shorter wait times for new claimants at the end of 2021–22, who could expect to be heard within 12 months of referral.

The Refugee Appeal Division also finalized just over 11,000 appeals, the most appeals in one year since its inception in 2012. This reduced the Division's inventory by 5% and resulted in six‑month wait times for a decision to be rendered.

Admissibility hearings, detention reviews and immigration appeals

Despite the impacts of the pandemic, the Immigration Division (responsible for conducting admissibility hearings and detention reviews for permanent residents and foreign nationals who are detained for immigration reasons) decreased its inventory of pending admissibility hearings by finalizing 1,200 cases. The Division also conducted more than 6,300 detention reviews and met its regulated time limits 98% of the time.

The Immigration Appeal Division decreased its inventory by 24% by finalizing more than 3,100 appeals, this resulted in the Division's lowest inventory since 1993.

The IRB's Growth and Transformation Agenda, which shapes the Board's plans and priorities, ​is centred on the pillars of improved productivity, strengthened quality and consistency in decision‑making, and strengthened management. The IRB will continue to implement this multi‑year Agenda, with particular focus on stabilizing the Board's budget and workforce, and becoming an increasingly high-performing, digital, and healthy organization.