Fast, Fair and Final: Reforming Canada’s Refugee System

A Maytree Report by Peter Showler

Canada’s refugee claim system is too slow – it can take up to eight years to finalize a claim. On average, it requires 18 months for a first decision at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) because of a backlog of 60,000 claims. Thousands of refused claimants remain in limbo for years, waiting for redress from their refused claim or for removal from Canada. The delays hurt legitimate refugees and can attract frivolous claims. They rob us of the credibility we need to meet our legal and moral obligations to protect individuals who are escaping violence, torture or death.

Making refugee decisions is an incredibly difficult task. To meet this challenge, a reformed system needs to be based on the following three pillars: (1) A good first decision; (2) a reliable appeal; and (3) the prompt removal of failed claimants.”

With the proposed changes, refugee claims would be decided in six months, reviewed in four months and removed within three months of a negative appeal decision. The new refugee system would produce accurate and fair decisions, and result in the timely removal of failed claimants.

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