ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 26 — December 19, 2012

Registration

SOR/2012-255 November 30, 2012

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT

Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules (Immigration and Refugee Board)

P.C. 2012-1593 November 29, 2012

The Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board, pursuant to subsection 161(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote a), and subject to the approval of the Governor in Council, in consultation with the Deputy Chairpersons and the Director General of the Immigration Division, makes the annexed Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules (Immigration and Refugee Board).

Ottawa, October 25, 2012

BRIAN P. GOODMAN
Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsection 161(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote b), approves the annexed Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules (Immigration and Refugee Board) made by the Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board, in consultation with the Deputy Chairpersons and the Director General of the Immigration Division.

OATH OR SOLEMN AFFIRMATION OF OFFICE RULES
(IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE BOARD)

OATH OR SOLEMN AFFIRMATION OF OFFICE

Text of the oath or affirmation

1. The oath or solemn affirmation of office to be taken by the Chairperson and other members of the Immigration and Refugee Board under section 152.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is to be in the following form:

I, ___________, do swear (or solemnly affirm) that

  • (a) I will, during the term of my appointment, and any re-appointments, faithfully, impartially and to the best of my knowledge and ability, properly carry out the duties of a (full-time or part-time) (title) of the Immigration and Refugee Board;

  • (b) I will comply with the Code of Conduct for Members of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, as amended or replaced from time to time; and

  • (c) I will not disclose or make known, unless authorized, any matter that comes to my knowledge because I am holding that office.

(In the case of an oath, add: So help me (Name of Deity).)

REPEAL

Repeal

2. The Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules (Immigration and Refugee Board) (see footnote 1) are repealed.

COMING INTO FORCE

S.C. 2010, c. 8

3. These Rules come into force on the day on which section 17 of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act comes into force, but if they are registered after that day, they come into force on the day on which they are registered.

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Rules.)

Background

Canada’s refugee determination system is respected internationally for its high degree of fairness and the quality of its proceedings and decisions. However, as a result of high intake over a sustained period, among other factors, Canada’s refugee determination system has a backlog of cases, consisting of 34 000 claims at the end of August 2012. As a result, individuals who have made an in-Canada refugee protection claim currently wait an average of approximately 18 months for an initial decision on their claim.

To address these and other challenges, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism (the Minister) introduced Bill C-11, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act (BRRA). The BRRA, which received Royal Assent on June 29, 2010, included legislative amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that were intended to improve the efficiency of the refugee determination system in order to reduce the amount of time individuals wait to receive decisions on their claims. Thereafter, on February 16, 2012, the Minister introduced Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA). The PCISA, which received Royal Assent on June 28, 2012, included legislative amendments to the BRRA and the IRPA that were intended to further expedite the processing of refugee claims.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is a quasi-judicial independent administrative tribunal currently composed of three divisions, each being a separate tribunal with a unique statutory mandate. The IRB is responsible under the IRPA for resolving immigration and refugee matters, efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.

The primary function of the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) is to decide claims for refugee protection made by persons already in Canada. The Immigration Division (ID) conducts hearings with respect to persons alleged to be inadmissible to Canada and holds detention reviews for those detained for immigration reasons. Finally, the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) hears appeals from refusals of sponsored applications for permanent residence made by family members, appeals by permanent residents and protected persons who are subject to a removal order, appeals by permanent residents determined by an immigration officer abroad not to have fulfilled their residency obligation, and appeals by the Minister of certain decisions made by members (decision makers) of the ID. The IRPA also created a fourth division, the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), which considers appeals of RPD decisions. The provisions creating the RAD were not proclaimed in force when the IRPA came into force on June 28, 2002. However, the RAD provisions in the IRPA will be brought into force at the same time that the BRRA and the PCISA provisions establishing the new refugee determination system come into force.

Legislative amendments contained in the BRRA provide that RPD members will be public service employees appointed under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) rather than Governor in Council (GIC) appointees, as is currently the case. The legislative amendments also require that all IRB members, whether they are appointed by the GIC (as is the case for members of the Immigration Appeal Division and, upon coming into force, the Refugee Appeal Division) or under the terms of the PSEA (as is the case for members of the Immigration Division and, upon coming into force, the RPD), must swear the oath or give the solemn affirmation of office set out in the IRB Rules.

Issues and objectives

In order to implement the changes to the IRPA introduced by both the BRRA and the PCISA, there is a need to replace current IRB Rules with updated rules. As part of the IRB Rules update, new Oath or Solemn Affirmation of Office Rules (Immigration and Refugee Board) (Oath Rules), governing the oath or solemn affirmation of office taken by IRB members, must be in place in order to implement certain changes to the IRPA as set forth in the BRRA.

Currently, the IRPA states that only GIC-appointed members (i.e. members of the RPD, RAD and IAD) are required to swear the oath or give the solemn affirmation of office set out in the rules of the Board. The changes to the IRPA introduced by the BRRA will require all members, regardless whether they are appointed by the GIC or under the terms of the PSEA, to take the oath or solemn affirmation of office. Therefore, Oath Rules must be in place in order to implement the changes introduced to the IRPA by the BRRA.

The objective of the Oath Rules is to contribute to the implementation of the BRRA.

Description

The Oath Rules repeal and replace the current Oath Rules. The Oath Rules set out the oath or solemn affirmation to be taken by the Chairperson and other members of the IRB under section 152.1 of the IRPA.

The Oath Rules properly reference a new section of the IRPA, as amended by the BRRA, requiring the oath or solemn affirmation of office for all members, both GIC appointees and public service employees.

The Oath Rules use the current title of the Code of Conduct for Members of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and clarify that members are required to comply with the Code of Conduct, as amended or replaced from time to time.

Consultation

The proposed Oath Rules, along with the proposed Refugee Protection Division Rules (RPD Rules) and Refugee Appeal Division Rules (RAD Rules), were prepublished in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, on July 2, 2011, and open for public comment for a period of 30 days. No comments were received on the proposed Oath Rules. Therefore, no resulting changes to the proposed Oath Rules were made.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this proposal, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to this proposal, as there are no costs and/or administrative costs to small business.

Rationale

Following the introduction of the BRRA, new and revised RPD Rules, RAD Rules, and Oath Rules were prepublished in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, on July 2, 2011. No changes were required to the Oath Rules as a result of the introduction of the PCISA. Accordingly, the Oath Rules were not prepublished again with the revised proposed RPD Rules and RAD Rules on August 11, 2012, and have not been amended from the version prepublished in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, on July 2, 2011.

The Oath Rules are a small element contributing to the overall objectives of the BRRA and the PCISA to ensure the faster processing of refugee claims.

More specifically, the Oath Rules are consistent with the legislative amendments in the BRRA. The objective of the Oath Rules is to ensure harmony and clarity with the IRPA as amended by the BRRA.

The Oath Rules will not result in any expected benefits or costs.

If the Oath Rules are not made prior to coming into force of the new refugee determination system, it will be difficult to properly give effect to the BRRA, as the current Oath Rules do not refer to the appropriate updated section number of the IRPA and do not refer to all IRB members. The Oath Rules properly reference a new section of the IRPA, as amended by the BRRA, requiring the oath or solemn affirmation of office to be taken by all members, both GIC appointees and public service employees.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

This proposal does not result in any specific activities related to its implementation. However, it should be noted that the new members training will include training on the oath or solemn affirmation of office, including the Code of Conduct for Members of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

These Rules will come into force on the day on which section 17 of the BRRA comes into force, but if they are registered after that day, they will come into force on the day on which they are registered.

Contact

Sylvia Cox-Duquette
Senior General Counsel
Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
344 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K1
Fax: 613-995-2355
Email: reform-reforme@irb-cisr.gc.ca