Audit of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
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Audit of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

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Audit of the Immigration andRefugee Board of CanadaA report by thePublic Service Commission of CanadaOctober 2009Public Service Commission of Canada300 Laurier Avenue WestOttawa, Ontario K1A 0M7CanadaInformation: 613-992-9562Facsimile: 613-992-9352This Report is also available on our Web site at www.psc-cfp.gc.caCat. No. SC3-145/2009E-PDFISBN 978-1-100-13342-3© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, representedby the Public Service Commission of Canada, 2009Audit of the Immigration andRefugee Board of CanadaA report by thePublic Service Commission of CanadaOctober 2009All of the audit work in this report was conducted in accordancewith the legislative mandate and audit policies of thePublic Service Commission of Canada.Table of ContentsSummary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Reason for the audit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Focus of the audit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Observations and recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...

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Audit of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
A report by the Public Service Commission
October 2009
of
Canada
Public Service Commission of Canada 300 Laurier Avenue West Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0M7 Canada
Information: 613-992-9562 Facsimile: 613-992-9352
This Report is also available on our Web site at
Cat. No. SC3-145/2009E-PDF ISBN 978-1-100-13342-3
www.psc-cfp.gc.ca
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Public Service Commission of Canada, 2009
Audit of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
A report by the Public Service Commission
October 2009
of
Canada
All
of the audit work in this report was conducted in with the legislative mandate and audit policies Public Service Commission of Canada.
accordance of the
Table of Contents Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Reason for the audit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Focus of the audit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Observations and recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Elements of a framework for staffing are in place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Mandatory policies generally comply with Public Service Commission requirements . . . . . . . 8 Human resources planning requires improvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Human resources support needs improvement in the Central Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Knowledgeable, trained human resources advisors are accessible to sub-delegated managers in most regions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Human resources support to sub-delegated managers in the Central Region is insufficient. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Sub-delegated managers in most regions understand their roles and responsibilities . . . . . . 10 Merit was not demonstrated in 9 out of 31 appointments using advertised processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Compliance needs significant improvement in non-advertised processes . . . . . . . . . 12 Merit was not demonstrated or not met in 11 of the 23 appointments using non-advertised processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Most rationales for non-advertised processes did not address the guiding values . . . . . . . . . 14 Preferential treatment in certain leadership and former Governor in Council appointments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Monitoring activities are insufficient. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Leadership does not provide an effective oversight of human resources activities . . . . . . . . . 20 Human resources challenge function is insufficient. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Overall response of entity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 About the audit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
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Summary The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), Canada's largest independent administrative tribunal, was created in 1989. The IRB states that every year it renders more than 40 000 decisions on refugee protection and immigration matters efficiently, fairly and in accordance with theImmigration and Refugee Protection Act. The IRB reports to Parliament through the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), but remains independent from both CIC and the Minister. The objectives of this audit were to determine whether the IRB has an appropriate framework, systems and practices in place to manage its public service appointment activities and to determine whether its appointments and appointment processes comply with thePublic Service Employment Act(PSEA), the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Appointment Framework, the IRB’s human resources (HR) policies, other governing authorities and with the instrument of delegation signed with the PSC. We found that of the 54 appointments reviewed for this audit 21 of the 54 appointments met both merit and the guiding values. There were 33 appointments where either merit or the guiding values or a combination of both merit and the guiding values were not met or demonstrated. We found that sub-delegated managers in the Central Region (Toronto) did not have adequate access to human resource advisors validated by the PSC. Our audit found that the human resource planning done at the IRB was not coordinated among its branches and regions. The HR planning did not provide specific direction to sub-delegated managers or HR professionals. The IRB’s management did not monitor the overall performance of its appointment-related authorities, hence they were unable to identify and correct deficiencies. The IRB identified that they require the services of former Governor in Council (GIC) appointees of the IRB who possess knowledge of the tribunal proceedings and have in-depth experience in dealing with the tribunal operations. We are concerned that preferential treatment of the appointment of former GIC appointees to public service positions in the IRB compromised the PSEA’s core value of merit, along with the guiding values of fairness, access, transparency and representativeness. Appointing former GIC appointees where merit is not met or demonstrated further compromises both the core and guiding values of the PSEA. Similarly, appointing former GIC appointees either through non-advertised processes or in advertised processes, where the experience can only be obtained as a former GIC appointee of the IRB, does not respect the guiding values of the PSEA. We are also concerned with preferential treatment in certain executive (EX) and executive equivalent appointments. Delegation will be affected as a result of this audit.
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Introduction The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is an independent administrative tribunal that reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The tribunal renders more than 40 000 decisions on refugee protection and immigration matters. It is responsible for making well-reasoned decisions on immigration and refugee matters efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. As of March 31, 2009, the IRB employed 925 public service employees and 118 Governor in Council (GIC) appointees. Planned spending for 2008-2009 was $113.4M, which included 1 025 full time equivalent employees and GIC appointments. The IRB is organized into three divisions and it has three regional offices (Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver). While each division is responsible for making decisions on different immigration and refugee matters, they all follow an administrative process similar to, but less formal than, a court process. Decisions at the Immigration Division are made by IRB employees, who are federal public servants, however decisions at the Refugee Protection Division and the Immigration Appeal Division are made by IRB members who are GIC appointees. The Human Resources Professional Development Branch (HRPDB) is accountable for providing corporate leadership and expertise in the development and establishment of human resources (HR) policies and programs. However, regional HR organizations in the IRB report through Operations and not through the HRPDB.
Reason for the audit The audit of the IRB was identified in the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Audit, Evaluation and Studies Branch plan for 2007-2009. The PSC’s 2007-2008 Departmental Staffing Accountability Report (DSAR) assessment of IRB’s staffing performance identified areas for improvement or requiring attention. Specifically, the PSC observed that analyses of planned versus targeted HR staffing activities were not being conducted, and staffing strategies were not linked to business plans.
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Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s challenges International and domestic factors can influence the IRB’s working environment. Conflicts and country conditions can result in more refugee movements, as is the case for patterns of migration and people seeking admission to Canada. The Chairman of the IRB has stated that, during the period of this audit, the IRB had to contend with an overwhelming challenge in all three of its divisions where intake had steadily increased, while the capacity to resolve refugee claims and appeals in the Refugee Protection Division and the Immigration Appeal Division was constrained by a lack of GIC appointees (decision makers) as a result of a series of changes of government. The backlog of refugee protection claims awaiting a decision rose from 20 200 in 2005-2006 to 42 300 in 2007-2008. In the 2009-2010 Report on Plans and Priorities, the IRB has attributed this backlog to a growing inventory of claims and fewer experienced decision makers. Moreover, the backlog of claims has increased and the budget has decreased from $117M in 2006-2007 to $113M for 2009-2010. The number of refugee decisions made by the IRB is dependent upon the number of GIC appointees at the IRB at a given time. The Governor in Council’s decisions on appointments have a direct impact on the number of public service employees needed to support the IRB. GIC appointees are appointed for defined terms and there may be gaps between the expiration of GIC appointments and the appointment of replacement GIC appointees. Therefore the demand for public servants fluctuates, as does the need to train newly appointed GIC appointees at the IRB.
Focus of the audit The audit objectives were: To determine whether the IRB had an appropriate framework, systems and practices in place to manage its appointment activities; and determine if appointment and appointment processes in the IRB complied withTo thePublic Service Employment Actthe PSC’s Appointment Framework, including the, instrument of delegation signed with the PSC, the related departmental policies and other governing authorities and policies. This audit covered the period from January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2009, during which time a new Chairperson was appointed in June 2007. We examined 54 appointments. Our first sample was of 35 appointments designed to focus on areas of risk identified in the appointment framework controls. This sample was selected arbitrarily to represent a cross section of the IRB’s regions and divisions, key occupational groups as well as collective and non-collective processes. Our second sample targeted 19 additional appointments selected based on risks identified during the audit planning phase. These included every
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appointment under the PSEA of former GIC appointees of the IRB during the period of the audit, 12 in total, and 7 appointments to executive and executive equivalent positions. The appointment files reviewed included acting periods greater than four months, advertised, non-advertised, internal and external appointments. We analyzed documents related to HR management at the IRB and we interviewed sub-delegated managers, managers, HR advisors and union representatives. For more information on the audit, refer to theAbout the audit section at the end of this report.
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Observations and recommendations
Elements of a framework for staffing are in place ThePublic Service Employment Actprovides the statutory basis for a merit-based,(PSEA) non-partisan public service that is professional, representative of Canada’s diversity and able to serve Canadians with integrity and in their official language of choice. The preamble of the PSEA articulates the core values of merit and non-partisanship and highlights the guiding values of fairness, access, transparency and representativeness in staffing. Appointments to public service positions within the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) are governed by the PSEA and thePublic Service Employment Regulationsand policies. The Public Service Commission (PSC) is responsible for the administration of the PSEA. The Act gives the PSC exclusive authority to make appointments to and within the public service, based on merit. It further allows the PSC to delegate its authority for making appointments to departmental and agency deputy heads. It also allows the organization to establish appointment processes according to its particular needs: managers can initiate and approve actions within their own areas of responsibility, in accordance with sub-delegated authorities. Deputy heads are accountable for adhering to the conditions of their signed instrument of delegation. The Chairperson of the IRB had full delegation authority during the scope of the audit. We expected the IRB to have established a management framework for appointments and appointment-related decisions which ensures that: Human resources (HR) planning is integrated with business planning, risks and objectives are communicated and supported by appointment-related policies and strategies; Roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for appointment-related authorities are defined, communicated and understood by sub-delegated managers; Mechanisms are in place to ensure that people have the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their staffing responsibilities, to coordinate decisions and actions and to provide relevant and timely information for decision-making; Staffing activities are monitored and assessed to identify and explain variances from plans and to identify areas for improvement, appropriate changes or actions taken as needed; and with staffing plans and respect the core andAppointment decisions are consistent guiding values.
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