Chairperson's guidelines

​​Chairperson's guidelines assist decision-makers and staff in carrying out their duties. Guidelines also communicate this information to the public so they know what is expected of decision-makers. Decision-makers are expected to apply Chairperson's guidelines or explain why they are not following them.​

Paragrap​h 159(1)(h) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act​ provides statutory authority for the guidelines.


​Guideline 1 - Civilian Non-Combatants Fearing Persecution in Civil War Situations

The Guideline was issued in 1996 as a response to uncertainty over the correct approach to take in claims involving civil war situations. The “Non-Comparative Approach” recommended by the guideline was affirmed as the correct approach by the Federal Court of Appeal in Ali v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)​, 1999 CanLII 7416 (FCA). As the Federal Court of Appeal has resolved the uncertainty, the Guideline has not been widely relied upon by courts and the IRB. Revoking Guideline 1 removes a policy instrument that is no longer needed.
(Revoked ​January 5, 2022)​

Guideline 2 - Detention

These Guidelines deal with several topics, including long-term detention, the notion of "danger to the public", alternatives to detention, and evidence and procedure.
(September 2010 | Amended in June 2013 | Amended in February​ 2019 | Amended in April 2021​)

Chairperson’s Guideline 3: Proceedings Involving Minors at the Immigration and Refugee Board​

This Guideline provides explicit guidance on the application of the Best Interests of the Child (BIOC) principle to proceedings in all four Divisions of the Board. Practical information for proceedings with unaccompanied, accompanied, and separated minors is offered; as well as on the role of designated representatives. The Guideline also provides enhanced guidance on the issue of eliciting evidence in a minor's claim and assessing that evidence.​
(September 1996|Revised July 2023 for coming into force in October 2023|Amended October 2023 to address minor corrections and editorial changes to improve clarity)

​Chairperson’s Guideline 4: Gender Considerations in Proceedings Before the Immigration and Refugee Board​

This Guideline incorporates approaches and best-practices already well-established at the Board and which reflect expert advice, evidence-based developments in social science, and developments in law. On October 31, 2023, this Guideline was updated to reflect language regarding trauma-informed adjudication as revised for Guideline 3 and Guideline 8.
(November 1996 | Revised in July 2022 | Amended in July 2023 for coming into force in October 2023​​)

Guideline 5 - Providing the PIF and No PIF Abandonment in the Refugee Protection Division

Guideline 5, released on October 30, 2003, provided details on how to deal with requests for extensions of time for submitting the Personal Information Form (PIF). With the refugee reform provisions of the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act in December 2012, there was no longer a PIF, and extensions of time for providing the Basis of Claim (BOC) Form were dealt with in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and the Refugee Protection Division Rules.

(Revoked December 15, 2012)  

Guideline 6 - Scheduling and Changing the Date or Time of a Proceeding

The purpose of this Guideline is to explain the process the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) follows before and during a proceeding to ensure fair and efficient scheduling of its proceedings. The Guideline applies to all 4​ divisions of the IRB.
(April 2010 | Amended in December 2012)

Guideline 7 - C​oncerning Preparation and Conduct of a Hearing in the Refugee Protection Division

This Guideline changes the order of questioning by having the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) leading the inquiry in the hearing room. The purpose of this change is to allow the RPD to make the best use of its expertise as a specialist tribunal by focussing on the issues which it has identified as determinative.
(December 2006 | Amended in December 2012)

Chairperson’s Guideline 8: Accessibility to IRB Proceedings — Procedural Accommodations and Substantive Considerations​

This Guideline enhances access to justice by providing guidance on granting procedural accommodations and on situations where a person's disability, vulnerability and/or personal characteristics may be relevant to the assessment of the merits of the case. The Guideline also provides direction on the use of appropriate language, avoiding myths and stereotypes, the principles of trauma informed adjudication and intersectionality, and the protection of confidential information.
(December 2006 | Amended in December 2012 |Revised July 2023 for coming into force in October 2023|Amended October 2023 to address minor corrections and editorial changes to improve clarity​)

Guideline 9 -​ Proceedings Before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics​

The purpose of this Guideline is to promote greater understanding of cases involving sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC​) and the harm individuals may face due to their non-conformity with socially accepted SOGIESC norms in a particular cultural environment.​
(May 2017 | Revised in December 2021​)​