Canada. From far and wide ©UNHCR/Annie Sakkab
Entities sharing this good practice: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is responsible for this best practice. Main contact for the UNHCR at the IRB is Felix Ulloa-Alvarenga, he could be reached at: [email protected]
Submitted by: Azadeh Tamjeedi, Acting Senior Protection Officer
Key stakeholders: The IRB conducted numerous stakeholder consultations in setting up the Gender Taskforce (GRTF), which included refugee lawyers, UNHCR, and civil society organizations.
Visit their website: Please visit the following links for more information about the GRTF: https://irb.gc.ca/en/refugee-claims/Pages/gender-related-task-force-rpd.aspx and https://irb.gc.ca/en/news/2020/Pages/establishment-gender-related-task-force-rpd.aspx
Request for Adjudication by the GRTF form: https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/forms/Pages/RpdSpr5302.aspx
Chairperson Guidelines 4: Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution: https://irb.gc.ca/en/legal-policy/policies/Pages/GuideDir04.aspx
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) established a Gender Related Task Force (GRTF) to further enhance the quality of decision-making at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD), the first-instance refugee status determination (RSD) body in Canada. The creation of the GRTF is in keeping with the IRB’s proud history of being a global leader in developing guidelines on how best to conduct hearings for asylum-seekers raising gender-related issues.
As noted below, the establishment of the GRTF was one of the three RPD commitments described in the IRB 2020-2021 Departmental Plan:
– The first commitment was to complete the additional mandatory training for all refugee judges on gender-related applications in early 2020. The training included concepts such as approaches to myths and stereotypes about survivors, the effects of trauma on memory and unconscious prejudices and cultural competence.
– The second commitment was to review and update the Guidelines issued by the Chairperson pursuant to Section 65(3) of the Immigration Act linked to gender related persecution.
– The third commitment has been fulfilled with the creation of the GRTF.
The GRTF is made up of 24 highly qualified and experienced decision-makers. It is a dedicated team with specialized training to listen and decide on gender-related refugee claims. The GRTF ensures that there is a respectful, trauma-sensitive, and consistent resolution of gender-related claims. It also identifies, implements, and refines best practices for resolving gender-related claims and shares best practices for adjudication with the RPD.
Applications for recognition of refugee status are only assigned to the GRTF based on the type of application; this referral does not result in priority or expedited processing. Applications assigned to the GRTF are determined on the basis of evidence, the specific merits of the application, and in accordance with the law.
– The GRTF members are selected from highly qualified applicants from across Canada.
– The training for GRTF members lasts four weeks and is taught by leading experts in refugee and immigration law on topics such as: trauma-sensitive practice; trauma-sensitive decision making; questioning from an intercultural and trauma-sensitive perspective; cultural humility; assessment of credibility; merit of proof. This training enables GRTF members to bring greater experience and awareness to deciding gender-related claims.
– A form was developed whereby asylum-seekers and their lawyers can request that the case be reviewed and considered for adjudication by the GRTF.
Impact of the good practice
Increased specialization of decision-makers to adjudicate gender-related asylum claims in a manner that addresses stereotypes and is trauma informed.