Immigration and Refugee Board review must remain independent, says head of UN refugee agency

The head of the United Nations refugee agency says any review of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board must keep it independent.

Fillipo Grande says the agency is relatively well insulated from political pressures and that is important.

The board has for months been struggling with a rapidly growing caseload, pushing wait times for hearings from weeks to months.

In June, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen ordered a full review of the arms-length tribunal, and that was before a surge of asylum seekers at the border placed additional pressure on the board's decision-makers.

One idea under consideration is whether the Immigration department itself should take over the refugee determination process.

Grandi says he echoes concerns from advocates who say that could risk politicizing the process.

Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel said the Liberal government should not be taking instruction from the UN as to how many refugees Canada admits.
Rempel, a vocal critic of the UN refugee referral process, argues it fails to adequately provide resettlement options to some of the most vulnerable.