Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board on pace to see 30,000 asylum claims in 2017

The head of the Immigration and Refugee Board says his agency is doing its best to cope with a growing number of asylum claims, but the federal Liberals must act as well.

The rapid pace of the increase in new claims over the last few months in particular now sees the IRB on track to receive 30,000 claims in 2017, triple the number lodged just four years ago.

Mario Dion told The Canadian Press that while the board is already making internal changes to deal with the increase, there is only so much it can do.

Dion says he'd like to see the Liberals eliminate the Designated Country of Origin system, which determines how refugee claims are processed, as well as scrap the legislated timelines for hearing those claims.

He says an internal audit showed that both the DCO system and legislated timelines have further complicated the refugee process and contributed to a backlog.

Both the NDP and refugee advocates say the backlog threatens the integrity of the refugee system and if the Liberals are serious about their message of Canada welcoming the world, they must act.