Canada's backlog of refugee claims is soaring to record numbers due to the government's failure to appoint sufficient adjudicators, the chairman of the Immigration and Refugee Board says.
The number of vacant positions has more than quintupled – to 58 from 10, according to the board. At the same time, the number of claims waiting to be heard has more than doubled, to 42,300 from just over 20,000.
In its recent report to Parliament, the board projects that the number of pending claims will reach 62,300 this year. That is more than triple the line-up when Harper took office and well beyond the previous record of 52,325 pending claims in 2002.
Moreover, the numbers are expected to escalate to 73,300 next year and to 84,300 the following year.
The 37-member immigration appeal division, which hears appeals of criminal removal orders and rejected applications for family sponsorships, has 10 unfilled positions.
The board was taking an average of 11.7 months to process a refugee claim when the Harper government took office. But Goodman says the processing time is “significantly affected” by the lack of adjudicators and is now approaching 16.5 months.
It is absolutely staggering to have this government speak of backlogs, and all the other nonsense, when clearly they are part of the problem, not part of any solution. If these people are truly interested in streamlining the immigration process, then maybe Finlay can hand in her resignation.
This sounds about right:
Liberal immigration critic Maurizio Bevilacqua said he now suspects the government is deliberately trying to sabotage the board so it will have an excuse to scrap it and replace it with a “more restrictive, less generous” system for determining refugee claims.
“It's a natural flow of events. First you create a crisis, and then you solve the crisis,” he said.
The old Reform Party lives on, in various forms.