The chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has been granted a $78,562 a year personal chauffeur and vehicle at the taxpayers expense.

This news comes shortly after the federal government pledged $1.1 billion in funding to deal with the border crisis.

Richard Wex is the first individual on the board to be granted the luxury. However, according to a spokesperson for the IRB, the vehicle and chauffeur are in compliance with the law.

“The chairperson’s use of an executive vehicle is in compliance with all government policies and is consistent with the standard practice of other eligible senior officials,” said Anna Pape.

Since migrant crossings began at irregular points along the US-Canada border, the IRB has struggled to process the ever-growing number of applications for refugee and asylum status.

The latest numbers show that the IRB is dealing with a backlog of over 64,000 applications still moving through the system and wait times for hearing have reached up to two years.

As far back as August 2018, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen sounded the alarm in an internal memo where he called the backlog situation “unsustainable”.

Since then the IRB has been undergoing comprehensive reforms and increased hiring in an attempt to staff enough judges to process hearings more efficiently.

Of the $1.1 billion allocated to the border issue in the budget, $208 million will be given to the IRB so that it can reach a goal of processing 50,000 claims a year.

Wex, who was appointed by the Governor in Council, earns a salary of $265,300 for his work. He is one of 53 senior federal officials entitled for chauffeur services according to the Treasury Board of Canada.

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