Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board has admitted that it can no longer eliminate the growing asylum backlog but can only “manage” its growth.
According to estimates, the backlog is expected to grow to 100,000 by 2021. Eliminating that backlog could cost up to $400 million, claims IRB board member Richard Wex.
“What we’re focused on in terms of the next 24 months with the temporary funding in Budget 2018 and 2019 is not to eliminate the backlog. It is to slow the growth of the pace of the backlog from what it would otherwise be,” claimed Wex.
The admission came on May 28th, as members of various departments appeared before the public accounts committee.
The committee questioned officials from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) about findings reported by the auditor general which indicated that Canada’s asylum system is unable to cope with the current backlog.
“Overall, we found that Canada’s refugee determination system was not equipped to process claims according to the required timelines,” claimed the Auditor General’s report.
As reported by True North, asylum claims have grown this year respective to 2018.
“Approximately 17,290 people made refugee claims from the start of January to the end of April. Last year in that same time period 16,925 people filed refugee claims,” said True North’s Graeme Gordon.
Recently the Liberals have reversed on several positions regarding asylum and refugees. Earlier this year, new legislation was introduced within the Liberal 2019 bill, which allows Canada to turn away claimants who have already filed a claim in another country. The budget also allocated $1.18 billion over the next five years to help aid the situation.
Minister of Border Security Bill Blair has also attempted to engage with US counterparts to close loopholes in the Safe Third Country Agreement which allow for migrants to cross into Canada at unofficial border crossings. The discussions are currently ongoing and have yet to produce any results.
Earlier this week, Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer promised that his government would close the loopholes if elected in October 2019 in one of a series of speeches intended to elaborate on the party’s election platform.