Evidence of meeting #102 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was board.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Nastaran Roushan  Lawyer, As an Individual
Asiya Jennifer Hirji  Barrister and Solicitor, As an Individual
Chantal Desloges  Lawyer, Desloges Law Group, As an Individual
Bashir Khan  Lawyer, Refugee Law, As an Individual
Raoul Boulakia  Lawyer, As an Individual

12:45 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

Raoul Boulakia

Well, it doesn't make sense, because you've got, say, a refugee claimant who is rejected, and the lawyer saying that the refugee was dealt with completely unfairly by a board member who shouldn't have been hearing the case. The injustice just stands, and there's no learning from it. There's no learning for the institution. We want the institution to improve, and part of that is that situations are analyzed so that you can teach the members that this is what is expected or you can teach a complainant that the complaint wasn't valid.

12:45 p.m.

Lawyer, Desloges Law Group, As an Individual

Chantal Desloges

The claimants deserve to know what happened. The claimants deserve a resolution to their complaint. If they've been treated badly, they should get a response to that, a substantive response.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Would you think it appropriate, when there is a complaint lodged against a particular board member, that you, as counsel for your client, could face the same board member at the same time as you're proceeding? Do you think that is the appropriate approach, or should there be something different in place to deal with that?

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

Raoul Boulakia

I don't think I should be appearing before that member, but at the same time I think that we should have a complaints process that's efficient enough that you couldn't do that just to stonewall and avoid that member. It should be resolved reasonably promptly.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Fair enough.

Do you have anything else to add to that answer, Ms. Desloges?

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, Desloges Law Group, As an Individual

Chantal Desloges

I agree with the caveat that as counsel, of course our training is that we should vigorously defend our client, including making a complaint if it's justified, and not be afraid to go in front of that member again, but to the degree that it's possible, I think it's not very optimal.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

If a complaint has been founded against a particular board member and the board member has been ordered to undergo some sort of training, etc., from what we understand of the IRB, after that process there is no formal evaluation on how successful the training was. Instead they simply do an annual review as part of the process.

Do you think that's the right approach, or should there be an assessment to determine how well the training went? I'd love to get your thoughts on that.

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

Raoul Boulakia

That brings us back to the basic problem that when it's the RPD dealing with a complaint, they've got a conflict. That's why it's so opaque. What are they supposed to do? Are they supposed to call this board member in after a few weeks and chastise them or check them out? It's problematic to be both a manager of a tribunal and to deal with a complaint, so it should.... If there was an external complaints committee, you could go back to them and bring it back to them.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Do you have anything else to add?

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, Desloges Law Group, As an Individual

Chantal Desloges

Yes. With any kind of training, you have to see results. I mean, that's just a general principle, not just with the board. I would expect, if I send my staff for training, to see the results of it.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

On the issue of conduct and the code of conduct, we've heard testimony from our witnesses previously and also from government officials that it's really hard to get rid of a board member. It almost seems like an impossible task. Do you think that's the right approach? As we're reviewing this exercise, should there be different things put in place to allow for a proper review and, in those cases, an easier path, if necessary, for a board member to be, frankly, fired?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Be very brief, please.

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

Raoul Boulakia

I'd say yes, but it has to be fair and transparent. It has to be fair to the board member too, and we can't attract people to become board members if we're not going to be clear about how they're dealt with.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

That would be open, transparent, and accountable on all counts—

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

—for both the board member and for the complainant.

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

Raoul Boulakia

It does have to respect the confidentiality of the individual, so in terms of a public process it could become problematic, but in terms of an accounting for how the process works and what decisions have been made in the end, that could be public.

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, Desloges Law Group, As an Individual

Chantal Desloges

Yes. I agree 100%.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Thank you very much.

Mr. Tabbara, you have about two minutes, because I have a motion I need to bring to the committee just before we close.

March 22nd, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll just get right to it.

We had opposition toward the IRB, and from the opposition, we said there wasn't enough money invested in the IRB. We've currently invested, I think, over $70 million into the IRB, into training processes, changing the old system to a newer system that we have today.

We talked a little bit today about training and a complaints process. With this additional funding, do you think we can see better results through the training processes of IRB judges?

12:50 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

Raoul Boulakia

Training can be good. You can invest in training, but the hiring process in the first place has to be good enough that you're getting people who have a judicious attitude.

A person can sit through training all they want and then, at the end of the day, walk out of training and keep doing the same thing. If we don't improve the hiring process and if we don't have a reasonable complaints process, nothing's stopping people from attending as much training as they're given and not absorbing it.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

You've filed a complaint with the IRB on a particular judge. Did you follow up on what happened to that particular judge?

12:55 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

Raoul Boulakia

I just got a letter that the complaint won't be decided because the board member is no longer with the IRB.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

There was no follow-up on what happened.

12:55 p.m.

Lawyer, As an Individual

Raoul Boulakia

No. It's closed.