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Immigration & Refugee Board

Policy & Operations Updates

Interpreters Program

  • Ninety percent of the IRB’s proceedings (40,000 to 60,000 per year) require a foreign language interpreter, all of whom are contractors.  Up to 260 different languages and dialects are available.
  • To ensure continuous capacity, the IRB has developed a rigorous interpreter testing and accreditation system now relied on by other government departments and agencies. Forecasting which languages are required for a given hearing and in a given time and place in Canada is an operational challenge unique to the IRB.
  • Another challenge of the interpreters program is to recruit and sustain interpreters who interpret rare dialects. To address this challenge, the Operations Branch is working with the regional offices and the IRB’s Divisions in reviewing policies and payment options for rare dialect interpreters.
  • As part of the BRRA recruitment initiative, the IRB’s interpreter program has added another 20 language tests to the existing 52 tests bringing the total to 72.  This strengthens the recruitment and accreditation process in emerging languages needed to fulfill the Board’s mandate. The Board presently has 1,174 accredited Interpretation Service Contractors in its national database.

Designated Representatives (DRs)

  • In 2010, the IRB created an internal working group to respond to concerns raised by stakeholders with respect to designated representatives, in particular:
    • Role and responsibilities of DRs;
    • Timing of and consistency in appointment of DRs;
    • Qualifications of DRs; and
    • Miscellaneous concerns (e.g. application of Guideline 8 on vulnerable persons, etc.).
  • The working group’s recommendations are being implemented. Many of the recommendations result in training of the member community and IRB personnel. Such training is also integrated into the BRRA training.
  • Other initiatives are also being undertaken, such as a review of the fees paid to designated representatives.

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