Innovations
May 7, 2012

Innovation ensures integrity of overwhelmed system

In 2010 when rumours began to circulate about the possible arrival of one or more ships carrying as many as 500 Sri Lankan nationals, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s Vancouver regional office knew that if a large number of migrants were going to be detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the immigration division and operational support functions would be quickly overwhelmed.

Through innovation, cooperation and leadership, the IRB took the necessary steps to prepare for an extraordinary increase in workload, and ensure that it continued to fulfill its mandate of resolving cases efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.

In Canada, citizens and permanent residents have the right to enter and exit Canada and move freely about the country. However, this is not always the case for those who are neither permanent residents nor Canadian citizens.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) decides whether to allow foreign nationals to enter Canada, whether to turn them back at the border or whether to place them in detention.

The immigration division (ID) of the IRB, Canada’s largest independent administrative tribunal, schedules hearings, known as detention reviews, to provide an independent assessment of whether the person concerned should remain in detention. According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the first review takes place within 48 hours of the referral from CBSA or without delay afterwards. If the detention is continued, a second review is conducted within seven days and additional reviews are conducted every 30 days thereafter until the individual is released from detention or deported.

Earlier, in October 2009, the MV Ocean Lady had arrived off the west coast with 76 Sri Lankan nationals on board. Because of the irregular mode of transport, as well as concerns that the Tamil Tigers – a terrorist organization – could have been involved in organizing the arrival, all 76 men on board were detained by the CBSA and their cases referred to the ID.

Within the first week, the ID finalized the 48-hour detention reviews. The ID then immediately started conducting the seven-day reviews. With a great deal of effort and cooperation from all parties, the ID maintained a timely schedule of detention reviews until the last of the Ocean Lady migrants were released from detention in March 2010.

When the 2010 rumours about the possible arrival of one or more ships carrying as many as 500 Sri Lankan nationals began, the IRB’s Vancouver Regional Office acted to acquire the necessary personnel and that logistical arrangements were in place, and worked with partners to ensure an efficient processing of the cases.

Personnel

The five full-time members who preside over detention reviews and admissibility hearings for all of Western Canada, from Manitoba to British Columbia, would have been overwhelmed by this massive increase in work. To boost the number of members in anticipation of the ship’s arrival, the ID arranged the temporary return of four retired members and was able to put ID members in the Central and Eastern regions on standby to help either by going to Vancouver or by doing detention reviews by video or teleconference.

Interpreters

The expeditious scheduling of the detention review hearings is complicated by the requirement of the IRB to provide an accredited interpreter at each proceeding. To overcome this challenge the IRB took steps before the ship’s arrival, including: the pre-booking of local interpreters; the creation of an inventory of accredited interpreters available via telephone; and the launching of a recruitment and accreditation campaign for new Tamil language interpreters.

Satellite office

When it became clear that the CBSA would detain some of the persons concerned in the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (FRCC), more than an hour from Vancouver, the IRB arranged to establish a satellite office on the premises to facilitate efficient processing of the detention reviews. Located within a fenced-in section of the prison yard, the satellite office contains five hearing room trailers, an operations centre, and offices for members, interpreters and duty counsel.

For Roslyn MacVicar, regional director of the IRB’s Western Region, the preparations made before the ship’s arrival in Canada were instrumental in the IRB’s success. “Our region’s experience with large arrivals, along with the steps made in conjunction with our provincial and federal partners prior to the ship’s arrival, allowed us to have all plans in place when the detention reviews for the migrants began,” she said.

Arrival

The MV Sun Sea arrived in Victoria in August 2010. All 492 passengers identified themselves as Tamils from Sri Lanka and all made refugee claims. Those migrants over the age of 18 were placed in immigration detention by the CBSA. After the initial processing on Vancouver Island, they were transferred to three separate detention facilities in Metro Vancouver. The 380 men were brought to the FRCC, and the 63 women were detained in two separate detention facilities, depending upon whether they had children with them.

The detention review process for many claimants was a major challenge for IRB staff. While the women’s detention reviews were conducted at the Vancouver IRB offices, the on-site IRB facilities at the FRCC were instrumental to successfully meeting the statutory timelines; detainees there did not need to be transported, allowing for more effective and efficient administration of the hearings.

The challenge for the ID in making well-reasoned and fair decisions, despite an enormous increase in the volume of work under tight timelines, was exacerbated by intense media attention. This was further complicated by the fact that refugee protection claims had been made, which meant that the migrants’ detention reviews were not open to the public. The ID had to consider numerous applications from the media requesting access to the hearings. Members of the ID crafted orders allowing media access subject to a strict publication ban to protect the privacy of individual claimants.

Looking forward

The detention review hearings are ongoing for approximately 100 of the 492 migrants who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea. The IRB continues to excel in processing this large number of detention reviews in addition to its regular workload. Meeting challenges through innovation has ensured that the integrity of Canada’s immigration system is maintained and the fundamental rights of the detained migrants are safeguarded. Through cooperation with partner organizations, the leadership of the management team and the dedication and enthusiasm of all IRB personnel, the IRB is succeeding under demanding circumstances.

As of February 1, 2011, the IRB has ordered the release of 324 of the migrants. Hearings for the remaining detained migrants continue every 30 days. “Despite the time pressure and vast numbers, we have managed to treat each person as an individual,” said ID director Fred Ringham. “Some were ordered released early on while others remain in detention, based on their particular situation. This has required intense and sustained effort by the members and staff, working long hours under intense public scrutiny.”

Conducting a large number of detention reviews under difficult conditions and tight timeframes required leadership, a collaborative effort and support from all IRB personnel. To put the enormity of what the IRB accomplished in perspective, 1,023 detention reviews were concluded in the Western Region the month the ship arrived, representing an increase of 718 percent over the pre

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Innovations
 
In late March the ONS detailed the occupations in the UK...
 
Leadership, service delivery, change management, performance measurement, big data, transparency, digital...
 
As the labour market shifts from full-time work toward short-term and...
 
In this episode of CGE Radio, J. Richard Jones talks with...
 
We all know that innovation involves taking risk and accepting the...
 
My experience in government has spanned across municipal, provincial and now...
 
If your Deputy Minister asked you to identify a dozen communities...
 
In my previous post about Nesta’s  Digital Frontrunners , I introduced four challenges ...
 
“Innovation is a foreign word in the public sector.” “Public employees...
 
Over the years, governments have been adopting Lean management principles to...
 
We have been hearing quite a lot about superclusters. The Government...
 
Design labs make public services client-centred and system savvy, not merely...
 
Today the world is observing International Day of People with Disabilities. The...
 
One of the benefits of living in a federation is that...
 
Ontario Northland is a crown corporation that provides transportation solutions to...
 
The well-publicized scrap between Canada’s Auditor General and the Clerk of...
 
As a new professional working in government, I hear a lot...
 
Most people go into public service because they want to improve...
 
A healthy Canadian economy and opportunities outside of North America are...
 
Studies have shown that the global population will begin to decline,...
 
The US and other Western governments are sinking more money into...
 
By June 2017, the Public Engagement Team at the Privy Council...
 
A single team or lab could never create the volume of...
 
We are excited to share with you the May/June issue of...
 
Everyone wants to change, become more efficient, and drive better value...
 
In July 2017, a local company unveiled a “virtual statue” on...
 
High in the Arctic, the Inuksuk is a timeless cultural symbol...
 
We are excited to share with you the latest issue of...
 
Today’s global and local environments require public servants at all levels...
 
Welcome to the era of Smart Cities where connectivity will drive...
 
“Nearly every problem has been solved by someone, somewhere. The challenge...
 
Throughout Canada, healthcare systems are challenged by population growth, aging, and...
 
Almost every day, I read about a new driverless car or...
 
Making a successful digital transformation is tough. It can be costly,...
 
Transforming the way services are provided by governments to match the...
 
According to a recent McKinsey study there is a potential for...
 
On the global scene, technology has revolutionized and automated the work...
 
Recently, George Ross, Editor-in-Chief of Candian Government Executive sat down with...
 
Emerging technologies are getting faster and smarter. Cognitive capabilities, robotics and...
 
For over two days at the end of January this year,...
 
Today on CGE Radio, we speak with Craig Szelestowski, President and...
 
Canadian Government Executive (CGE) media team is excited to announce a...
 
For many years now, the buzz in government has been around...
 
It’s that time of year when some of us think reluctantly...
 
The adoption of new technologies provides many opportunities, poses unique challenges...
 
We are excited to announce that the October issue of Canadian...
 
Over the last two years, an ever-growing number of organizations around...
 
Canadian Government Executive is excited to announce the agenda for TechGov...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) is pleased to welcome Microsoft as its Platinum Sponsor for...
 
We are happy to share with you the September 2017 issue...
 
We are pleased to provide you with an opportunity to help...
 
Innovation is vital in every sector; public service is no exception....
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) and CATAAlliance , Canada’s one voice for...
 
As social media becomes ever-more prevalent in the lives of today’s...
 
How does a mandate for innovation challenge evaluation? Increasingly, the public...
 
In 2016, Deloitte undertook a global internal audit research study on...
 
Excellence in leadership is instrumental in serving the public interest. New-age...
 
“Former Metro banker stole $73,000.”  “Enbridge sues ex-employee.”  “Woman stole $51,000...
 
The recent introduction of the new Government of Canada (GC) IT...
 
Innovation is prized and praised these days at work, even in...
 
As the Liberal’s assumed office, three big democratic reform ideas were...
 
The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA Alliance) is Canada’s One Voice...
 
Orchestrating the transition from present to emergent leadership Millennial is the...
 
As ‘month 13’ for Canada’s Syrian refugee arrivals comes and goes,...
 
As governments around the world move towards the digital transformation of...
 
The way organizations recruit, shape and manage their workforce to find...
 
The promise of web 2.0 was the emergence of a user-driven...
 
Commodity Management (the official term for life-cycle asset management of goods...
 
Over the decades, technology has been grafted into governments around the...
 
We have all heard the sayings: “Home, sweet home”; “There’s no...
 
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with its 28 independent member countries...
 
The rapid advances in digital technology, demographic and societal shift even...
 
The latest issue of Canadian Government Executive is currently available. Some...
 
Bill Gates once said that “Technology is just a tool. In...
 
The last few months have showed a complex and potentially ominous...
 
In the first year of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s term in...
 
Since 2010, experts and academics eager to connect “systems thinking” and...
 
After shifting its focus away from manufacturing smartphones, BlackBerry  announced yesterday that...
 
Earlier this year the Ontario Ministry of Health announced that it...
 
There is already a surging literature on the application of design...
 
As team Trudeau would tell it, this past summer saw spirited...
 
Rules and accountability are helpful in developing and standardizing processes but...
 
Today’s transformative movement towards a more digital and connected government is...
 
At last the the nostalgic fun of the CNE decends upon...
 
In this episode, we discuss the top stories from our latest...
 
Dispersed organisations can be very powerful structures. There is ample evidence...
 
The local electric vehicle industry just got a boost from Ontario...
 
Governments around the world are seeking to tap technologies such as...
 
The Public Health Agency of Canada has long been aware of...
 
Dispersed organisations can be very powerful structures. There is ample evidence...
 
Companies and governments continue to bemoan Shadow IT. Many respond by...
 
The annual APEX Symposium, which is the largest gathering of federal...
 
Protests by irate taxi drivers, roadside scuffles involving cabbies and Uber...
 
Public sector design thinking has evolved from obscurity to something of...
 
LAS VEGAS – Global cloud provider E MC Corp. , has launched a...
 
Here’s some bad news for organizations contemplating projects that have something...
 
Two years ago, Bixi, a not-for-profit, para-municipal bicycle-share firm of the...
 
In January, the BBC and BuzzFeed jointly released an exposé on...
 
Things just get curiouser and curiouser. Lewis Carroll (1865): ’s Adventures...
 
As Toronto’s city staff prepares top release proposed regulations for taxis...
 
If the government intends to push economy-boosting measures, Canadian business leaders...
 
The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Lab is...
 
Nearly half of Canadian organizations are falling behind on implementation of...
 
The Ontario government and telecom gear maker Huawei Canada yesterday announced...
 
Over the last decade we have seen many changes in the...
 
The idea of converged infrastructure and converged systems in the datacentre...
 
VMware is zeroing in on DevOps and day-to-day concerns of IT...
 
Written by Jason McNaught It took approximately 18 years for carbon...
 
Public sector innovation, once dismissed as a contradiction in terms, is...
 
Changes to the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) will help...
 
Innovation (design or change) labs are the hottest thing in government....
 
The rapid growth of unmanned systems for military applications has been...
 
sharing and checking into Google Plus regularly; that only leaves brands...
 
The economic development agencies of 12 municipalities have banded together to...
 
The City of Grande Prairie in Alberta has received a “green...
 
Governments and managers can promote innovation in Canada by crafting a...
 
Two weeks ago, CGE wrote about the selection of Toronto as...
 
Despite the international media circus created by Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto...
 
A regulator’s job is to fulfill its mandate in the public...
 
but what does this mean when plugged back into your starting...
 
Innovate Manitoba is a not-for-profit community-based organization established in 2012 to...
 
as articulated in Thaler and Sunstein’s book of the same name...
 
or is this more or less a way to talk about...
 
Whether we are welcoming advanced technology into our homes, driving vehicles...
 
“Innovation” might be an overused buzzword in defence and security circles,...
 
Ontario and Alberta have joined forces to encourage the development of...
 
For government to fulfill its mandate of serving citizens, considerable spending...
 
The need to innovate has become so common a goal in...
 
While not all cities are created equal, great competition should bring...
 
It has long been postulated that tidy desks are more conducive...
 
In “Public sector, disrupted”, a recent study published by Deloitte, a...
 
We are only at the first phase of the Digital Age...
 
In Smarter Information, Smarter Consumers, www.hbr.org, Richard H. Thaler and Will...
 
A Saskatchewan team of geologists, physicists and palaeontologists is hunting for...
 
The judges are in place. The clock is ticking. The best...
 
At first glance, federal defence scientists focused on research supporting the...
 
What is British Columbia doing to change its approach to scientific...
 
In a knowledge-based global economy, continuous innovation is crucial to enable...
 
There is no reason for Canada to be an innovation and...
 
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment is leading a new approach built on...
 
Governments have long known that although across-the-board percentage cuts may meet...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.4 April 2007 Education, creativity, research and innovation play...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.3 March 2008 Innovation is one of those concepts...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.5 May 2008 Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty spoke...
 
Today, thanks largely to the internet, the kind of creativity and...
 
When William Eggers wrote his landmark book, Government 2.0, in 2005,...
 
What exactly is hunger and why is it an important global...
 
En décembre 2008, la fonction publique de la Colombie-Britannique a lancé...
 
La fonction publique de l’Ontario œuvre dans la lutte contre les...
 
The Ontario Public Service has been in the business of putting...
 
In December 2008, the BC Public Service launched Spark, an internal...
 
Once seen as stable, even glacial, the public service is now...
 
D’abord vue comme stable, même figée, la fonction publique connaît maintenant...
 
Au cours de ma longue expérience auprès de différents ministres d’allégeances...
 
Le leadership au sein des organismes du secteur public est l’un...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.8 October 2007 A modern public service is one...
 
Quote of the week “An innovative APS starts with individual public...
 
Le plus souvent, toutefois, nous devons nous affairer activement à trouver...
 
Sometimes innovation happens serendipitously – a Eureka moment, when the answer...
 
2012 has the potential to be an important year for Canadian...
 
As the Ontario Public Service readies for its involvement this April...
 
TED is a non-profit community devoted to the theme of “Ideas...
 
Becoming an innovative organization takes more than a call to “be...
 
Thousands of other research projects in Canada have become a reality...
 
Conducting a large number of detention reviews under difficult conditions and...
 
How can we increase productivity, build resilience and enhance quality of...
 
Innovation is critical and urgent as public servants continue to improve...
 
To the reporters who’d gathered in the Alberta Legislature press room,...
 
Robert Louis Stevenson a déjà affirmé que « la politique est...
 
You’ve made a good choice. If you’re in the public sector...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.10 December 2007 David Crombie, former Toronto Mayor, Conservative...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
In late March the ONS detailed the occupations in the UK...