Internal Audit and Program Evaluation Directorate
Evaluation Summary of the CBSA Hearings Program

Program description

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) works with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration and refugee system. The CBSA is responsible for the immigration enforcement program which enforces the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The enforcement-related activities of the CBSA include:

The CBSA Hearings Program (the Program) involves the representation of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (PSEP) or the Minister of IRCC by Hearings Officers (HO) in front of the IRB. The Program is managed at National Headquarters (NHQ) and is delivered by HOs in seven regions, including: Atlantic, Quebec, Northern Ontario, Southern Ontario, Prairie, Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and Pacific.

About the evaluation

The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Program, in accordance with the 2016 Treasury Board Policy on Results. There have been no prior evaluations of the Program to date.

The evaluation covered approximately $21 million in annual direct program spending. It examined the Hearings Program’s activities and outputs, and the extent to which program outcomes are being achieved. The evaluation was conducted in fiscal year 2017–2018.

What the evaluation found

Effectiveness

Immigration Division:

Immigration Appeal Division:

Refugee Protection Division:

Refugee Appeal Division:

Internal Stakeholders:

External Stakeholders:

Working relationship between the CBSA and the IRB:

Across Lines of Business – Training:

Efficiency

Program inputs and outputs:

Resource requirements by division:

Recommendations

The findings of the evaluation led to the following five recommendations:

  1. The Vice-President of Programs in cooperation with the Vice-President of Operations (or the proposed Vice-President of Enforcement and Intelligence as part of CBSA Renewal) should improve national program management through the development of a risk-based hearings strategy, which includes performance indicators unique to the Program’s lines of business and regular program performance reporting.
  2. The Vice-President of Operations Branch and the Vice-President of Programs Branch (or the proposed Vice-President of Enforcement and Intelligence as part of CBSA Renewal) should, in consultation with IRCC, explore options to optimize the national consistency and effectiveness of the delivery of the triage function.
  3. The Vice-President of Programs Branch (or the proposed Vice-President of Enforcement and Intelligence as part of CBSA Renewal) should review the roles and responsibilities of the CBSA and IRCC within the hearings process, as outlined in the existing MOU, to optimize resource utilization between the two organizations and maximize program effectiveness.
  4. The Vice-President of the Human Resources Branch should, in consultation with the Vice-President of Programs Branch and the Vice-President of the Operations Branch (or the proposed Vice-President of Enforcement and Intelligence as part of CBSA Renewal), examine the existing recruitment strategies for Hearings Program staff, as well as the effectiveness of the current training model and the consistency of its delivery, to account for the specialized and technical job functions of Hearings Officers and to improve training outcomes.
  5. The Vice-President of Programs Branch should, with support from the Vice-President of Operations Branch (or the proposed Vice-President of Enforcement and Intelligence as part of CBSA Renewal), complete an analysis of national resource allocation and utilization, including Hearings Advisors, which takes into account the volumes in each line of business and region, to optimize service delivery and achievement of outcomes.

The Management Action Plan is accessible at Evaluation of the CBSA Hearings Program.

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