Roundup: The IRB’s crushing backlog

Some fairly big news out of the Immigration and Refugee Board, which has decided that they will forgo the legislated timetables for hearing cases, and just hear them in the order that they were received. This after they have run out of internal solutions to manage the ballooning caseload of arrivals crossing the border trying to flee the Trumpocalypse to the south of us, while being under-resourced and understaffed because this government has proven itself utterly incapable of making necessary appointments in a timely manner (Supreme Court of Canada excepted), and this is the mess we find ourselves in as a result.

Now, it needs to be reiterated that the IRB has a long history of problems in managing its backlog, and that it’s not just this current government that has been a problem, but the previous one as well, where they took a system that had an optimal number of cases churning through the system (essentially, there was no actual backlog) and threw a spanner in the works by deciding that they needed to reform the appointment process to involve an exam (which critics at the time declared was because they wanted to stuff it with their cronies). The result of this was a sudden backlog of files that they decided to try and tackle by legislating yet more changes to the system including new timelines, but if memory serves, those changes were criticised as not giving most refugee claimants time enough to get all of their documents in order or get a lawyer that they can trust to help them with their cases, particularly because many of these claimants are traumatized when they arrive and distrusting of authority; the end-result of that was going to mean yet more appeals and court challenges, because they also put in systems that tried to limit those as well. I’m not sure ever got that backlog cleared before the current government decided to reform that appointment process yet again, and here we are, broken process and a system struggling under its own weight, and awaiting yet more promised reforms that have yet to materialize. Slow clap to successive governments for continually dropping the ball on this file.

Good reads:

  • In India, Justin Trudeau announced some $1 billion in foreign direct investment, of which $250 million of which will be directed to Canada.
  • There are also questions as to whether or not Trudeau is being snubbed by India’s prime minister, who has not greeted him or even tweeted out greetings.
  • The government won’t be going ahead with lowering the blood alcohol limit, likely because doing so would have clogged the courts with challenges.
  • The House of Commons’ independent investigator has “partially substantiated” the harassment claims against Darshan Kang.
  • Elections Canada is examining Liberal MP Majid Jowhari for improper fundraising.
  • Canadian firms have been invited to bid on F-35 fighter maintenance contracts.
  • The Transportation Safety Board released their annual report showing more pipeline spills (due to weather) and more commercial airplane accidents in 2017.
  • Kady O’Malley’s Process Nerd column explains why the parliamentary calendar is so light at this time of year.
  • Paul Wells looks at why what made Patrick Brown a good candidate will turn ugly and work against his party.
  • Stephen Gordon notes that with the “supercluster” announcement, the Liberals appear to have given up on dealing with middle-class anxieties.
  • My column looks at how the Conservatives’ constant demands that the government do something about the Trans Mountain pipeline will likely on hurt things.

Odds and ends:

Tristin Hopper goes through the various explanations as to why a free tuition policy won’t help anybody but the wealthy.

Hopper also examines how Canadian gun laws would have prevented most US mass shootings.

Liberal MP Salma Zahid is taking medical leave to seek treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.