Last Updated on May 6, 2017
May 5, 2017 – Sexual orientation, gender identity and expression are the focus on a new set of guidelines issued by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
Experts have described the first of its kind guidance as revolutionary. It aims to help completely eliminate a candidate’s sexual orientation as a factor in immigration cases.
Guideline 9: Proceedings before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression is in effect as of May 1, 2017.
The main aims of the guidelines are to:
- Promote greater understanding of cases involving sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) and the harm individuals may face.
- To address challenges individuals may face in presenting their cases before the IRB.
- Establishes guiding principles for decision-makers in adjudicating cases involving sensitive issues.
Development of the new guidance was informed by input from internal and external consultations, existing training materials, a review of academic research and approaches by other organizations; and a review of relevant jurisprudence.
The guidance applies to all four divisions of the IRB, namely, the Immigration Division, the Immigration Appeal Division, the Refugee Protection Division, and the Refugee Appeal Division.
It includes section on appropriate language, protection of sensitive information and how to avoid stereotyping.
Specific guidance on fear of persecution is also included as well as how to treat bisexual individuals, transsexuals, and minors.
Areas Covered in New Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Guidelines
- Use of appropriate language
- Protection of sensitive information
- Avoiding stereotyping when making findings of fact
- Questioning an individual
- Establishing a well-founded fear of persecution
- Concealment of SOGIE as persecution
- Bisexual individuals
- Trans and intersex individuals
- Criminal laws and laws of general application
- Forced medical treatment
- Cumulative discrimination amounting to persecution
- Country condition information
- State protection
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