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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
Added language of material: French
Scope and content
Fonds consists of records created and/or maintained by the Immigration Appeal Board and its predecessors. Researchers are cautioned that unprocessed textual records and records in other media are not reflected in this description.
Copyright belongs to the Crown.
Finding aids are available. See lower level descriptions and accession records in ArchiviaNet (the NA website). (Other)
Biography / Administrative history
The Immigration Act of 1952 (R.S.C. 1952 C. 325) made provisions under which certain deportation appeals could be heard by a quasi-independent, quasi-judicial Board. Prior to the 1952 legislation, non-Canadians could make their appeals directly to the Minister responsible for immigration, as only Canadian citizens, or those who had achieved domicile, could make use of the courts.
On 30 June 1954 a seven-member Immigration Appeal Board was established by Ministerial Order at the Immigration Branch Headquarters at Ottawa. Six three-to-six-member Boards were also established at six seaports. These regional Boards, however, dealt solely with ship deserters and stowaways. In 1955 two Field Boards were created -- at Winnipeg and Toronto -- which could hear appeals in routine criminal cases and routine land border cases. Despite these changes, the Minister retained final say in the outcome.
In 1956 the appeal system was re-organized. In March of that year the first Immigration Appeal Board regulations were passed under Section 62 of the 1952 legislation. These regulations formally created the Immigration Appeal Board. In 1958 a Ministerial Order clarified matters. The IAB Headquarters office was to address all cases referred to it by the Minister responsible for immigration; Branch Headquarters was to deal with cases involving stateless appellants, alleged subversives, spies and saboteurs; and Field Boards were to handle "ordinary" border appeals, criminal cases, and deserting seamen and stowaways. The decisions of all these levels, however, were still subject to Ministerial review.
In 1967 the Immigration Appeal Board Act (S.C. 1966-1967, C. 90) came into force. The old system was replaced with a new Immigration Appeal Board -- a de-centralized, court-like entity with more clearly defined powers and procedures. In 1976 the Immigration Appeal Board Act was merged with a revised Immigration Act (ss. 59-83 of S.C. 1976-1977 C. 52), which came into force in 1978. The IAB, however, remained an independent body, and lost none of its powers. In fact, by the early 1980s the IAB's decisions were no longer reversible by the Minister, except in cases involving security or criminal intelligence reports, where the Minister and Solicitor General certified that the admission of the appellant would be "contrary to the national interest." Although the IAB no longer formed part of the federal department responsible for immigration, it did report to Parliament through the minister responsible for that portfolio (ie. the Minister of Manpower and Immigration, 1967-1977, and the Minister of Employment and Immigration, 1977-1988). From 1967 to 1986 the IAB consisted of a headquarters at Ottawa and a small number of regional offices. As of 1986 the latter included four permanent courts (at Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver) with full powers of decision over cases heard in their regions. These courts could hold hearings in any location where warranted by demand.
In 1986 legislation was introduced to merge the IAB with the Refugee Status Advisory Committee (RSAC), and create the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). A separate entity, the RSAC was responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on claims to refugee status. The IRB was formally created in 1989. The legislation gave one wing of the Board many of the powers of the old IAB, and the other wing was granted some of the powers to grant refugee status that had been shared previously by the RSAC and the Minister.
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