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No Longer On Guard For Thee
No Longer On Guard For Thee
Opinion

No Longer On Guard For Thee 

I have been privileged to serve my country as a Governor in Council appointee twice – as a full-time Member of the Immigration and Refugee Board in 1996-1998 and part-time Member of the Parole Board in 2013-2016. I served well. So when the IRB’s Legacy Task Force invited me to join their select group, charged with clearing a backlog of tens of thousands of claims, I accepted.

After training at the Toronto office in mid-December 2018, I was equipped for scheduling secure videoconference hearings from Kingston, starting in mid-January, and also assigned three paper files. I made a positive decision on one, convinced the claimant had a well-founded fear of persecution should he return to Syria. Short hearings were scheduled for the others because, after careful review, I had questions needing answers. That is what this job is about – familiarizing yourself with relevant Canadian laws, updating yourself regularly on country conditions, examining each file conscientiously and making a timely and fair decision on whether someone has a legitimate claim to refugee status. The claimant, by the way, always gets the benefit of the doubt. And that is as it should be.

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