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Which government organizations are responsible for immigration?

These four organizations are responsible for planning, developing and executing immigration laws and policies.

1) Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

IRCC has the overall responsibility for all temporary, permanent immigration, citizenship matters, and issuing passports. It has the authority and responsibility to select immigrants, issue temporary and permanent status, and grant citizenship. This organization also determines the eligibility for refugee claims, both inside and outside Canada, however for inside-Canada claims, IRCC refers claimants to IRB for a final determination.

As of March 2021, only 8,991 persons were employed by IRCC which is 2.8% of the total federal public servants of 319,601. If you hear about hundreds of thousands of cases backlogged, one of the reasons is that there is a small number of employees working in this very busy department.

2) Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA):

This agency works under the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (P.S.E.P) and is responsible for the enforcement of immigration and refugee matters both at the border and inside the country. This includes but is not limited to detentions, removals, investigations, and controlling the flow of immigrants impacting the Canadian immigration system beyond the Canadian borders.


As of March 2021, a total of 15,224 persons were employed by the CBSA, which is a total of 4.8% of the Total Federal Public Servants. Note, there are a total of (319,601) civil servants working in the government.

3) Employment and Social Development Canada (E.S.D.C):

ESDC has two functions with regard to Economic Immigration, first, it conducts employer compliance with employment standards, and second, it assesses Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is generally required for work permit applications under the Economic Immigration programs. According to the official government website, over 25,000 persons work in E.S.D.C.

4) Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB):

IRB is a tribunal (not a court) responsible for deciding on immigration and refugee cases based on immigration laws. Though it is an independent tribunal, it is going through the minister of IRCC to report to the parliament of Canada.

IRB has four divisions, namely:


1) The Refugee Protection Division (RPD). This division determines refugees’ status from inland refugee/asylum seekers. For an in-depth understanding of the division’s operations, please read the Refugee Protection Division Rules available online.

2) The Refugee Appeal Division (RAD): Not all refugees are successful in their hearings, therefore, if your case was rejected but it was not entirely baseless, you will have the option to appeal your refugee/asylum case in the Refugee Appeal Division. This division can also consider new evidence that was previously not available or inaccessible. For an in-depth understanding of the division’s operations, please read the Refugee Appeal Division Rules available online.

3) The Immigration Division (I.D): This division is responsible for admissibility hearings, issuance of removal orders and detention reviews. For an in-depth understanding of the division’s operations, please read the Immigration Division Rules available online.

4) The Immigration Appeal Division (I.A.D): As the name implies it hears appeals from immigrants in the following cases: failed sponsorships, removal orders for inadmissibility, failed residency obligations, and minister’s appeals. For an in-depth understanding of the division’s operations, please read the Immigration Appeal Division Rules available online.

As of March 2021, only 1,993 persons were employed by IRB which is 0.6% of the total (319,601) federal public servants.

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