Canada has an obligation to grant protection to Convention refugees and persons in need of protection under a number of United Nations conventions to which it is a signatory. These include the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984).
The Refugee Protection Division (RPD), an independent tribunal at arm's length from government, is the division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) that hears claims for refugee protection made in Canada and decides whether to accept them.
The RPD Member is an independent and impartial decision-maker. The RPD Member is accountable for determining whether refugee protection claims will be accepted or rejected under the provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and its regulations. Members must render decisions orally at a hearing unless it is not practicable to do so.
The RPD Member's responsibilities involve listening, gathering, analyzing, incorporating and summarizing complex original facts to determine the nature of each case; identifying and interpreting jurisprudence and relevant Canadian, foreign and international law; listening to complex legal arguments presented by parties or by self-represented claimants.
The RPD Member prepares, organizes and plans hearings and pre-hearing conferences; conducts the review and in-depth analysis of files, analyzes the nature of the issues, verifies the relevant facts, identifies and clarifies the need for additional related information of interest, takes appropriate action, and makes decisions on refugee claims. Occasionally, the RPD Member acts as a mentor to new RPD Members, to teach them the basics of their work and ensure that they acquire the necessary knowledge through the use of various techniques.
The RPD Member also participates in regular meetings of RPD Members, RPD professional development sessions and in the work of committees set up to improve the procedural or substantive performance of the RPD. The RPD Member provides advice and feedback on policy initiatives proposed by the management of the RPD and the Board.