Former Chairpersons of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada


Photo of Gordon Fairweather 1989-1992 From 1989 to 1992 Gordon Fairweather served as the IRB's founding Chairperson.

From 1952 to 1962, he was a member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick and served as provincial Attorney General from 1958 to 1962. He was later elected to the House of Commons and sat as an MP until 1977.

In 1977, he was appointed the first Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and held that position until 1987. He was an official observer of elections in Zimbabwe, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Malaysia and headed the Canadian delegation at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on three occasions. In 1978, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

He is still remembered by many at the IRB as a dedicated public servant and a vigorous human rights advocate. He died on December 24, 2008 at the age of 85.


Photo of Nurjehan Mawani 1992-1999 Mrs. Mawani began her public service career in 1986 as Vice-Chairperson and Member of the Immigration Appeal Board. She was subsequently named Deputy Chairperson of the Immigration Appeal Division at the Immigration and Refugee Board and served as its second Chairperson from 1992 to 1999.

As Chairperson, Mrs. Mawani issued the groundbreaking Guidelines on Children and on Women Refugee Claimants. These guidelines, the first of their kind in the world, led other countries to change their policies to recognize and take into account the unique challenges faced by refugee women.

Over the past four years Mrs. Mawani has worked in Central Asia, as Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in the Kyrgyz Republic. In 2007, she was awarded the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Canada Award for her outstanding contributions to the advancement of women. Mrs. Mawani is a member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of the Public Service of Canada's Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest honour in the Canadian Public Service.


Photo of Peter Showler 1999-2002 Peter Showler served as the Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada from 1999 to 2002. He had previously sat as a member of the Refugee Protection Division for a six-year period.

Before being appointed to the IRB, he was Co-director of Community Legal Services, a community legal clinic in Ottawa where he specialized in the practice of immigration and refugee law.

In 2003, Mr. Showler was appointed to be the Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa where his research focussed on a comparative study of refugee protection systems in developed countries. Peter Showler now teaches Advanced Refugee Law at the University of Ottawa Law School. His current interests include the implementation of refugee status determination systems in developing countries.


Photo of Jean-Guy Fleury 2002-2007 Jean-Guy Fleury was appointed Chairperson of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) on November 29, 2002. Mr. Fleury had a long and distinguished public service career spanning more than 40 years, including two years as the IRB's Executive Director in the mid-1990s.

As Chairperson, Mr. Fleury led the IRB through the development and implementation of the RPD Action Plan, a three-year initiative that represented a return to the vision of what an administrative tribunal should be: simple, quick and fair. Its implementation standardized and simplified the IRB's tribunal processes; provided greater institutional guidance for decision-makers and improved the efficiency of refugee protection hearings. These measures were largely responsible for eliminating the IRB's backlog of refugee claims at the time.

Jean-Guy Fleury also initiated the IAD Innovation Initiative with a view in transforming the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) into a less court-like, more responsive tribunal able to render decisions more quickly and efficiently, while maintaining the same high standard of justice. Mr. Fleury retired in 2007.


Brian Goodman, former Chairpeson Brian Goodman was called to the Ontario Bar in 1974 with a Masters Degree in Public Law. Before joining the Ontario Civil Service in 1983, he held a number of senior legal and executive positions at the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman. He served as Chair of the Rent Review Hearings Board and acted as Mining and Lands Commissioner. He was Co-Chair of the Dispute Resolution Forum, a Board member of the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals (CCAT) and Co-Chair of CCAT's 2008 Annual Conference, Chair of the Conference of Ontario Boards and Agencies (COBA), and Chair of the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators (SOAR) Committee on First Principles of Administrative Justice.

Before being appointed in May 1998 to the position of Executive Lead, Agency Reform for Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General, he was Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Public Law. From 1997 to 1999, Mr. Goodman co-chaired the Agency Reform Working Group, which advised and supported the work of the Agency Reform Commission and subsequently was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Commission's recommendations. Mr. Goodman also represented the Ministry on the Agency Sector Council.

Mr. Goodman was awarded the SOAR medal in 2000 in recognition of his many contributions to administrative justice. In 2001, following a stint as a member of the Consent and Capacity Board, Mr. Goodman was appointed a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and assigned to the Convention Refugee Determination Division in Toronto. He was reappointed in 2003. After joining the IRB, Mr. Goodman heard and decided numerous claims for refugee protection from claimants from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the United States.

In 2006, Mr. Goodman was named Deputy Chairperson of the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). In this capacity, Mr. Goodman led the Division through the planning and implementation of IAD Innovation to transform the IAD into a more flexible and proactive tribunal. Mr. Goodman was designated Interim Chairperson of the IRB in March 2007, and was confirmed in this position three months later. After becoming Chairperson, Mr. Goodman continued to pursue the integration of the Board's three divisions as well as specific initiatives such as the implementation of a new code of conduct for decision-makers and a review of the Board's organizational and management structures. In 2009, Mr. Goodman was elected to the governing Council of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges. Mr. Goodman died on June 18, 2013.