Security Screening Measures Procedures at Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada Controlled Premises

​Effective Date: April 17 2015
Amended: December 14, 2017

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    1. 1.1 Purpose
    2. 1.2 Authorities
    3. 1.3 Definitions
  2. Responsibilities
  3. Application
  4. Special Screening Situations
    1. 4.1 Persons
    2. 4.2 Special Circumstances
    3. 4.3 Requesting Other Accommodations
    4. 4.4 Technical Issues
  5. Enquiries
  6. Approval

Appendix A – Exempted Person List

Appendix B – Manual Inspection

Appendix C – Specific Prohibited Items List

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose

These procedures outline the manner by which the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) will conduct security screening of persons entering IRB-controlled premises. The Chairperson has identified a list of items which are prohibited on IRB‑controlled premises to ensure the safety and security of all persons on these premises. These security screening procedures have been developed exclusively for the identification of prohibited items. They are not intended to conflict with any Canadian laws or regulations and they do not apply to searches and seizures related to a criminal investigation or arrest.

The authorized security screening measures will be adapted to address specific situations taking into account the nature and level of any identified threat. The measures will be as minimally intrusive as possible while being respectful of religious, medical and other accommodation requirements. They will be carried out in a manner that respects people’s reasonable expectation of privacy and in compliance with the requirements of the Official Languages Act.

1.2 Authorities

  • Access to Information Act
  • Canada Labour Code, Part II
  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Canadian Human Rights Act
  • Directive on Departmental Security Management (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)
  • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s Security Policy
  • Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Policy on Government Security (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)
  • Privacy Act
  • Security Screening Measures Policy on Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada Controlled Premises

1.3 Definitions

Access control: is the use of physical and procedural controls to ensure that only authorized individuals or items are permitted on IRB premises.

Accommodation: is a modification or variation in the application of the procedures in response to an identified need based on any of the grounds provided for in the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Alarm: is an audible or visual signal that functions as an alerting mechanism.

Bag searching: includes searching purses, briefcases, backpacks and any other container used to carry personal belongings. Exception - solicitor-client privileged information is exempt from inspection and should be removed from bags prior to being searched.

Exempted person: is a person belonging to a category of individuals identified on the Exempted Persons List who has presented valid recognized photo identification. Such persons may include IRB personnel, counsel, Minister’s representatives, officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, interpretation service contractors, designated representatives, emergency and law enforcement personnel and other officials from the Canada Border Services Agency and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. See Annex A.

Manual inspection: is a search of a person’s outer clothing where a screener runs their hands over the clothing to detect any concealed prohibited items. See Annex B.

Prohibited item: is a weapon, device, instrument, material or substance that is used for or is readily capable of causing serious bodily injury or death. See Annex C.

Screener: is a person who is trained and authorized by the IRB to perform security screening on IRB-controlled premises.

Security post: is the defined location on IRB-controlled premises where screeners perform the duties and tasks as outlined in both the post orders and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Security screening: is an electronic, manual, or visual inspection and/or search of persons, bags, and electronic devices for the purpose of detecting the possession of prohibited items. Security screening measures on IRB-controlled premises may include the installation and use of hand-held or walk-through metal detectors.

2. Responsibilities

The Chairperson, as deputy head of the IRB, is responsible for ensuring the requirements of the Policy on Government Security are met, including establishing a security program for the coordination and management of departmental security activities and appointing a departmental security officer. The Chairperson has authorized security screening measures for persons entering IRB-controlled premises and established a list of items that are prohibited on IRB-controlled premises. 

The Departmental Security Officer (DSO) shall ensure the implementation of these procedures, has the authority to deny access to any person who refuses to comply with the security screening measures and reviews written decisions denying accommodation requests.

The Deputy Departmental Security Officer (DDSO) shall ensure that security screening procedures and plans are appropriately implemented and regularly monitored under the direction of the DSO. When required the DDSO will review written requests for accommodation that have been denied.

Regional Security Officers (RSO) shall:

  1. i. ensure post orders and SOPs are available at security posts on IRB-controlled premises;
  2. ii. authorize or deny access to IRB-controlled premises;
  3. iii. grant or deny requests for accommodation as required;
  4. iv. communicate access denials, exceptions and exemptions to security guard posts;
  5. v. advise the Registry of persons who have been denied access to a site or refused to undergo screening; and
  6. vi. direct escalated situations to and seek the approval of accommodations or exemptions from the DSO or DDSO.

Registrars shall coordinate communication between the RSO and the division to ensure all parties involved are advised if any hearing participant has been denied access. This responsibility may be delegated.

Screeners shall:

  1. i. follow SOPs as identified at security posts on IRB-controlled premises;
  2. ii. monitor metal detectors and conduct bag searches, hand-wanding and manual inspections for prohibited items before granting persons access to IRB-controlled premises;
  3. iii. deny facility access to any person refusing to undergo screening or possessing prohibited items. In this situation, the screener must inform the RSO and the Registrar to ensure that the division has been notified;
  4. iv. upon notification of a perceived or actual emergency, take necessary precautions which may include evacuation, securing the facility, immediately suspending security screening and prohibiting all access to the facility. Screening and access can recommence as soon as the emergency has been resolved and the all-clear given;
  5. v. not confiscate or hold prohibited items found on persons entering IRB-controlled premises; and
  6. vi. be trained to perform screening techniques as authorized by the IRB. Security screening training will be comprised of, but not limited to, emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), proper use/handling of metal detectors, bag searching procedures, and manual inspections.

3. Application

Security screening measures on IRB-controlled premises may include the installation and use of metal detectors.  Where implemented, all individuals including but not limited to witnesses, bondspersons, family members, and media will be subject to these screening measures.

Any person refusing to comply with an inspection or found in possession of a prohibited item will not be permitted to enter into or remain on IRB-controlled premises.

With the exception of those individuals identified on the Exempted Persons List outlined in Annex “A”, all persons entering IRB-controlled premises, where a walk-through metal detector is in use, are subject to reasonable security screening for prohibited items.

Security screening measures will include bag searches and metal detectors.

Solicitor-client privileged information is exempt from inspection and should be removed from bags prior to security screening.

Individuals may choose to have their bags searched manually or have them screened by carrying them through the metal detector.

If an individual and their possessions are able to pass through the metal detector without triggering the alarm, no further search will be conducted. 

If the metal detector alarm is triggered, a hand-held metal detector will be used to determine the source of the alarm.

Any physical search will be limited to the area of concern identified by the metal detector.

Individuals may exercise their right to refuse to participate in security screening measures and/or request an accommodation at any time. However, the authority to grant access remains with the IRB.

The IRB may also deploy enhanced security screening measures to deal with a specific situation or places exposed to an elevated risk of violence and/or aggression.

Persons wishing further clarification or requiring accommodation to take into consideration a special need, such as religious or medical needs (for example related to carrying religious or cultural items, service animals, children, pregnant women, etc.) should contact the IRB at or the regional office specified on their notice to appear, prior to their visit.

If a request for accommodation is approved, alternate security screening measures will be employed.

4. Special Screening Measures

4.1 Persons

Children – Children and infants must go through the metal detector. Children unable to walk through the metal detector may be carried through by a parent or guardian.  If the alarm sounds, alternative inspections must be performed (visual, hand-wand metal detector, and/or manual inspections). All strollers and carriers are subject to visual and manual inspection.

4.2 Special Circumstances

Service animals – Individuals with service animals must walk through the metal detector with the animal. If the alarm sounds, screeners will manually inspect the individual and the animal.

Kirpan – A kirpan with a blade less than six centimeters in length may be brought onto IRB-controlled premises. The kirpan must be identified as a kirpan by the individual possessing it and must remain sheathed while on IRB-controlled premises.

Mobility assistive devices – Using manual, visual, and hand-wand techniques, the screener shall inspect people in wheelchairs, on crutches, using a cane, or with any mobility aid. If an individual who uses a mobility device is able to pass through a metal detector without their mobility device or their device will not impede the screening, the individual will be given the choice of screening technique.

Prosthetics, casts, splints and metal implants – Such individuals are required to pass through the metal detector and when required screeners will use a hand-held metal detector, manual and/or perform a visual inspection to identify metal objects on an identified area on the individual.

4.3 Requesting other Accommodations

Individuals requesting approval to bring in a prohibited item should be referred to the RSO to determine if an accommodation to the general prohibition is appropriate, prior to being granted access to IRB-controlled premises.

If the RSO denies the request for an accommodation, the individual may request, in writing, that the DSO or DDSO review that decision.

4.4 Technical Issues

Security screening equipment will be regularly tested and recalibrated in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements. Any fault or problem with the security screening equipment identified by the screener will be promptly brought to the attention of the RSO.

In the event of equipment failure, degradation of performance, or equipment malfunction, screeners will implement alternative methods for screening (visual, hand-wand metal detector, and/or manual inspections).

5. Enquiries

For information, contact:

Departmental Security Officer
Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Canada Building (Minto Place)
344 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K1

You may also submit enquiries to

6. Approval

Signed by Mario Dion
December 14, 2017

Appendix A – Exempted Person List

The identified category of individuals listed below who present a valid and recognized photo identification will be exempted from walk-through metal detectors:

  • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) personnel;
  • counsel recognized by a Canadian regulatory body, e.g. Law Society of Upper Canada, Association québecoise des avocats et avocates en droit de l’immigration, College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants​;
  • Minister’s representatives, e.g. Hearings Officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA); Senior Immigration Officers of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); lawyers of Justice Canada;
  • officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;
  • emergency and law enforcement personnel;
  • CBSA officials;
  • CBSA security contractors;
  • IRCC officials;
  • interpretation service contractors and designated representatives in possession of a valid IRB ID card; and
  • other pre-approved escorted contractors.

Appendix B – Manual Inspection

A manual inspection will only be performed when less intrusive screening measures have been unsuccessful or when an accommodation has been requested and granted. Such searches will be conducted in a professional and respectful manner. The person being inspected or their guardian has the right to choose the gender of the screener.

A manual inspection will be performed wearing gloves and will:

  • require the presence of a second screener or independent witness in the case of a minor. A parent, guardian or designated representative may be present for the manual inspection of any minor in their care;
  • be performed over clothing; however there may be instances when the screener may need to ask the individual to move or shift clothing during the inspection; and
  • be performed in a private search room at the request of the individual subject to the inspection.

Appendix C – Specific Prohibited Items List

The following categories of items are prohibited on Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) controlled premises unless prior approval is obtained.

Firearms and Ammunition of Any Type

  1. i. Ammunition
  2. ii. BB guns
  3. iii. Compressed air guns
  4. iv. Firearms
  5. v. Flare guns
  6. vi. Gun lighters
  7. vii. Parts of guns/Firearms
  8. viii. Replicas of guns or firearms
  9. ix. Spear guns
  10. x. Stun guns/Shocking devices

Blades, Edged, or Sharp Objects and Striking Devices:

  1. i. Axes and hatchets
  2. ii. Bows and arrows
  3. iii. Brass knuckles
  4. iv. Crowbars
  5. v. Ice picks
  6. vi. Knives, sabers, swords (including ceremonial swords such as the kirpan) or bladed devices of any length greater or equal to six centimeters
  7. vii. Night sticks/Billy club
  8. viii. Razor-type blades such as box cutters, utility knives, and razor blades not in a cartridge
  9. ix. Scissors, metal with pointed tip length of six centimeters or more
  10. x. Throwing stars

All Explosives Including:

  1. i. Ammunition
  2. ii. Blasting caps
  3. iii. Dynamite
  4. iv. Fireworks
  5. v. Flares
  6. vi. Gunpowder
  7. vii. Hand grenades
  8. viii. Plastic explosives

Flammable Substances:

  1. i. Aerosol sprays
  2. ii. Fuels, including cooking fuels and flammable liquid fuel
  3. iii. Gasoline
  4. iv. Gas torches, including micro-torches and torch lighters

Disabling Chemicals and Other Dangerous Items:

  1. i. Chlorine compressed gas cylinders, including fire extinguishers
  2. ii. Mace
  3. iii. Noxious and poisonous substances
  4. iv. Pepper spray
  5. v. Spillable batteries, except those in wheelchairs
  6. vi. Spray paint
  7. vii. Tear gas

If you require further clarification or wish to seek approval to bring a prohibited item onto IRB-controlled premises, please email or contact the regional office listed on the Notice to Appear.