The Interpretation of Section 15 of the Immigration Appeal Board Act


  • William Janzen
  • Ian A. Hunter



Delegation of discretionary authority to subordinate agencies and tribunals is an increasingly necessary and frequent element of the administrative process. One example of delegated discretion is the power given to the Immigration Appeal Board under Section 15 of the Immigration Appeal Board Act; the Board may stay or quash deportation orders on grounds stipulated in the section. The authors critically examine the Board's interpretation of the enumerated grounds in order to establish the nature of the Board's policy in applying the section. Their analysis of recent Board decisions with respect to Section 15 reveals that under Sections 15(l)(a) and 15(l)(b)(ii) the Board has "evolved impressive guidelines", but that their decisions under Section 15(l)(b)(i) are open to some criticism. The authors suggest that the Board's interpretation of Section 15(l)(b)(i) may actually have "thwarted the inten tion of Parliament." In this connection, they question the Board's preoccupa tion with its own image as court. However, they conclude that, on the whole, the Board has exercised its discretion in line with the intention of Parliament that humanitarian and compassionate consideration be applied to specific cases, and has evolved guidelines which enable it to carry out this intention.