National Documentation Packages

Meurrens LawHumanitarian and Compassionate, Refugees

The Immigration and Refugee’s Board (“IRB“) National Documentation Package (“NDP“) is the starting point for compiling information for a refugee case.  The NDP contains information on almost every country on earth.  Each package contains a selection of documents on human rights, security conditions, and other issues that are relevant to the determination of refugee protection claims.  They are regularly reviewed and updated.

Each NDP is broken down into the following sections:

  1. General Information and Maps
  2. Human Rights
  3. Identification Documents and Citizenship
  4. Political Activists and Organizations
  5. Gender, Domestic Violence, and Children
  6. Sexual Orientation
  7. Criminality and Corruption
  8. Military Service Issues
  9. Judiciary, Legal, and Penal Systems
  10. Police and Security Forces
  11. Media Freedoms
  12. Religion
  13. Nationality, Ethnicity, and Race
  14. Exit/Entry and Freedom of Movement
  15. Labour, Employment, and Unions
  16. Other

It is important that anyone with a case before the Refugee Protection Division familiarize themselves with the NDP for their country of origin.

Related Jurisprudence

Refugee Protection Division members do not have a duty to make themselves aware of information before it becomes vetted and becomes part of a country’s National Documentation Package.  An exception is if an applicant directs the Member’s attention to the information in question prior to a decision being made.  (Ramos v. Canada, 2011 FC 15).

In Mikhail v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2022 FC 1030, the Federal Court set aside a decision in which an officer appeared to prefer information on a travel blog over information contained in the NDP.

In the humanitarian & compassionate context, the Federal Court has ruled that officers are not under an obligation to consider the NDP if applicants do not draw their attention to it. In Ighodalo v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2022 FC 1079 in the following passage with which I agree and adopt:

The Applicant argues that the Officer’s failure to consider material evidence is a reviewable error. Specifically, the Applicant argues that the Officer ignored the National Documentation Package [NDP] for Nigeria, which showed massive unemployment, a rise in violent crimes, and a specific targeting of young people similarly situated as the Applicant.

While the Applicant cites several cases from the 1980s, this principle is better represented in Vavilov at para 126 and Cepeda-Gutierrez v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 1998 CanLII 8667 (FC).

I find the Officer committed no such error given that the Applicant did not include the NDP, nor make any submission based on the NDP in his H&C submissions.

The Respondent submits the NDP is extrinsic evidence in the context of an H&C application and is not automatically part of the record in an H&C unless the applicant submits it: Desta v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 1028 at para 26. I agree that, in the context of this case, the Applicant – who was represented by counsel in his H&C application – cannot fault the Officer for not addressing evidence and submissions that he has not submitted.

At the hearing, counsel for the Applicant quoted two additional cases in support of his position: Begum v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FC 824 [Begum] and Ocampo v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 1290 at paras 12-13 [Ocampo]. Neither of these cases assist the Applicant. Begum confirms that, while publicly available, NDP materials are extrinsic evidence and Officers who rely on these materials have a duty to give the applicant an opportunity to respond: Begum, para 41. In Ocampo the Court confirms at paragraph 16 that there is no legal obligation on the part of an officer to consult the NDP.