Report on the Evaluation of Canada’s Membership in the International Organization for Migration

2. Program Profile

2.1 Overview of the IOM
2.2 Areas of Activity
2.3 Governance and Management Structure
2.4 Administration and Organization
2.5 Finance and Budget
2.6 Canada’s Membership in the IOM
2.7 Resources
2.8 IOM Membership: Objectives and Logic Model

2.1 Overview of the IOM

2.2.1 History and Mandate

The IOM, formerly the Intergovernmental Committee for Migration (ICM), was established in 1951 as an intergovernmental organization to assist in the resettlement of European displaced persons, refugees and migrants, primarily to North America, Latin America and Oceania. Its official headquarters is based in Geneva, Switzerland and most of its corporate administrative and support functions (IT, Security, Human Resources etc) are located in Manila. Although the IOM is not an agency of the United Nations, it has close, cooperative relationships with a number of UN agencies; it participates in the UN security coordination program; and it has adopted UN salary scales for its employees.

The IOM mandate derives from its founding Constitution, ratified by the member countries. The Constitution has been amended over the years and some of these amendments have provided the basis for expansion of the original mandate. At the most general level, the purposes and functions of the IOM, as defined in the Constitution are:

  1. to arrange for the organized transfer of migrants requiring assistance;
  2. to concern itself with the organized transfer of refugees, displaced persons and other individuals in need of assistance and for whom arrangements may be made between the IOM and the States concerned;
  3. to provide migration-related services (recruitment, selection, medical examination, processing, transportation, language training, orientation etc) at the request of States; and
  4. to provide similar services, as requested by States or in cooperation with international organizations, for voluntary return migration.

The IOM Mission Statement states that, “the IOM acts with its partners in the international community to:

  • assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management;
  • advance understanding of migration issues;
  • encourage social and economic development through migration; and
  • uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.

As these statements indicate, the IOM is primarily a service organization that responds to requests for specific services.

2.2 Areas of Activity

For many years, the primary focus of the IOM was on facilitating the movement of people and on directly related services, such as medical assessments of migrants and document processing. Gradually, over the years, the scope of its activities has increased to include a wide range of migration management activities, in seven main service areas.

1. Movements
This is the main original service for which the IOM was established. Since 1951, the IOM has assisted 11 million migrants to move from one part of the world to another. Under this service area, the IOM provides traditional resettlement services and transportation services in support of a variety of IOM migration programs and activities, including:

  • scholarship programs;
  • technical cooperation and transfer programs;
  • return of talent to countries affected by the “brain drain”’ and
  • medical evacuation of war victims.

2. Assisted Returns
The IOM has become involved in recent years in the problem of irregular migration — individuals who have migrated from one country to another with no legal recognition of their right to do so. The IOM works with both governments — to establish voluntary return programs; and with migrants — to assist them to return home on a voluntary basis. The organization provides services in each of the three main stages of returns:

  • pre-departure;
  • transportation; and
  • post-arrival.

3. Migration Health
Migration Health has been a traditional service area of the IOM since its inception. In recent years, however, the definition of migration health and, consequently, the range of migration health services, have expanded considerably. Key services in this area now include:

  • migration and travel health assessment and advice;
  • HIV/AIDs and population mobility;
  • migration health assistance and advice;
  • post-emergency migration health assistance;
  • occupational health for IOM staff; and
  • health policy and legislation.

4. Counter-Trafficking
Migrant trafficking and smuggling has become a global issue. An estimated 700,000 women and children are trafficked across borders each year. IOM provides assistance and protection to victims and guidance to IOM field missions and member states for the prevention of trafficking in human beings. Its services in this area include:

  • protection;
  • counseling;
  • return/reintegration;
  • information dissemination programs;
  • capacity building;
  • research, seminars and policy.

5. Mass Information
Migrants require accurate, comprehensive information about the practical, legal, social and economic consequences of migrating to another country. The IOM has implemented programs to assist migrants in making informed decisions. These include TV documentaries; TV debates/round tables, TV public service announcements, radio broadcasts, radio or TV soap operas, printed materials and other initiatives. These information campaigns focus on:

  • curtailing irregular migration;
  • protection of migrants’ rights,
  • human trafficking;
  • humanitarian crises; and
  • other issues related to migration.

6. Technical Cooperation
Through its Technical Cooperation on Migration (TCM) initiatives, the IOM offers governments and other agencies the technical, intellectual and strategic tools to enhance migration management. IOM’s TCM activities concentrate on four main areas:

  • enhancing the management capacities of governments in migration policy, legislation and administration;
  • post-emergency migration management;
  • exchange of experts; and
  • return and reintegration of skilled expatriates.

7. Labour Migration
The need for skilled workers on the part of some countries and the desire to escape unemployment and poverty in many less developed countries has been a driving factor in both regular and irregular migration on recent years. The IOM, through its services in the area of labour migration, aims at promoting regular migration while combating irregular migration. Common components of initiatives in this area are:

  • capacity building and institutional development;
  • pre-departure training (cultural and language);
  • vocational training;
  • return and reintegration;
  • administering selective migration programs;
  • linking labour diasporas into local development; and
  • regional and extra-regional dialogue and planning.

2.3 Governance and Management Structure

The IOM, as an intergovernmental organization, operates under the guidance of its member states. New members must be approved by the existing membership. In 1990, there were 33 members and another 18 states that had observer status. The membership has grown dramatically in the last fifteen years. There are now 109 members and 27 states with observer status. The requirements for membership are fairly flexible; aspiring member states need only have an interest in the principle of the free movement of persons and agree to pay their assessed share of the annual administrative costs of the organization. The annual membership fee is allocated based on the annual UN assessment scales for their membership.

Members provide governance to the IOM through two formal governance structures:

1. IOM Council
The Council includes representatives of all member states of the organization. Its main responsibilities, according to the IOM Constitution, are to:

  1. provide policy direction for the IOM;
  2. review reports of, and oversee the activities of the Director General;
  3. review and approve the programme and budget of the IOM; and
  4. take any other appropriate action to further the purposes of the organization.

The Council meets two times each year, once in December and once in June. The main purpose of the December meeting is to approve, and provide direction to the IOM regarding, the annual programme and budget. In recent years, the December meeting of the Council has also been organized along topical themes in migration, providing members with an opportunity to hear experts and to discuss these issues. The purpose of the June meeting of the Council is primarily to approve any changes to the programme and budget and to provide direction on other policy issues.

The Council Chairperson and other Officers are elected each year by the members for a one year term.

2. Sub-Committee of Budget and Finance
The Sub-Committee on Budget and Finance (SCBF) is a Sub-Committee of the Council. Although it is not mentioned in the Constitution, this document authorizes the Council to establish such sub-committees as it deems appropriate to carry out its mandate. The SCBF includes representatives of all of the member states, making it, effectively, a sub-committee of the whole. The primary role of the SCBF is to review, and make recommendations to the Council regarding the annual programme and budget of the IOM.

The SCBF meets twice each year, in late October/early November and in May. The fall meeting provides an opportunity for member states to review and comment on the annual programme and budget for the coming year, and to make recommendations regarding the programme and budget to the Council. At the spring meeting, the Sub-Committee reviews and makes recommendations to the Council regarding the updated programme and budget.

The Constitution of the IOM also provides for a third governance body, the Executive Committee (EX). The Executive Committee was established as an advisory body to the Council and to IOM management. The Executive Committee’s mandate is to review the policies, programmes and activities of the IOM; to examine financial or budgetary questions; and to consider matters referred to it by the Council or the IOM Director General. Initially, membership was limited to about 20 states; however, over the years, the membership increased to the point where the Executive Committee became dysfunctional and fell into disuse. A decision was taken recently to eliminate the Executive Council through a Constitutional Amendment and this body is essentially non-operational. However, as the amendment authorizing its dissolution has not yet been ratified by the required number of member states, officially the Executive Committee still exists.

As well, the IOM provides members the opportunity to participate in more informal governance and oversight mechanisms, such as consultation workshops and meetings; pre-budget information sessions; the provision of feedback on discussion papers addressing policy, program, organizational, budget and other issues.

2.4 Administration and Organization

The IOM is administered by a Director General (DG) and by a Deputy Director General (DDG). Both positions are elected by the membership for terms of five years. The Director General is accountable to the Council and is responsible for the administrative and executive functions of the organization. The Deputy Director General assists in the carrying out of these functions and represents the Director General at meetings of the Council, the SCBF and at other venues when the latter cannot attend.

The Director General and Deputy Director General oversee an organization that employs some 4,100 regular and contract employees; and that operates over two hundred (200) offices in one hundred and eleven (111) countries. In addition to the executive offices (DG and DDG) and corporate functions (Legal, IT, Occupational Health, Inspector General, Ombudsman, and Gender Coordination), the main components of the IOM are:

Migration Management Services is responsible for assisted voluntary returns, counter-trafficking, labour migration, migration health and technical cooperation on migration.

Migration Policy and Research has responsibility for media and public information, international dialogue on migration, research and publications, mass information and website, intranet and digital assets management.

External Relations is responsible for donor relations, regional and diplomatic advisors, the Permanent Observer to the UN and translations.

Resources Management manages human resources, staff development and learning, common services, accounting, budget and treasury.

Operations Support is responsible for emergency and post-conflict operational coordination, movement management (i.e. air transportation etc) and facilitated migration services.

Special Programs includes programs that, due to their special nature, draw upon expertise from different parts of the IOM organization. The single biggest special program is the German Forced Labour Compensation Program, which comprises approximately one-half of the annual IOM Operational Budget.

The IOM has transferred a number of administrative functions to Manila in the least few years, mainly as a cost-saving measure. Functions currently operating out of Manila include:

  • Field Procurement Unit
  • Health Insurance Medical Supervision Unit
  • IT Field Support and some other IT functions
  • Accounting Services
  • Airline Invoice Settlement
  • Staff Security Unit
  • Project Tracking Unit
  • Treasury Services

In addition, some human resources and occupational health functions now operate out of Manila.

2.5 Finance and Budget

The IOM is financed almost entirely through contributions from member states and from fees charged to member states and other project sponsors for projects carried out on their behalf. There are two components to the IOM budget, the Administrative Budget and the Operational Budget. Table 2.1 shows the portion of IOM’s overall budget accruing from these two sources.

Table 2.1
IOM Budget Summary — 2004 & 2005

  2004 2005
Administrative Budget
(Swiss Francs)
37.1 Million (CHF) 37.1 Million (CHF)
Operational Budget
$553.2 Million (USD) $639.3 Million (USD)

1. Administrative Budget
The Administrative Budget consists entirely of annual assessed contributions from member states. Each state’s assessed contribution is based on the scale of assessments used by the UN to calculate UN membership fees for member states.

Under the constitution, the Administrative portion of the budget is intended to cover all costs not directly incurred in the provision of services. At the present time this budget covers the staff, capital and operating costs for “core” functions at IOM HQ in Geneva and at the Manila Administrative Centre; as well as the costs of Heads of Mission and other Administrative staff at Regional Field Offices and Special Liaison offices.

The Administrative Budget has been essentially frozen for the last few years, based on a policy adopted by the member states of, “Zero Nominal Growth”.

2. Operational Budget
The Operational Budget includes two components:

Earmarked Contributions
This is income generated from project fees charged to sponsoring governments and other organizations. These fees cover the direct costs of providing services to IOM clients for some 1,200 projects annually.

At present, close to one-half of the operational budget — $306.2 Million — is expended on the Forced Labour Compensation Program, which the IOM administers on behalf of Germany.

Discretionary Income (DI)
This income includes miscellaneous income, mainly un-earmarked contributions and interest income, and project overhead fees, which are added on to project fees to cover indirect project costs and project-related operational support costs. Currently project overhead fees amount to 12% of project budgets, 2.5% of which is comprised of the UN security coordination fee.

The discretionary component of the Operational Budget is applied to cover the indirect costs associated with projects, including staff and office costs in the field and at Geneva and Manila; UN security fees; and global operations support. Discretionary income is also used to provide project seed money in Missions with Regional Functions and to fund the “1035 Projects” facility, which supports special projects in developing countries [note 2].

At the present time, it is estimated that approximately one-third of the staff positions at IOM HQ are funded from discretionary income.

2.6 Canada’s Membership in the IOM

Canada, along with the US and a number of European countries, was a founding member of the IOM in 1951. However, in 1962 Canada withdrew from membership. The main reason for this was that it was felt that the ICM, as it was then called, had been established as a temporary organization and that its main purpose — to bring under control the refugee problem that had emerged following World War II — had been achieved.

In the years following Canada’s decision to withdraw from IOM membership, refugee movements and the number of refugees needing assistance continued to increase. Furthermore, despite withdrawing from membership in the organization, Canada continued to cooperate closely with the organization and to contract with the organization for assistance in migration movements to Canada. Between 1952 and the end of 1989, IOM assisted in the movement of over 460,000 persons to Canada. Beginning in 1972, Canada re-established its relationship with the IOM by taking on observer status with the organization.

The 1970’s and 1980’s were a period of significant expansion in Canada’s immigration activities and our involvement with the IOM on operational issues in support of migration to Canada became very comprehensive. By 1990, Canada was the second largest user of IOM services, in dollar value, behind the US. Canada could not draw back from its arrangements with the IOM without doing serious harm to its immigration program. In recognition of this and of the advantages of membership in the IOM, Canada renewed its membership in the IOM in 1991.

Since then a number of other states have surpassed Canada in terms of the size of their annual contribution to the IOM Administrative Budget. Table 2.2 shows the assessed contributions for 2005 for the ten (10) largest donors.

Table 2.2
Assessed Contribution to IOM Administrative Budget
10 Largest Contributors

State Contribution (CHFs-Million)
United States of America 9.7 M
Japan 7.2 M
Germany 3.6 M
United Kingdom 2.5 M
France 2.5 M
Italy 2.0 M
Canada 1.2 M
Mexico .79 M
Netherlands .70 M
South Korea .67 M

As a member of the IOM, Canada participates in the governance of the organization through participation on the IOM Council and the SCBF.

Canada’s membership in the IOM is the responsibility of CIC, although the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is consulted on policy issues. Canada’s Immigration Counselor in Geneva represents Canada on the SCBF. In this capacity, he reviews the annual program and budget and related documents; advises CIC HQ on the programme and budget and on related issues of interest and/or concern; receives direction from CIC HQ; attends the meetings of the Sub-Committee and Council; reports on the proceedings of these bodies; and conveys Canada’s official position on issues to the IOM.

In addition to the formal governance structures, Canada, along with other member nations participates in more informal governance and oversight structures and activities. These include:

  1. participation in consultation workshops and meetings on policy or program initiatives;
  2. programme and budget consultation sessions prior to the formal SCBF meetings;
  3. participation on special sub-committees or working groups of members states examining specific IOM policy, budget, organizational or program proposals;
  4. informal bilateral meetings/consultations with the IOM on matters of interest to Canada; and
  5. on-going participation in the “Friends of the IOM” [note 3] , an informal association of western states and Japan that meets to discuss and to attempt to establish a common position on policy, program, organizational and budget issues.

2.7 Resources

CIC’s International Policy Coordination Division (BSK) [note 4] manages Canada’s membership in the IOM. Officials of this division liaise extensively with Canada’s Mission in Geneva, where the Immigration Counselor represents Canada at the IOM and at other international organizations. Table 2.3, below summarizes the estimated human and financial resources allocated to the IOM membership at CIC HQ and in Geneva.

At both CIC HQ and Geneva, the IOM is only one of a number of responsibilities and officials do not track the amount of time they spend on the IOM. Consequently, the FTE costs cited below are rough estimates provided by CIC officials in Ottawa and Geneva, respectively. As well, some of the staff time allocated to the IOM is not spent on the membership per se but, rather, on issues related to the services provided to Canada by the IOM, such as the processing and movement of refugees.

Table 2.3
CIC Resources Allocated to the IOM Membership

  FTEs Financial Resources
No. O&M Contribution
CIC HQ       
Dir., BSK 5%    
Sen. Policy Advisor 70%    
Policy Advisor 5%    
Sub-total: CIC HQ .8 FTEs $3,000.00 $1,200,000.00 ($ CAN)
Canadian Mission: Geneva    
Immigration Counselor 30%*    
Locally Engaged Staff 10-15%*    
Sub-total: Geneva .45 FTEs $1600.00  
Total 1.25 FTEs $4,600.00 $1,200,000.00 ($ CAN)

* In calculating the FTE costs, the mid-points of the estimated ranges were used.

The FTE costs include a provision for benefits but for neither office and equipment costs nor, in the case of staff in Geneva, the transportation, housing and related costs associated with maintaining staff overseas. The main reasons for not including these costs is that, even if Canada withdrew from its IOM membership, staff at the Canadian Mission would not be significantly affected but would simply allocate more time to other immigration files.

2.8 IOM Membership: Objectives and Logic Model

In this section, we provide a logic model of Canada’s membership in the IOM. A logic model describes the relationship among program activities, outputs and outcomes. A graphical version of this logic model is contained in Appendix A to this report.

In 1990, when Canada renewed its membership in the IOM, the primary objectives of membership were:

  1. to assist the IOM in the provision of services to Canada, in particular, the processing and transport of refugees and other migrants to Canada;
  2. to take advantage of the IOM as a forum for the discussion of international migration issues; and
  3. to obtain significant cost savings in the fees charged by the IOM for migration-related services provided to Canada.

While these objectives are still germane to Canada’s membership, both the IOM and the face of international migration have changed significantly in the last fifteen years, raising the issue of whether these objectives need to be updated. We discuss this issue in relation to evaluation question 3.1 in Chapter Four of this report.

Activities and Outputs

The key activities carried out in support of the membership and the outputs of those activities are the following.

1. Participate in IOM Governance Bodies and Activities

Canada, as a full member of the IOM, participates in the meetings of both the SCBF and the IOM Council. The SCBF meetings are where programme budget and related issues are discussed and Canada’s concerns and position are put forth in the form of motions for consideration; position or discussion papers or through oral presentations and interventions on issues. Decisions are typically made through “consensus” and items are discussed or debated at length only if there are strong disagreements among states or between states and IOM management. The final outcomes of the SCBF with respect to the Programme and Budget (P&B) often reflect an informal compromise worked out by a small number of influential member states.

Canada also participates in other consultation processes involving the IOM member states. These can include informal consultations organized by the IOM on organizational issues, strategic directions or specific migration issues; informal meetings of the “Friends of the IOM” (an informal group of developed nations, mostly large contributors to the IOM, that meets regularly to exchange information and to discuss IOM-related issues); and working groups formed by member states to examine specific issues (e.g. the member states’ working group on the “1035 Projects”, a special program of the IOM under which Discretionary Income is used to fund projects in developing countries).

Canada normally is represented at a senior level (Associate Deputy Minister or Deputy Minister) at the main Council meeting in December and by the Immigration Counselor at the meeting on the adjusted Programme and Budget in June. Canada’s Immigration Counselor in Geneva also normally represents Canada at meetings of the SCBF accompanied, at the fall meeting, by a representative of BSK.

At the Council sessions, for the most part there is less debate on the P&B as agreement on these is normally achieved at the Sub-Committee meetings. Nevertheless, there can be considerable discussion and/or debate if member states don’t agree with the decisions. In recent years, a significant portion of the meeting has been allocated to presentations by experts and discussion on topical issues in migration.


The main outputs of the Council are:

  • Records of Proceedings
  • Approval of:
    • The Programme and Budget (December Meeting); and
    • The Adjusted Programme and Budget (June Meeting)

The main outputs of the Sub-Committee of the Budget and Finance are:

  • Records of Proceedings
  • Recommendations to the Council regarding:
    • The Programme and Budget (November Meeting); and
    • The Adjusted Programme and Budget (May Meeting)

The main outputs of consultation processes are IOM consultation documents; formal or informal feedback provided by member states to the IOM on consultation documents; and discussion papers or proposals developed by working groups.

2. Establish Canadian Position and Strategy

Canada, like other member nations of the IOM, wishes to ensure that the IOM reflects its interests with respect to:

  1. the nature and scope of activities and services provided;
  2. the basis for charging for services, including charges for overhead costs;
  3. the administrative portion of the budget;
  4. the organization, at least as this impacts on benefits to and costs for members; and
  5. strategic directions of the IOM.

However, Canada is only one of one hundred and nine (109) members of the IOM albeit an influential one in virtue of the size of its contribution and the value of the services for which it contracts the IOM. Consequently, Canada must take a strategic approach to influencing decisions and actions at the IOM. The four key elements of this strategy are:

  1. close liaison between Canada’s IOM representative in Geneva and officials of the IOM, to obtain information on planned directions and their rationale and to ensure that officials are aware, well before decisions are taken formally, of Canada’s views;
  2. liaison with officials of other member countries to exchange information and viewpoints; to persuade them to adopt Canada’s position on issues; to assess the level of support for Canada position; and to establish joint strategies for influencing decisions;
  3. liaison with CIC HQ to keep them advised of the status of issues of interest to Canada; to brief them on the implications of issues; to establish a formal Canadian position; and to develop and implement strategies to deal with issues;
  4. liaison with other federal government departments, in particular, FAC, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Department of Justice to brief them on issues; to obtain their input and to ensure that a common Canadian position is reflected in all departments dealing with the IOM.

Key outputs of these activities are:

  • Briefing notes for senior management at CIC and other departments;
  • Canadian position papers and discussion papers;
  • Canadian motions for consideration at IOM meetings; and
  • Informal agreements/common strategies with other member states.
3. Participate in IOM-Sponsored Initiatives on Migration Issues

Increasingly in the last ten years, the IOM has sought to become a focal point for discussion and dialogue on international migration issues. More recently it has established the Migration Research and Policy (MRP) initiative and the International Migration Law (IML)) initiative (the latter, despite the reservations of Canada and other members) with a view to providing member states with research and analysis on topics of interest and to assist member states in establishing legal frameworks for migration. It has also been active in supporting international meetings and discussions on migrations, including assisting in the planning and conduct of regional conferences and organizing presentations and discussions on global topics at Council meetings.

Membership in the Council offers Canada the opportunity to take advantage of this expansion in IOM activities and services. Chief among these are:

  1. participating in global and/or regional meetings (such as the meetings of the Puebla Group) on migration issues organized or supported by the IOM;
  2. funding the IOM to conduct research or to carry out special projects on topics of interest to Canada; and
  3. obtaining access to information and knowledge resulting from research or special projects carried out by the IOM on behalf of other member states.

Key outputs of these activities are:

  • records of proceedings of conferences, meetings and workshops;
  • reports on research or special projects;
  • internal briefing notes or position papers based, in part, on information or knowledge gained from access to IOM research or special project reports or other information.
4. Negotiate/Implement Agreements for IOM Migration Services

Canada renewed its membership in the IOM in 1990, primarily because it was felt that, as the second largest user of IOM services at the time, there were potential benefits to Canada in terms of ensuring the continuity of IOM services and in terms of cost-savings for those services.

Canada continues to rely heavily on the IOM for medical, processing and transportation services for refugees and other migrants in need of such assistance and for orientation training for immigrants to Canada. Although these services are available to non-members and members no longer can obtain these services at a lower cost than non-members, IOM officials indicated that membership in the IOM helps to ensure that the IOM continues to provide high quality services in a way that is cost-effective for Canada, as discussed in the section on findings.

Strictly speaking, the activities in this area are not carried out as part of Canada’s IOM membership but as part of the programs (primarily CIC’s Refugee Program and the Settlement Program) that they support. We include them here because they are of fundamental importance to Canada with respect to its IOM membership. The major activities involved in this aspect of Canada’s membership are:

  1. negotiation of the terms and conditions of agreements for services;
  2. ongoing liaison and discussion with the IOM regarding the nature, scope and location of services and to discuss issues that arise in the course of service delivery.

Key outputs of these activities are:

  • contribution agreements and/or memoranda of understanding for the provision of migration services; and
  • correspondence on specific issues.

Membership in the IOM has a number of potential beneficial outcomes for Canada in the short, intermediate and long-term.

Short-Term Outcomes

The short-term outcomes of membership are:

  • Canada and other member states provide effective oversight over the IOM programme, budget, membership, strategic directions and other issues.
  • Canada influences the decisions of IOM governing bodies with respect to the IOM’s programme, budget, membership, strategic directions and other issues in ways that reflect Canada’s views and interests.

As one of one hundred and nine members Canada cannot expect that decisions made on issues such as these are always going to be in accord with Canada’s views or interests. The best it can hope for is that, by considering planned decisions and by communicating its views to IOM management and to representatives of other member states, it can influence the outcomes of deliberations on the issues.

Overall, Canada and other member states should ensure that the IOM, in terms of the nature and scope of its activities; its budgeting practices; and in terms of its organization and management, operates to carry out the collective interests of the membership.

Other short-term outcomes of membership are:

  • Canada influences the directions and outcomes of IOM research on migration issues.
  • Canada benefits from the knowledge and information gained from research, special projects and from workshops or conferences designed to provide information on migration issues.
  • Canada influences, and benefits from the outcomes of global and regional conference/meetings on migration issues.

Through its governance role and as a funder of research, Canada can influence the type of research carried out to ensure that the research focuses on topics that are important to Canada and to other member states. As a member of the IOM, Canada can also access the knowledge or information provided by research projects and through IOM-sponsored conferences or workshops. This knowledge could contribute to the resolution of immigration issues of concern to Canada or to the development of immigration strategies, policies, legislation or processes by member states.

  • Canada has access to high quality, cost-effective migration management services provided by the IOM.
  • Canada avoids having to provide these services itself.

As noted above, while membership in the IOM is not necessary in order to access these services, membership contributes to the working relationship with IOM regarding these services, according to IOM officials with whom we talked. As well, as a member, Canada would have more influence on IOM decisions regarding its continued involvement in the provision of these services, although this is not an issue at the present time.

Intermediate Outcomes

There are several potential intermediate outcomes of Canada’s membership in the IOM, including:

  • IOM roles and activities are consistent with its mandate as approved be the membership.
  • IOM roles and activities reflect the interests of Canada and other member states.
  • Knowledge of migration issues and migration-related technologies is increased to the benefit of Canada and other members.
  • Migration issues requiring international resolution are resolved.
  • Canada achieves cost-savings in the area of migration management.
  • Migrants realize savings in the costs of moving to Canada.
Long-Term Outcomes

In the long-term, Canada’s membership in the IOM contributes to the following CIC strategic outcome:

  • Reflection of Canadian values and interests in the management of international migration, including refugee protection.

The IOM services Canada is able to access as a member of the IOM, and the other advantages of membership contribute to Canada’s ability to select and resettle refugees in Canada and to contribute to the increasingly global and increasingly complex phenomenon of international migration.

These services and advantages include overseas processing of medical examinations; facilitation of travel arrangements; and orientation training, by way of the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) program.


[2] Under the “1035 Projects” initiative member states that are developing nations can apply to have the IOM carry out migration-related projects in their country. The funding for these projects is derived from the IOM’s Discretionary Income.

[3] The “Friends of the IOM” is an informal association of some of the largest contributors to the IOM, including Canada, the US, several European nations and Japan. Representatives of these member states meet regularly to exchange information; to discuss issues; and to attempt to establish a common position on policy, program and budget issues. The “Friends” is an informal association that does not self-identify at IOM meetings.

[4] BSK is the acronym for this division within CIC.

Date Modified: