As the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, promotes international cooperation on migration issues, assists in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and provides humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, be they refugees, displaced persons or other uprooted people. As well, IOM is involved in other cross-cutting activities including the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrants’ rights, migration health and the gender dimension of migration.
The relationship between Canada and IOM goes back to 1951 when Canada, along with the United States and a number of European countries, became a founding member of IOM. Canada is known as a country with a broad immigration policy which is reflected in Canada's ethnic diversity. Migration to Canada is rooted in a particular set of policies and institutions where legal systems, public policy, and political structures encourage engagement and membership.
The cooperation between IOM and the Canadian Government continues with the two working closely for assistance in migration movements to Canada. Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) relies on IOM to provide transportation, health services and orientation services related to migration. Other government departments, specifically Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Foreign Affairs & International Trade (DFAIT) and Human Resources & Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), also partner directly with IOM to conduct specific projects in a variety of countries. More recently, provinces and private industry have begun to engage IOM to deliver services related to provincial nominees and temporary workers. In June 2012, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and IOM jointly launched the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) pilot programme from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).