The purpose of this Practice notice is to communicate the Immigration Division's (ID) intention to resume in-person hearings on September 14, 2020. It also serves to meet the commitment made in the
Practice notice issued by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) on April 7, 2020 that the IRB would provide at least 30 days' notice before proceeding with a previously scheduled in-person hearing or scheduling a new in-person hearing.
The ID will continue to use teleconference as the primary means of conducting detention reviews and detained admissibility hearings in light of ongoing health-related restrictions on the transportation of detainees and limitations on access to detention facilities. The Division will review its approach to the conduct of such hearings on a regular basis and will consider adjustments when appropriate.
In resuming in-person hearings, the ID is committed to taking steps as required to protect the health and safety of all hearing participants. These include:
- implementing a health screening questionnaire, physical distancing and other safety measures at all IRB-controlled hearing sites where ID hearings are taking place; and
- showing flexibility to parties who ask to participate in their hearing by teleconference or videoconference due to health-related concerns.
The ID's preferred means of conducting non-detained admissibility hearings will be in-person or by videoconference. The use of teleconference for non-detained admissibility hearings will only be considered in circumstances where the Division is satisfied that fairness and natural justice can be assured.
In preparation for the resumption of in-person hearings, effective August 14, 2020, parties are required to comply with all regular time limits as set out in the ID Rules.
Scheduling of hearings
Parties will be contacted by the Registry with respect to the scheduling of their admissibility hearing. Any party who wishes to participate in their hearing by teleconference or videoconference due to health-related concerns should advise the Registry immediately or otherwise at the earliest opportunity prior to the hearing. The ID will try to accommodate such requests where appropriate.
Further notices regarding health and safety measures and other information concerning the resumption of hearings at the ID will be posted on the IRB website. Therefore, it is important for parties to check the IRB website regularly.
Signed July 13, 2020
Amended January 25, 2021
Deputy Chairperson, ID