Until further notice, IRB hearings will continue to be held remotely, subject to limited exceptions.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the IRB has been guided by the dual objectives of protecting the health and safety of employees and those appearing before the Board, while also ensuring meaningful access to justice.
This past January, the Board announced that it would adopt a remote-hearings-only operating model, with exceptions being made in very specific circumstances. At that time, we had committed to review this approach in July and provide an update.
Although vaccination rates continue to rise, and the overall COVID-19 situation is improving across Canada, the impact of new variants around the world and here in Canada is a reminder that we must remain cautious and continue to do our part to help curb any potential spread.
As such, for the foreseeable future and until further notice, hearings will continue to be held remotely, as a matter of general application.
The Board will continue to consider requests for in-person hearings in exceptional circumstances, while monitoring and making appropriate adjustments based on public health guidance. Such requests may be made to the appropriate Registry when the hearing is scheduled, or as soon as possible thereafter, and must include an explanation of what urgency or particular sensitivity makes a virtual hearing unsuitable.
The IRB is still not accepting documents in person for any Division during this time. Documents must be submitted to the IRB electronically using MyCase portal, email (where applicable) or through Canada Post epost Connect. Fax and regular mail/courier will continue to be accepted but should only be used when electronic options are not available.
The Board will review its approach again later this fall and provide further updates at that time. Sufficient advance notice of any changes will be provided to allow all parties time to accommodate any operational adjustments.