3.1 Request for specific information. The assigned member makes the decision to obtain specific information to resolve an issue central to the case.
3.2 Acquisition of Information Form (AIF). Where specific information is required the assigned member will prepare an Acquisition of Information Form (AIF).
Where appropriate, the assigned member will seek the assistance of the Research Directorate in:
- estimating the time required for obtaining the information;
- identifying potential sources and methods for gathering the information;
- assessing the likelihood obtaining the information;
- identifying any known cost for obtaining the information.
The assigned member will make sure that the draft AIF includes the following:
- a description of the information required;
- the specific source(s) to approach for the information;
- the purpose, and method for gathering the information;
- the time required to obtain the information, and
- the estimated cost, where known.
3.3 Factors to consider before deciding to gather information. The assigned member must consider whether:
- the information is needed to resolve an issue central to the case;
- it is likely that the information can be acquired;
- obtaining the information will not unreasonably delay the proceedings;
- there is no serious possibility that the life, liberty or security of the claimant or any other person would be endangered through the gathering of the information (i.e. "risk assessment"); and
- the method for gathering the information complies with the Privacy Act.
3.4 Consulting the claimant and obtaining consent. When the member decides to proceed with an AIF, the RPD adjudicative support team will be instructed to:
- immediately provide a copy of the AIF to the parties and invite them to comment on it. Comments on the AIF must be received by the RPD Registry, with copies sent to any other parties, in writing within 5 working days of being provided with a copy of the AIF; and
- include with the AIF the consent form identifying the sources of information for which the claimant's consent in writing is required for the release of the requested information.
- Nota Bene: the RPD is not requesting the claimant's permission to acquire the information. Consent is being sought from the claimant to be on file where the source of the information requires the claimant's written consent to release the information. This is done by completing the appropriate section on the AIF.
3.5 Final Review of AIF following Comments and Observations. Once the period for receiving comments has elapsed the assigned member will proceed with a final review of the AIF by:
- considering any comments from the parties, and revising the AIF if appropriate;
- reviewing the AIF to ensure that the factors under subsection 3.3 have been met, and note this on the form.
- instructing the RPD adjudicative support team to send by email the AIF to the Research Directorate for action and provide a copy of the AIF to the parties for their information.
3.6 Cancelling an AIF after the claimant has been consulted. If the assigned member determines that the factors under subsection 3.3 are not met, or decides for some other reason not to gather the information, this decision is noted on the AIF and the RPD adjudicative support team is instructed to provide a copy of the completed form to the parties without delay.
3.7 Proceeding with an AIF notwithstanding the objections of the claimant or without a signed consent form. An RPD member, after reviewing the claimant's objections to the acquisition of information, may alter the AIF according to the suggestions of the claimant or proceed without making any changes. The factors listed at 3.3, in particular the risk factors, must be taken into consideration when proceeding without making changes or the claimant has not signed the consent form.
If the member proceeds with an AIF without receiving the claimant's consent to release personal information, the Research Directorate can only process the AIF if the identified source has not previously informed the Research Directorate that claimant consent is required to release personal information.
For example, signed consent forms are required for verifying the immigration status of a claimant in any country. Furthermore, many government institutions, agencies and some non-governmental organizations, require consent before releasing personal information. If the signed consent form is not provided, the member will be informed that consent is required before the AIF can be processed. If no consent is received within 20 days, the AIF will be closed by the Research Directorate and the member will be informed of this action.
3.8 Agreement regarding the exchange of information with another organization. If the IRB has entered into a written agreement regarding the disclosure and exchange of information for use in determining claims with a federal or provincial department or agency, foreign government, or international governmental or non-governmental agency, the assigned member may, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, presume that:
- it is likely that the information can be obtained; and
- there is no serious possibility that the life, liberty or security of any person would be endangered through the gathering of the information.
3.9 Receipt of the AIF results. Once the specific information is received, the RPD adjudicative support team will provide a copy of it to the parties without delay, and invite them to provide any written comments on the information, either before the hearing date or by a date set by the assigned member. Each party will provide a copy of their comments to any other party.
If there are indications that the specific information received might, if released to the parties, lead to the life, liberty or security of any person being endangered, the assigned member will review the information and decide if it can be released to the parties.
3.10 Anticipated response time. Should the response to the specific information request not be received within the anticipated response time, the assigned member will reassess the value of the requested information, in consultation with the responsible member manager, if applicable. Following instructions by the assigned member, if applicable, the RPD adjudicative support team informs the parties and the Research Directorate of any decision to end the specific information request.
5.1 Where, after consulting with the responsible member manager, the assigned member forms the opinion that forensic verification is necessary, they may direct the RPD adjudicative support team to send the document to the RCMP Forensic Laboratory Services for verification.
5.2 Where the IRB has the original of a document to be verified, the RPD adjudicative support team will send it to the RCMP Forensic Laboratory Services. Where CIC or CBSA has the original of a document to be verified, the RPD adjudicative support team will request a verification of the original document in writing to CIC or CBSA as appropriate. The RPD adjudicative support team will provide a copy of the request for verification to the parties without delay. Where the claimant has the original of the document to be verified, the RPD adjudicative support team will request the claimant to provide the original to the RPD. Once received, the RPD adjudicative support team will send it to the RCMP Forensic Laboratory Services.
The RPD adjudicative support team will provide a copy of the report received from the RCMP Forensic Laboratory Services to the parties without delay, and invite them to make comments on the report, in writing, to the IRB Registry before the hearing.