Effective Date: September 2, 2015
Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), hearings by a single member of the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) are the norm. However, the Chairperson also has the authority to have a claim or an application to vacate or cease refugee protection heard by a three-member panel.Note 1
This policy is effective September 2, 2015 and revokes any and all previous versions of the policy.
2. Authority to designate a three-member panel:
a. Section 163 of the IRPA reads: "Matters before a Division shall be conducted before a single member unless, except for matters before the Immigration Division, the Chairperson is of the opinion that a panel of three members should be constituted."
b. The Chairperson's authority to designate three-member panels for matters before the RPD has been delegated to the Deputy Chairperson (DC) and to the Assistant Deputy Chairpersons (ADCs) of the RPD.
c. Under this delegation cases may only be designated to be heard by three-member panels for training purposes.
3. Criteria for designation:
a. Assignment of three-member panels will be solely for training purposes.
b. Presiding effectively over a quasi-judicial hearing requires a combination of skills that are best acquired through the actual experience of conducting hearings. Training on presiding skills in the abstract or a classroom setting is enhanced by sitting with experienced members before proceeding to hear cases as a single member. Three-member panels may also be employed to address the ongoing training needs of more experienced members when specific learning objectives have been identified by divisional management.
c. The decision to designate a three-member panel is made on a case-by-case basis.
d. The RPD decides to designate a three-member panel on its own initiative and will notify the parties in advance that a three-member panel has been convened.
4. Decision and reasons:
a. In three-member panels, a member may concur in the other member's reasons, or a member may issue separate concurring or dissenting reasons.
b. If there are dissenting reasons, the majority decision of the panel will determine the outcome of the claim or application.Note 2
c. According to subrule 68(2) of the Refugee Protection Division Rules, the decision made by a panel of three members takes effect: "(a) if given orally at a hearing, when all the members state their decision and give their reasons; and (b) if made in writing, when all the members sign and date their reasons for the decision."
For information contact:
Director, Policy and Procedures Directorate
Policy, Planning and Research Branch
Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Canada Building (Minto Place)
344 Slater Street, 12th floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K1
September 2, 2015