The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) continues to actively monitor the public health situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created challenges for parties and their counsel preparing for proceedings.
On April 7, 2020, in response to the pandemic, the IRB issued a
Practice Notice outlining a number of measures to protect the health and safety of IRB employees and hearing participants. These measures included the suspension of all in-person hearings, except for detention reviews and some admissibility hearings involving detained persons. On June 15, 2020, mail and partial registry services resumed in the IRB’s Vancouver Regional Office. Mail services are resuming in Montreal and Toronto on June 22, 2020. Partial registry service will resume in these offices on June 29, 2020.
In light of the re-opening of our offices, the IRB is issuing a Resumption Notice for the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). The two Divisions are resuming in-person hearings in Vancouver the week of July 20, 2020, and at all other IRB locations the week of August 3, 2020.
In preparation for this resumption, the RPD and the IAD will soon be reaching out to refugee claimants and immigration appellants or their counsel to re-schedule their hearings.
Please note that full ‘in-person’ reception services for the RPD and IAD will reopen only with the resumption of in-person hearings. In addition, the measures related to COVID-19 for the Immigration Division (ID) and the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) remain in effect. This means that hearings at the RAD remain postponed while the ID will continue to conduct detention reviews and some admissibility hearings remotely. Separate resumption notices will be issued for the RAD and ID at a later date.
As the IRB moves to resume operations we want to ensure that everyone’s health and safety is protected. Therefore, individuals visiting IRB offices during this period will be required to follow certain protocols that will affect how they access and move around the building, as well as how they use elevators and common areas. More information on these new protocols can be found on our website.
Please note that all of the Divisions will be issuing separate practice notices linked to business resumption, specifically on measures related to divisional rules and procedures, during this period. All practice notices related to COVID-19 and business resumption can be found here.
Signed June 19, 2020