This Practice Notice introduces new procedures to address the problem of voluminous disclosure of country conditions evidence filed at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD or Division) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). As described below, parties must make a formal application to submit country conditions evidence that exceeds 100 pages. In addition, such disclosure must meet the form requirements set out in the
Refugee Protection Division RulesFootnote 1 (RPD Rules) or it will not be accepted for filing.
This Notice supersedes any other Practice Notice issued by the RPD to the extent they may differ.
a) Legal framework
The RPD has the obligation to proceed quickly and informally,Footnote 2 and must provide parties a
reasonable opportunity to present evidence.Footnote 3 The RPD Rules require that documents a party wishes to use at a hearing be paginated and accompanied by a listFootnote 4 and must be relevant.Footnote 5 Some of these rules are reiterated in Chairperson’s Guideline 7.Footnote 6
Despite a previous Practice Notice,Footnote 7 there continues to be widespread disregard for these rules. This is having a serious impact on the RPD’s ability to effectively manage its caseload.
b) Evidence at the Refugee Protection Division
Evidence presented before the RPD generally falls into two broad categories: documents personal to the parties (e.g. identity documents, police reports, etc.) and evidence regarding country conditions (e.g. human rights reports, research on the situation in the country, etc.). This Practice Notice applies only to country conditions evidence.
The RPD is a specialized tribunal whose members have considerable expertise relating to country conditions. In addition, the IRB has a research department staffed with highly qualified researchers who are responsible for producing National Documentary Packages (NDPs). NDPs contain all major international human rights reports. The Division discloses the relevant NDP(s) into evidence in every refugee claim. In most claims, the NDP provides sufficient country conditions evidence.
In spite of this, parties often file voluminous additional country conditions evidence, sometimes up to thousands of pages. Much of this evidence is repetitive or irrelevant to the refugee claim being heard.
Because of this, and since the RPD Rules do not address the issue of the amount of documentary evidence a party may provide, the RPD is implementing the following new procedures.
As described more fully below, the new procedures are as follows:
- Disclosure of country conditions evidence over a specified page limit must be accompanied by an application made in accordance with RPD Rule 50;
- The application should address the factors set out in RPD Rule 35;
- Country conditions evidence must be accompanied by a list and be paginated;
- Disclosure not in compliance with the above requirements will not be accepted for filing; and
- Priority country conditions documents within the page limit should be filed separately.
b) Page Limit and Form
The new page limit for submitting country conditions evidence at the RPD is 100 pages. Each side of a page is counted as one page (i.e. where both sides of a page are used, it is two pages).
Where a claim or application involves multiple countries of reference (such as where the claimants have multiple countries of nationality or there is a potential Article 1E country), the page limit increases by 100 pages for each additional country of reference.
In addition, documents filed must meet the requirements of RPD Rule 31, including being paginated and, where more than one document is being filed, accompanied by a list identifying each document.
c) Priority documents
As noted below, if an application to accept country conditions documents in excess of the page limit is rejected, the documents are discarded. Therefore, each party should determine the highest priority country conditions documents they wish to submit up to the maximum page limit and file those without an application. The application will then address only the additional documents exceeding the page limit. This will ensure that the priority country conditions documents are filed in a timely manner in the event the application for documents in excess of the page limit is denied.
d) Application to file documents in excess of the page limit
A party who wishes to file country conditions evidence in excess of the page limit must now seek permission by making an application in conformity with RPD Rule 50. However, the party making the application is not required to give evidence in an affidavit or a statutory declaration.
The application should address the factors set out in RPD Rule 35. In particular, an explanation regarding how each document is relevant to the claimant(s)’ particular circumstances should be provided.
e) Documents not accepted for filing and rejected applications
Any disclosure of country conditions evidence in excess of this new page limit that is not accompanied by an application, or that is not properly paginated and accompanied by a list of documents, will not be considered and a copy will not be placed in the file.
Likewise, where the RPD does consider the merits of an application for the disclosure of country conditions evidence in excess of the new page limit, but rejects the application, the documents will also be discarded and copies will not be placed in the file.
In both cases, the RPD will notify the parties.
The Chairperson of the IRB has the authority to take any action that may be necessary to ensure that members of the Board are able to carry out their duties efficiently and without undue delay.Footnote 8 This authority has been delegated to Deputy Chairpersons. In addition, in the absence of a provision in the RPD Rules, the Division may do whatever is necessary to deal with a matter.Footnote 9
This Practice Notice comes into force on June 1, 2018. The Practice Notice does not apply to country conditions documents provided to the RPD before the effective date; however, those documents will count toward the total number of country conditions documents filed in a claim or application if further disclosure is made after the effective date.
Signed on May 7, 2018
Shereen Benzvy Miller
Deputy Chairperson, RPD
- Note 1
Refugee Protection Division Rules, (SOR/2012-256).
Return to note 1 referrer
- Note 2
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c.27, ss. 162(2).
Return to note 2 referrer
- Note 3
Ibid, s. 170(e).
Return to note 3 referrer
- Note 4
Documents prepared by party
31 (1) A document prepared for use by a party in a proceeding must be typewritten, in a type not smaller than 12 point, on one or both sides of 216 mm by 279 mm (8 ½ inches x 11 inches) paper.
(2) Any photocopy provided by a party must be a clear copy of the document photocopied and be on one or both sides of 216 mm by 279 mm (8 ½ inches x 11 inches) paper.
List of documents
(3) If more than one document is provided, the party must provide a list identifying each of the documents.
Consecutively numbered pages
(4) A party must consecutively number each page of all the documents provided as if they were one document.
Return to note 4 referrer
- Note 5
Documents relevant and not duplicate
35 Each document provided by a party for use at a proceeding must
(a) be relevant to the particular proceeding; and
(b) not duplicate other documents provided by a party or by the Division.
Return to note 5 referrer
- Note 6
Chairperson Guidelines 7: Concerning Preparation and Conduct of a Hearing in the Refugee Protection Division, December 15, 2012.
Return to note 6 referrer
- Note 7
Refugee Protection Division Practice Notice: Compliance with Refugee Protection Division Rules, December 8, 2014.
Return to note 7 referrer
- Note 8
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c.27, par. 159(1)(g).
Return to note 8 referrer
- Note 9
RPD rule 69.
Return to note 9 referrer