Like other departments and agencies, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) was required to make cost reduction proposals for consideration by the Government. The closure of the Ottawa hearings office and discontinuation of proceedings in Ottawa was among the proposals put forth by the IRB and is among the cost reduction measures set out in the 2012 Federal Budget that are currently being implemented by the IRB. Under this measure, individuals residing in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec with a proceeding before the Board will be expected to travel to the IRB Regional Office in Montreal for their hearing instead.
The closure of the Ottawa hearings office and the discontinuation of proceedings in Ottawa, originally scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2013, has been delayed until December 31, 2013.
The delay will provide an opportunity for the IRB to substantially reduce its inventory of pending cases in Ottawa. It also provides stakeholders with a longer transition period prior to the full implementation of the office closure.
Please note that notwithstanding the delay in the closure of the Ottawa office, effective April 1, 2013 all case-related documents and enquiries should be directed to the Regional Office in Montreal. Given that the IRB’s focus in coming months will on inventory reduction in Ottawa, refugee claims referred after December 15, 2012 will continue to be heard in Montreal. For more information, please call 1-866-626-8719.