The IRB has been actively monitoring the evolving situation around the world and here in Canada related to COVID-19. Since the outbreak, we have been taking steps to both protect the health and well-being of our staff and those who appear before the Board, while continuing to ensure access to justice to the extent possible.
We recognize the challenges and anxieties associated with the current situation and are committed to being as flexible as reasonably possible. As a result of recent developments, including announcements across various levels of government over the weekend and in consultation with some of you, the following measures are being implemented:
Postponements of in-person hearings and mediations
All in person hearings and mediations, other than detention reviews, are postponed effective Tuesday March 17, 2020 through Sunday, April 5, 2020. The IRB will be regularly monitoring developments and an update to this notice will be communicated on or before Sunday, April 5, 2020. Postponed hearings and mediations will be rescheduled promptly upon the resumption of full IRB operations.
Precautionary Measures at Detention Reviews
The Immigration Division (ID) is taking important steps, effective immediately and until further notice, to mitigate the risk of exposure to the virus at its hearing sites. Measures include the following:
- Minimizing the transportation of detained individuals to IRB premises
- Establishing a means by which other hearing participants, for example counsel, hearings officers and bondspersons, can take part in hearings by telephone or video-conferencing should they wish to do so.
- Continuing to implementing active health screening procedures at each hearing site.
Increased Flexibility at the Refugee Protection Division and Refugee Appeal Division
The IRB is introducing temporary procedural accommodations at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), effective immediately We are aware of and sensitive to the challenges the current situation poses for claimants, appellants, Parties and their representatives. As such, we are granting temporary extensions of time limits as outlined in the
Practice Notice on the Temporary Extension of Time Limits for Filing a Basis of Claim Form and the
Practice Notice on the Temporary Extension for Time Limits for Filing a Notice of Appeal and Perfecting an Appeal.
In addition to the above measures, the IRB will be considering all COVID related motions and applications with flexibility and other operational practice flexibilities are being considered and will be announced as required.
We are closely monitoring the situation and will inform you of any further developments. In the meantime, I encourage you to check the
IRB website regularly for updates.
We encourage parties to submit documentation electronically where possible.