Communiqué to counsel, designated representatives and Minister's counsel
This communiqué provides an update on the plans to resume (near) normal operations at the Refugee Appeal Division during the COVID-19 pandemic. Foremost in our planning is ensuring the health and safety of our employees and of all participants in the appeal process. Within this context, we are also trying to maintain access to justice to the extent possible.
Resuming operations at the RAD will require working with less capacity in Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) offices and increased reliance on staff working remotely and electronically. It also means that the Division will use more electronic tools to conduct its business, including by email.
As a general principle, the RAD will process the oldest appeals first, while ensuring appeals of detainees, unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable persons are prioritized.
Gradual resumption of business
In response to the COVID-19 disruption of IRB offices, the RAD is gradually resuming operations beginning with appeals that are already perfected and assigned to members. Pending already perfected appeals are grouped into four categories:
- Appeals where the RAD has substituted a favourable decision
- Appeals where the RAD member is requesting specific submissions
- Appeals currently assigned to RAD a member
- All other unassigned pending appeals
Beginning the week of June 15, 2020, the RAD will inform counsel, designated representatives, and minister's counsel who have pending appeals in the first three categories listed above. How files in each category will be treated is described below.
Appeals where the RAD has substituted a favourable decision
Using only the file number, counsel will be informed of any appeals pending where a favourable decision has been substituted. The notice of decision and reasons for decision will follow as soon as practicable, as IRB mailrooms open beginning June 15, 2020 in Vancouver and a week later in Toronto and Montreal.
Files where the RAD is requesting submissions
For files where the member requires submissions, an individualized request will be sent to counsel, the designated representative, as well as the minister, when the latter is a party to the appeal. This will have begun as of June 1, 2020. Submissions will be due no later than 30 days from the date of the email or fax informing them of the request.
If no submission is received by the end of the 30-day period, the member will proceed to finalize the appeal. The notice of decision and reasons for decision will be mailed as soon as practicable thereafter.
Unless a request for specific submissions has been communicated as described in #2 above, counsel or designated representative will have 30 days from the date they receive notice to submit any document or written submission in support of the appeal. A document or written submissions in support of the appeal will be accepted without an application.
Rule 29 and 110(4) continue to apply. Due consideration will be given to the novel circumstances related to COVID-19. The minister is also being informed of assigned appeals.
Appeals not listed in any of the previous three categories are not yet assigned. However, a document or written submissions in support of the appeal will be accepted by the RAD without an application until August 19, 2020. Rule 29 and 110(4) continue to apply. Due consideration will be given to the novel circumstances related to COVID-19.
Communication with the RAD during COVID-19
In order to expand the range of methods to communicate with the Division, the RAD will accept submissions electronically using Canada Post's ePost Connect. Additional information is found in the Practice Notice announcing this initiative.
In addition to the fax numbers below, email addresses have been established for each regional office:
Fax number: 604-666-9870
Fax number: 416-954-1511
Fax number: 514-283-0164
If you use email or fax, we strongly encourage you to also register for ePost Connect. Unlike email, which limits the size of submissions to 10 MB, ePost Connect can accept up to 1GB of information. In addition, ePost Connect offers the potential for the RAD to use it to send protected information to registered users as an interim solution before the IRB portal is launched.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, IRB reception desks will not be open for the time being. Therefore, the RAD cannot accept documents via in-person delivery.
Time limits for submitting a new appeal and perfecting an appeal
Please consult the
Practice Notice for information on the resumption of the time limits for filing a notice of appeal or perfecting an appeal.
A note on RAD rules
Unless noted, RAD rules continue to apply. However, in order to permit electronic submission of documents, there is no need to submit multiple copies of documents nor to sign RAD forms such as a notice of appeal and appellant’s record. Additionally, the RAD will not require that affidavits or statutory declarations, required under the Rules, be signed and witnessed in order to respect physical distancing requirements.