On July 23, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) instructed that IRB hearings will continue in remote form, subject to exceptions. Otherwise, the board will conduct all hearings remotely until further notice.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, IRB has operated on the dual objectives of simultaneously ensuring the health and safety of employees and safeguarding the system’s procedural justice. Remote hearing model has been adapted by the Board in early January, with few in-person hearings given under exceptional circumstances.
Even though global vaccination rates are climbing, and COVID-19 cases gradually decline in Canada, the impact of new variants still requires precautionary measures. In consideration of public safety, the Board prolongs its current form of operation to help curb potential spread.
Given the previous considerations, IRB hearings will be held remotely and make any necessary adjustment in alignment to the latest public health policies. Nevertheless, the Board will hold in-person hearing requests under strict public health guidance. Such requests must include a persuasive explanation of the circumstances that render remote hearings incompatible.
Meanwhile, IRB does not accept document drop-offs in person. All applications or relevant document must be submitted via MyCase portal, email (if applicable) or through Canada Post epost Connect. In situations where electronic options are invalid, fax and regular mail are acceptable.
Later this fall, IRB will re-examine its procedures and provide further instructions on future hearings. Notices will be given before any substantial change occurs to allow accommodations.