Even in the best of cases, the process of immigrating to Canada can take a long time. Sometimes, however, the journey can be even longer if roadblocks appear on the path to permanent residence or citizenship, or other setbacks put your immigration dreams at risk. Such setbacks often come in the form of an adverse decision by an immigration authority. Whether you are seeking refugee protection in Canada, are fighting a removal order or challenging a determination of inadmissibility, or you seek to challenge some other immigration decision, you may find yourself seeking relief before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
The IRB was established in 1989 to make fair and independent decisions on contested immigration and refugee matters. It is made up of four separate tribunals, or divisions, that hear specific kinds of immigration matters:
- The Refugee Protection Division, which decides claims for refugee protection made in Canada
- The Refugee Appeal Division, which considers appeals from certain decisions of the Refugee Protection Division to allow or reject claims for refugee protection
- The Immigration Division, which conducts immigration admissibility hearings for certain categories of people believed to be inadmissible to, or removable from, Canada under the law and conducts detention reviews for those being detained by the Canada Border Services Agency under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
- Immigration Appeal Division hears appeals of sponsorship applications; appeals from certain removal orders made against permanent residents, refugees and other protected persons, and holders of permanent resident visas; and appeals by permanent residents who have been found outside of Canada not to have fulfilled their residency obligation; and appeals by the Canada Border Services Agency from decisions of the Immigration Division at admissibility hearings.
Hearings before the IRB are conducted very much like a trial in a court of law, though the evidentiary and procedural rules can be less formal. Hearings are usually held in person, though they can also be held by videoconference. As in a trial, all testimony is given under oath or by affirmation, and each division has its own rules on procedures such as time limits, evidence, documents and other responsibilities of counsel or the people appearing before the IRB. All decisions are based on the evidence provided and the law, and the tribunal must provide reasons for final decisions so the person before the tribunal understands why the decision has been made and can if they choose seek judicial review of the IRB’s decision by the Federal Court of Canada.
It can be disheartening and scary if you find yourself on the receiving end of a negative immigration decision. But you likely have options that could result in that decision being modified or reversed. Before giving up hope, please contact Toronto immigration lawyer Larry Butkowsky. His legal practice focuses solely on immigration law, he has extensive experience appearing before IRB tribunals, and he can advise you of your options. Sound immigration counsel can make all the difference at this stage of an immigration case and can keep your immigration dreams alive.
The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of law familiar to our firm lawyers. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website as such.