If you have a legal question, and you live in Ontario, this site is for you.
LawFacts provides in-depth legal information and resources.

 

Before your hearing

Keep your important deadlines in mind. You need to collect your documents and submit these 10 days before your hearing. You can also make changes to your Basis of Claim (BOC) form and other immigration forms you completed for your claim before this date. In addition, you have to update the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) and/or the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) every time you:
  • change your address or contact information, or
  • get or change your counsel.
You can also apply to the IRB for changes to your hearing, such as:
  • change of date, time or place of your hearing, or
  • change of language or language of interpretation.

Can I make changes to my Basis of Claim (BOC) form?

You can make changes to your BOC form up to 10 days before your hearing. Re-create any pages of your BOC form that you want to change. Underline any information that you add, and cross out any information that you want to remove. Sign and date each page that you change. Include a declaration that the information is true and correct. Submit the pages, the declaration and a copy of each to the IRB. Keep a copy for yourself. You may have to explain why you made changes to your BOC form at your hearing. For example, you may have realized that information was missing or incorrect because of short timelines or translation issues, or you may have added new information that just became available. The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) is developing more resources on changing your BOC form. Visit CARL’s website for details. Also, read more about your BOC form.

When do I have to submit my documents?

Your documents are due 10 days before your hearing. If the Minister has intervened in your case, anything you want to submit in response is due five days before your hearing. Read more about documents for your claim and how to calculate your deadlines.

Why should I update my contact information?

If your phone number or address changes, you need to immediately update the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)) and/or the Canadian Border Services (CBSA), depending on your circumstances. If you do not, there could be very serious consequences. Your refugee claim could be declared abandoned and you could be put in immigration detention.

How do I change my contact information?

First, inform your lawyer or representative if you have one. They will help you update the IRB, CIC and/or CBSA, depending on your circumstances. You must update each organization separately.
  • Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)
    • To change your contact information with the IRB, submit the Notice of Change of Contact Information Form. There is also a copy in your Claimant’s Kit.
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC)
  • Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)
    • You might have to change your contact information in advance and in person at a CBSA office. Check your conditions and contact your CBSA officer to learn if this applies to you.
    • You can reach the CBSA at 1-800-461-9999 or visit their website for more information.

What should I do when I get counsel?

When you get counsel, you have to inform the IRB, CIC and/or CBSA, depending on your circumstances. You have to inform each organization separately.
  • Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC)
    • Your counsel should complete the Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476) or inform the CIC in writing.
  • Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)
    • Your counsel should notify the CBSA in writing, if this applies to you.
    • You can reach the CBSA at 1-800-461-9999 or visit their website for more information.

What should I do if I change counsel?

Your new counsel should update the IRB, CIC and/or CBSA, depending on your circumstances. You have to do this at each organization separately. You should also inform your former counsel and request your documents from them in writing. If you no longer have counsel, you will have to do these steps on your own.
  • Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)
    • If you change your counsel, complete the Notice of Change of Contact Information Form. If you no longer have counsel, complete only the relevant sections.
    • If the Minister is participating in your claim, you need to give them a copy first, before you submit the form to the IRB. Include a letter stating how and when you did this with your form.
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC)
    • You and/or your new counsel should complete the relevant sections of the Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476).
  • Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)
    • Make sure that your new counsel updates the CBSA in writing, if this applies to you.
    • You can reach the CBSA at 1-800-461-9999 or visit their website for more information.

Can I change the date or time of my hearing?

Yes, but it is difficult to change the date and time of your hearing. The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has strict rules because of the short timelines for refugee claims.

How do I change the date or time of my hearing?

You must request a change as soon as possible, or at least three working days before your hearing. If your hearing date is under three days away, you can only ask for an extension in person at your hearing. Submit a request in writing by mail, fax or in person. If the Minister is participating in your hearing, you need to send them a copy first. Include a letter stating how and when you did this with your request. There are also different requirements, depending on why you want to change your hearing:
  • your counsel is not available
  • you will not be available

What are the requirements?

  1. If your counsel is not available for your hearing dateYou can make a request for an extension if, at the time your hearing date was scheduled, you:
    • did not have counsel, or
    • did not know your counsel’s availability
    Your request will only be considered if you got your counsel within five working days of when you were given your hearing date. Finally, the IRB will only approve your request if possible.
  2. If you are not available for your hearing dateThe IRB will only allow changes in exceptional cases, for example, for vulnerable claimants or for serious medical issues.You also need to prove why you need to change your hearing date. If you want to change the date for a medical reason, you need to attach a medical certificate or similar proof. See more details below.You also need to suggest three replacement dates. These have to be 10 days or less after your original scheduled date.
Please review the Claimant Guide for more information.

What do I need to include in the medical certificate?

The medical certificate must include:
  • a date (must be recent)
  • a signature from a qualified medical practitioner
  • the name and address of the medical practitioner
  • the details of your medical conditions (not your actual diagnosis)
  • the date when you will be able to attend your hearing

What if I cannot get a medical certificate?

If you cannot get a medical certificate, you have to show that you did everything you could to get one. You must provide information about your medical issue and prove why it will prevent you from coming to your hearing.

What if I do not get a reply?

If you do not get a reply, you must go to your hearing. If you miss your hearing without an extension, your claim could be declared abandoned.

Can I change where my hearing will being held?

You have to apply at least 20 days before your hearing. Changes will only be made in certain cases, based on the factors set out in the Claimant’s Guide, including:
  • where you live
  • if the hearing would still be “full and proper”
  • if your hearing would be delayed
  • how it would affect the IRB
  • how it would affect the different parties
  • if it is needed to accommodate a vulnerable person
  • if the hearing could be held by teleconference or videoconference

Can I change the official language of my hearing?

You can change the official language of your hearing (English to French, or French to English) up to 10 days before your hearing. Any new documents will be sent to you in this language. Submit your request in writing to the IRB by mail, email, fax or in person.

Can I change the language of the interpretation of my hearing?

You can change the language of interpretation by writing to the IRB up to 10 days before your hearing. Submit your request in writing to the IRB by mail, fax or in person.