On February 20, 2018, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has decided to change its own scheduling practice for refugee hearings and will now be hearing claims primarily in the order in which they were received. IRB will only make exceptions for priority claims (such as unaccompanied minors or other vulnerable persons). It may also make exceptions for certain claims or groups of claims where the Board decides to implement specific scheduling strategies to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the refugee determination process.
In December 2012, time limits for scheduling were incorporated into regulations. The result was that new cases had to be prioritized over old ones. The regulations allow for an exception to the time limits due to the operational limitations of the Board. With rising intake, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) has been obligated to remove a certain percentage of hearings from its schedule under this exception because it does not have the capacity to hear them.
With the significant increase in new refugee protection claims, the waiting time for other matters such as older claims and returns from the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) and the Federal Court (FC) that must be reheard has also increased. In order to be able to hear all these other matters in a reasonable period, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) must remove new referrals from its current schedule at this time due to operational limitations. The IRB will contact these claimants individually when the RPD is ready to schedule and hear their claim.
Under this new scheduling strategy, the RPD is committed to hearing cases efficiently, while adhering to principles of fairness and transparency to claimants.
Source: IRB website