Are all detention review hearings being held remotely?
As of January 2021, the Immigration Division (ID) of the (IRB) has been holding most hearings remotely. A remote hearing is held by video and is called a videoconference. Where a videoconference is not possible, the ID will hold a detention review hearing by phone, called a teleconference.
The ID will hold some in-person hearings only for urgent or sensitive cases. Urgent cases are usually ones that involve children under the age of 18 or people with serious medical or mental health issues.
If you're arrested by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), you'll have a detention review before the ID within 48 hours. If you are not released, you'll be told the date of your next review. This detention review date will be written on the order that continues your detention.
Witnesses and bondspersons
You can invite a witness or bondsperson to give at your detention review. To participate, they will need:
- access to a reliable device or computer with a camera and microphone
- a stable internet connection
- access to Microsoft Teams, the program used for remote hearings, either through a web browser or by downloading it on their device or computer
- a private space where they feel comfortable and can speak without interruption
If they don't have access to reliable computer equipment, they can participate by telephone. They can also prepare a written statement that you or your lawyer can submit to the ID before your hearing.
Talk to your lawyer about what is best.
Submitting documents before your hearing
You can email documents to the ID at IRB.TorontoID-SIToronto.CISR@irb-cisr.gc.ca or fax your documents to 416-744-4274. Emails and faxes must include the sender's name, the detained person's name and UCI (Unique Client Identifier) number, and the ID file number found on correspondence from IRCC, CBSA and the Immigration Division (ID). Check here for more information about emailing the ID.
You must copy the CBSA office when you send documents to the ID. You can do this by email to CBSA.GTARImmigrationHearings-RGTAudiencesdel'immigration.ASFC@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca or by fax to 905-405-3531.
Your right to a fair hearing
The most important thing is that your hearing is fair. You need to be able to hear and be heard clearly.
If your detention review has started and you can't hear or participate well, you can put your hand up and say clearly that there is a problem. You or your lawyer should ask the Board member to stop the hearing until any issues can be fixed. You have the right to raise concerns.
Getting legal help
If you don't have a lawyer for your detention review hearing, Legal Aid Ontario's Refugee Law Office might be able to help you. Staff can give legal advice by phone. And, if you're eligible, they might be able to represent you at your detention review or refer you to a lawyer who can. You can call the Refugee Law Office collect at 416-977-8111 or toll-free at 1-855-854-8111.