What evidence do I need for my refugee hearing?

4. Ask any witnesses to give evidence

The Refugee Board recently announced that it will continue to schedule all refugee hearings to be heard remotely. For more information, read the question.

A witness is a person who knows about your claim and can give information that will help the Board member make a decision. You don't have to use witnesses but they can help support your claim. The most important witnesses are you and any family members claiming with you.

Think about people who know the reasons for your refugee claim and whether that person would be a good witness. A good witness is someone the Board member will believe. The witness should be able to understand the questions and answer clearly. They should know your situation and give that doesn't contradict anything you or your documents say.

Your witness can testify at your hearing in person or by telephone. They can also give an affidavit or sworn statement for you to use as evidence at your hearing. Affidavits and testimony are usually better support for your claim than letters.

Witnesses should bring documents to the hearing or attach certified copies to their affidavits to show their:

  • identity and citizenship
  • immigration status in Canada, if any
  • relationship to you or to a group that you belong to, for example a membership card, a certificate from a religious institution, family relationship or school records

You must give the Refugee Board the following information about each witness at least 10 days before your hearing:

  • their contact information
  • a short statement on the reason for their testimony and what it will be about
  • how long their testimony will take
  • your relationship to the witness
  • whether you want the witness to testify in person, by videoconference, or by telephone
  • whether the witness will need an interpreter and, if so, the language and dialect they will use

If the witness is an expert, you must also give information about their qualifications. You can do this by including their resume or CV.  If the witness writes a report, they must date and sign it.

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