Representation before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is Canada’s largest independent administrative tribunal. It was established by parliament and operates independently of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The IRB’s jurisdiction and rules are defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection act and regulations.

The IRB consist of three divisions:

  • Immigration Division
  • Immigration Appeal Division
  • Refugee Protection Division

A wide range of immigration matters fall within the IRB’s jurisdiction: Admissibility hearings, detention reviews, family sponsorship appeals, refugee claim determination and more.

In most IRB proceedings the panel consist of a member who is the impartial decision maker. Most IRB hearings are contested proceedings in which the minister’s counsel argues against the interest of the person concerned in the matter.

The IRB has many rules governing time limitations, documents submission, evidence disclosure, etc. To successfully argue a case before the IRB, knowledge of the Canadian immigration system and legislation is very important. Self-representation at a hearing is not recommended.

Decisions by the IRB can generally be appealed to the federal court of Canada.