In order to make the immigration appeal process simpler, faster and more efficient, the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) has implemented or is testing new ways of doing business. The following are some initiatives that have recently been implemented or have concluded.

Remote Testimony by Videoconference

The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) launched a Remote Testimony by Videoconference pilot project in 2017 to provide counsel with the opportunity to use videoconferencing services (such as Skype) for appellants, applicants or other witnesses who testified remotely at a hearing.

Given the success of this pilot project, videoconferencing will now become the IAD's preferred method of contacting remote witnesses. As of July 9, 2018, the majority of IAD hearing rooms will be equipped with videoconferencing technology.

Express Triage Pilot

In November 2016, the IAD launched the Express Triage Pilot project in its Central (Toronto) and Western (Vancouver) regional offices as an alternative model to the early informal resolution (EIR) process. The objective of this six month pilot was to reduce delays in the early stages of the appeal process. To achieve this objective, the pilot tested whether it was more efficient in certain circumstances for parties to meet face to face for an Express Triage Conference than to proceed with appeals in writing.

Outcome: The pilot is now concluded and based on key findings, the IAD has decided not to continue with Express Triage in its current form.

Email initiative – Western region

In November 2016, the IAD launched an email initiative in its Western (Vancouver) regional office, which used email rather than regular mail as a means of sending and receiving appeal documents. The objective of this initiative was to phase in a more efficient and timely way for the IAD and parties to communicate.

Outcome: After receiving positive feedback from appellants and counsel, the IAD decided to extend this initiative indefinitely in the Western Region only, pending a more permanent solution for exchanging documents electronically.

New Immigration Appeal Division scheduling practices for counsel

Beginning in January 2018, the IAD modified its scheduling practices. Instead of calling or faxing counsel directly, as had previously been the case, the IAD will email counsel with a date for a hearing or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) conference. If counsel is unavailable on the proposed date, they then have two business days to offer alternative dates. Email communication has thus become the default means of contact with counsel for scheduling purposes in all regions.

There is no change to how unrepresented appellants are scheduled. Notices to Appear will still be sent to all parties once the date has been confirmed.

Plain language review of IAD letters

The IAD recognizes that accessibility is a key factor in achieving a fair and efficient process. As such, the IAD is in the process of reviewing all its letters to ensure the language used is clear, simple and easily understood by appellants. As of March 2018, it has begun using simplified early review letters to request documents from appellants. Other correspondence and information packages will also be updated in the coming months.