Effective September 1, 2017, the Refugee Protection Division will be launching a 6-month pilot project, whereby young children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by an adult making a refugee claim will not be required to appear before the RPD unless the presiding member requires their attendance.
The RPD recognizes that having children attend a hearing, only to be excused at the outset, may create difficulties with respect to travel and child care, as well as cause school-aged children to unnecessarily miss school. However, sometimes, in order to ensure a full hearing in which all relevant issues are examined, the presence of young children will be required.
This pilot is being undertaken to ease the burden on families with young children while ensuring that the RPD may carry out its mandate of rendering well-reasoned decisions in accordance with the law.
When a member determines that it is necessary for a young claimant to attend the hearing, for example, because of identity issues or other concerns, the claimant will be informed at the earliest possible opportunity so families can make necessary arrangements.
The RPD will evaluate the pilot and, after six months, determine if further changes are required and/or if this approach will come into effect permanently.