What will happen at the hearing?

  1. Introductions – The Presiding Member will introduce everyone in the room and explain the hearing process to you. You will be asked to swear an oath promising to tell the truth. If you want to swear on a Holy Book from your religion, please bring one to the hearing.
  2. Questioning – The Presiding Member, the Minister’s Counsel (if present), and your counsel/lawyer (if present) will ask you questions about the legal issues that are important to your particular case.
  3. Witnesses – if you have witnesses, they will speak next.
  4. Comments – At the end of your hearing, the Presiding Member will give your counsel or you an opportunity to explain in your own words why you think the evidence shows you meet the definition of “Convention refugee” or “Person in need of protection.”
  5. Decision – The decision maker may make a decision at the end of the hearing, or they may take more time. In both cases, you will receive “A Notice of Decision” in the mail.

You will be asked questions about information you stated in the Basis of Claim Form (BOC) and why you fear to return to your home country. They may also ask about how you came to Canada.

The hearing will last approximately 3.5 hours. You have a right to legal counsel e.g. a lawyer, to represent you during the Refugee Hearing.

Your language needs

If you do not speak English of French fluently, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) will provide an interpreter.

You must inform the IRB of your choice of language or dialect at least 10 days before the hearing so they can make arrangements.

If you do not understand the interpreter clearly or you feel the interpretation is not accurate, you should tell the IRB member immediately.

Your privacy

By law, IRB hearings are held in private. Your personal information is private and confidential. This information can only be shared under strict rules or provided to others only after you have given permission. It will not be shared with the authorities of your home country.

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