- Please note that this temporary procedure has been extended will remain in effect until January 31, 2018. The need to continue these temporary procedures will be evaluated again in the New Year.
This Practice Notice applies only to refugee claims made in the Province of Quebec.
These revised procedures begin immediately, and apply to all refugee claims referred to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) in Quebec from September 8th to October 31st, 2017 inclusive. The RPD will re-evaluate at that time the need to continue these interim procedures.
This Practice Notice outlines revised procedures regarding the timely receipt of the Basis of Claim (BOC) Form, what the RPD will accept as a completed BOC Form, and how matters related to the abandonment of a claim due to the non-submission of the BOC Form or the submission of an incomplete BOC Form will be handled.
The RPD has the authority to change a requirement of a rule after giving notice to the parties.Footnote 1 Where this Practice Notice establishes a change in the application of a rule, it constitutes notice to the parties.
In addition, in the absence of a rule governing a matter raised at the RPD, the RPD may do whatever is necessary to deal with it.Footnote 2
These new procedures address issues created by the extraordinary influx of claims into Quebec in recent weeks. Up to 300 claims a day are being referred to the Montreal office of the RPD, far beyond normal operating levels. Many of these claimants have crossed the Canada-United States border between ports of entries (irregular border crossers).
As a result, the ability of refugee claimants to provide their BOC Forms within legislative time limits has been impacted, as has the RPD's capacity to process the claims with its current resources.
Refugee claims may be made either at a port of entry or inland. The increase in irregular border crossers has resulted in many inland claims being referred to the RPD without a completed BOC Form, for which there are no established procedures set out in the legislation.
Procedures - Overview
Refugee claims are made to an officer of either Immigration, Citizenship and Refugee Canada (IRCC) or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).Footnote 3 The officer determines if the claim is eligible to be referred to the RPD and, if eligible, refers the claim.Footnote 4
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (regulations), and the Refugee Protection Division Rules (RPD Rules) govern how and when a refugee claimant is to provide their BOC Form to the RPD and how a claim may be considered abandoned by the RPD should these requirements not be followed.
Current Procedure - BOC Form Time Limits (Inland Claims)
For refugee claims made inland, the completed BOC Form is to be provided to the referring officer no later than the date of referral.Footnote 5 The officer then provides the BOC Form to the RPD.Footnote 6 No procedures are set out in the legislation regarding the failure to provide the BOC Form upon referral for inland claimants.
Revised Procedure - BOC Form Time Limits (Inland Claims)
Inland claimants will receive a Notice to Appear for their refugee claim hearing from the referring officer which will indicate that:
- if the refugee claimant did not provide the BOC Form to the officer upon referral, they have 15 days to provide the BOC Form to the RPD; and
- if the refugee claimant does not provide the BOC on referral or within the 15-day time limit, the claimant must appear for a special hearing to explain why the claim should not be declared abandoned (abandonment hearing).
Current Procedures - Providing Completed BOC Forms (Inland and Port of Entry Claimants)
The RPD Rules provide that all refugee claimants (both inland and port of entry) must provide completed BOC Forms.Footnote 7
Revised Procedure - Providing Completed BOC Forms (Inland and Port of Entry Claimants)
As an interim measure, the RPD will consider a BOC Form to be complete if the following questions are answered:
- Question 1: Identifying information
- Question 8: Contact information
- Question 9: Counsel information
- Question 10: Language and interpreter
- Question 11: Claimant’s declaration
- Question 12: Interpreter’s declaration (if applicable)
If the claimant fails to answer these questions, the BOC Form will be considered incomplete and the claimant is required to attend their abandonment hearing. The date for this abandonment hearing is indicated on the claimant’s Notice to Appear provided to them by the referring officer.
At a later date, the RPD will provide a notice to the claimant indicating when the responses to the remainder of the BOC is due. In order to be ready to provide the BOC Form upon receipt of the notice, claimants are encouraged to begin arranging to fill out the remainder of the BOC Form immediately. Additionally, claimants are encouraged to submit the remainder of their BOC Form as early as possible, regardless of when they receive a notice to complete the questions.
Mario Dion, Chairperson IRB
22 September 2017