Canada Immigration
Appeal Division (IAD)

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The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD)

The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) is one of the four Divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada’s largest independent administrative tribunal. The IAD has the powers of a superior court but is actually an administrative tribunal that acts under the authority of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. 

As such, its powers and authority are directed at specific types of immigration matters. Specifically, the IAD has the authority to review and remedy the decisions of the immigration authorities, including Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Its review powers are further restricted in that the IAD is primarily empowered to review decisions that affect Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and/or their foreign family members.

Types of Immigration Appeal Division Appeals

There are three main types of appeals before the Immigration Appeal Division:

  1. Family Sponsorship Appeals
  2. Residency Appeals
  3. Removal Order Appeals

Family sponsorship appeals are appeals made by Canadian citizens or permanent residents on behalf of a foreign spouse, partner, child or parent who was being sponsored by them and whose application was refused by the immigration authorities. 

Residency appeals are appeals by permanent residents who have been found not to have met the residency requirement by the immigration authorities and have lost their status as a result. 

Removal order appeals are made by permanent residents who have been found to be inadmissible for reason of criminality or misrepresentation or other grounds of inadmissibility and have been issued a removal order on this basis by the immigration authorities.

Where to file an Appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division

The Immigration Appeal Division has offices in major Canadian cities including Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver.  The appeal should be filed with the office closest to where the appellant resides or last resided in Canada.

Process of an Immigration Appeal Division Appeal

Appeals to the Immigration Appeal Division are initiated by filing a Notice of Appeal with the IAD.  There are strict deadlines within which the appeal notice must be filed.  Sponsorship appeals and removal order appeals must be filed within 30 days of the negative decision being received, and residency appeals must be initiated within 60 days of the decision begin received.  

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

An Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) session is a fast-track meeting to try to resolve an appeal quickly and without the need for a full hearing.  After the appeal has been filed the immigration authorities will produce the tribunal record (the record) which is a copy of their file related to the appellant. 

Staff at the IAD will review the record in order to decide whether the case is suited for an ADR meeting.  If the case is a simple one that could be easily resolved at an ADR, then the IAD may issue a notice convoking the appellant and the immigration department’s representative to attend an ADR to try to resolve the case without the need for a full hearing.  An ADR is an informal meeting of the appellant and the immigration department representative to review the case to see if a settlement can be reached.  If successful, the appeal could be completed within a matter of months.  If the ADR is not successful and a settlement cannot be reached, then the case will go to a full hearing to be decided by a board member.

Hearings before the Immigration Appeal Division

After an appeal with the IAD is filed, and assuming there is no successful ADR, the appeal will go to a full hearing before a Board Member who will act as a judge to decide whether the appeal should be granted.  The appeal hearing is much like a court hearing in that the appellant will appear as a witness and testify, and other witnesses can be called to testify as well.  

The appellant may be represented by a lawyer, and the immigration department will have their own lawyer or other representative.  After all the witness testimony has been heard, and any other evidence adduced, the lawyers will generally make oral submissions on their respective positions.  The Board Member may then make their decision orally, or can reserve the decision and issue it in writing later.  The effect of the decision will either be to uphold or to overturn the decision of the immigration authorities.  

If the decision is overturned, the case will usually be returned to the immigration authorities to continue processing.  

Do I need a lawyer for an appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division?

There is a right to counsel before the IAD and it is strongly recommended that appellants obtain the services of an experienced immigration lawyer to represent them in their case.  This is because appeals before the IAD require an in-depth understanding of the law related to immigration appeals, and of the procedures before the IAD.  It must also be taken into consideration that appeals before the IAD are an adversarial process, and the immigration authorities will have their own lawyer representing them for purposes of the appeal, who will usually be highly experienced, and who will be opposed to the appeal being granted.  Appellants who represent themselves will be at a major disadvantage as a result.  

The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has over 20 years of experience representing clients before the Immigration Appeal Division and we specialize in complex cases.

Please fill out our  FREE Appeals Assessment form to see if we are able to help you with your immigration appeal.