In Canadian Border Services, COVID-19 Updates, Immigration, Permanent Residence

Effective March 18, 2020, Canadian borders to be closed to:

  • All Foreign nationals (students, workers, visitors) who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, immediate family members of citizens or permanent resident (spouse, children, parents?).
    • Exceptions in place for U.S. citizens, diplomats, crew (truck drivers, air crew, trains, professions requiring cross-border travel, other necessary essential service workers to be considered)
  • Any passenger with COVD-19 symptoms barred from boarding a flight, regardless of status/nationality. Travelers arriving from international locations must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • International flights will be permitted to land only at the international airports in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, in order to enhance screening (Domestic flights and flights from U.S., Mexico, Caribbean, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon won’t be affected).
  • Travel restrictions won’t apply to trade or businesses.

Links to information:

Immigration applications 90 day extensions and appointment cancellations until April 13, 2020:

Effective 90 day extensions for all further steps / requests for additional documents on open immigration applications for permanent and temporary residence:

  • When additional documentation is required to make a decision on the application, processing officers should send a request letter and allow 90 days for the applicant to respond.
  • If a request for additional documentation was previously sent but the applicant was unable to comply within the deadline, processing officers should bring forward the application and allow an additional 90 days for the applicant to respond.

Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) Appointments – cancelled until April 13, 2020:

  • Permanent residence landing: We’re cancelling all in-person permanent resident landing appointments until April 13, 2020. If you had a landing appointment already booked, it will be held by telephone at a new date.
  • Refugee claimant appointments: We’re cancelling all refugee claimant appointments until April 13, 2020. If you had an appointment, we’ll contact you to let you know when your new appointment will be. You may still submit an in-person refugee claim until further notice (only pre-scheduled appointments are cancelled).
  • Citizenship ceremonies and citizenship tests: As previously mentioned, we are also cancelling all citizenship ceremonies and citizenship tests as of March 14, 2020 until further notice.

Links to information:

IRB Hearings – postponed through to April 5, 2020:

In-person hearings and mediations postponed effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, through Sunday, April 5, 2020:

  • All in person hearings and mediations, other than detention reviews, are postponed effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, through Sunday, April 5, 2020. An update to this notice will be communicated on or before Sunday, April 5, 2020. Postponed hearings and mediations will be rescheduled promptly upon the resumption of full IRB operations.

Increased Flexibility at the Refugee Protection Division And Refugee Appeal Division:

  • The IRB is introducing temporary procedural accommodations at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), effective immediately. We are aware of and sensitive to the challenges the current situation poses for claimants, appellants, Parties and their representatives.  As such, we are granting temporary extensions of time limits as outlined in the Practice Notice on the Temporary Extension of Time Limits for Filing a Basis of Claim Form and the Practice Notice on the Temporary Extension for Time Limits for Filing a Notice of Appeal and Perfecting an Appeal.
  • In addition to the above measures, the IRB will be considering all COVID related motions and applications with flexibility and other operational practice flexibilities are being considered and will be announced as required.

Precautionary measures at detention reviews:

  • The Immigration Division (ID) is taking important steps, effective immediately and until further notice, to mitigate the risk of exposure to the virus at its hearing sites. A detailed notice has been posted to the web. Measures include the following:
    • Minimizing the transportation of detained individuals to IRB premises
    • Establishing a means by which other hearing participants, for example counsel, hearings officers and bondspersons, can take part in hearings
      by telephone or video-conferencing should they wish to do so.
    • Continuing to implementing active health screening procedures at each hearing site.
  • We encourage parties to submit documentation electronically where possible.

Links to information:

Federal Court Matters – cancelled to March 27, 2020:

(NOTE: proposal currently being considered to postpone all hearings in the next 30 days and grant a 30-day recess to suspend calculation of all deadline. TBD)

General Sittings: All General Sittings of the Court scheduled between March 16 and March 27, 2020 are cancelled. Matters already made returnable at a General Sittings during that period will be placed on the roll of the next scheduled General Sittings for that City.

  • Urgent Matters: The Court will continue to hear any urgent motions or requests pursuant to Rule 35 of the Federal Courts Rules by teleconference.
  • Telephone Conferences: Hearings, special sittings and case conferences that are already scheduled to proceed by way of telephone conference during that period will proceed as scheduled, unless a request is made to adjourn.
  • Adjournments: All other hearings and trials of the Court previously scheduled to proceed during this two-week period are adjourned sine die. Between April 1 and April 15, 2020, the parties are to provide the Court with their mutual dates of non-availability until December 18, 2020.
  • Request to Proceed: For any hearing not exceeding 90 minutes, parties may, on consent and without delay, serve and file a joint written request that the matter proceed as previously scheduled, by way of telephone conference or be considered in writing rather than be adjourned sine die.
  • For any trial or longer hearing, parties may, without delay, serve and file a written request including the other party(ies)’ position on the request, that the matter proceed by way of telephone conference, videoconference or in person, or be considered in writing, rather than be adjourned sine die.

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Crease Harman LLP