March 28, 2013
Closure of Ottawa Hearings Office
Message from Ross Pattee, Acting Chairperson, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Like other departments and agencies, the IRB was required to make cost reduction proposals for consideration by the Government. The closure of the Ottawa hearings office and discontinuation of proceedings in Ottawa was among the proposals put forth by the IRB and is among the cost reduction measures set out in the 2012 Federal Budget that are currently being implemented by the IRB. Under this measure, individuals residing in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec with a proceeding before the Board will be expected to travel to the IRB Regional Office in Montreal for their hearing instead.
The closure of the office and discontinuation of proceedings, originally scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2013, has been delayed until December 31, 2013.
The delay will provide an opportunity for the IRB to substantially reduce its inventory of pending cases in Ottawa. It also responds to stakeholder concerns regarding the need for a longer transition period, prior to the full implementation of the office closure. Given that the IRB’s focus in coming months will on inventory reduction in Ottawa, refugee claims referred after December 15, 2012 will continue to be heard in Montreal.
Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada