The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an electronic transformation to the practice of immigration and refugee law with virtual hearings and electronic correspondence.
The tribunals of the IRB, the IAD and the RPD have made progress towards holding hearings virtually. Anecdotally, it would appear that the RPD’s capacity to hold virtual hearings has been ramped up in the second half of this year. Similarly, the IAD uses the videoconference option as its default option and will only allow in-person proceedings where a case can be made that an in-person proceeding is required.
Aside from the virtual hearings, the IRB a has moved towards greater electronic communication between counsel and the divisions of the IRB. This includes broadening the epost system to include not only the RPD but the RAD as well. The MyCase portal, which had been up and running for piloting for approximately a year, has now become active allowing all divisions of the IRB to communicate directly with counsel by providing all types of correspondence such as documents, hearing notices and decisions that were previously sent by mail. Counsel can also submit correspondence and documents through MyCase as an alternative to epost.