Understanding the Refugee Appeal Process

Decision process

The RAD usually makes its decision based on the information in the documents that you and the Minister provided, as well as on the information from the RPD record, without holding a hearing. The decision will be mailed to you soon after it is made. To make sure that you receive the decision as soon as possible, it is important that you give the RAD and the Minister your correct address and that you give them your new address if you move.

Who will decide my appeal?

A decision-maker, called a RAD member, will decide your appeal.

Decision to consider new evidence

If you state in your appellant’s record that you are presenting new evidence to support your appeal, the RAD will decide if the new evidence meets the following test:

  • it did not exist when the RPD rejected your claim;
  • it was not reasonably available when the RPD rejected your claim; or
  • in the circumstances, the RPD could not reasonably have expected you to have provided it when it rejected your claim.

If the RAD does not hold a hearing, its reasons for decision on your appeal will explain whether the evidence you provided met this test.

Decision to have a hearing

A RAD hearing will only be held if you provided new evidence (as described above) and the member agrees that the new evidence:

  • shows that there might be a serious issue about your credibility;
  • is central to the decision on your claim; and
  • if accepted, would provide a good reason to allow or reject your refugee protection claim.

How will I know that I have to go to a hearing?

The RAD will send you and the Minister a notice to appear. This notice will tell you the date, time and location of your hearing. It will also tell you what issues the RAD will consider at the hearing.

What will happen at the hearing?

  1. You will be called to testify
    You will testify in the same way as you did at your RPD hearing. Generally, you will only be able to testify about the issues in the list that was sent to you with the notice to appear.
  2. Witnesses will testify
    If there are any witnesses, they will testify after you have testified.
  3. Representations will be made about your case
    After you and any witnesses have testified, the member will ask you or your counsel to explain why you think your RPD decision should be changed, based on the hearing that just took place. The member will tell you what issues you need to talk about and how long you have to do so. If the Minister is intervening, the Minister’s counsel will also be allowed to make representations on your case.
  4. A decision will be made after the hearing
    The member will not usually make a decision right away at the end of the hearing. You will receive a written decision in the mail.

What types of decision can a RAD member make?

The RAD member will make one of the following decisions:

  • confirm (agree with) the RPD decision;
  • set aside (disagree with) the RPD decision and replace it with a different decision; or
  • refer (send) the case back to the RPD and order a new hearing, giving the RPD the directions that it considers appropriate.

When will I find out about the RAD decision?

The RAD is expected to make its decision no more than 90 days after the appeal was perfected, unless there is a hearing. If there is a hearing, the RAD will make a decision as soon as possible after the hearing.