Processing of refugee claims and appeals for individuals applying under government of Canada special measure

​​​​On December 9, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that, starting December 14, 2020, it will be accepting applications for permanent residence from pending and unsuccessful refugee claimants who worked in Canada's health care sector and provided direct care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more detailed information, please consult the Government of Canada's announcement.

To support this special measure, the Deputy Chairpersons of both the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) have issued a practice notice which sets out how the RPD and the RAD will proceed with refugee claims and appeals for those individuals who have made applications under this special measure.

Upon notification by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that a refugee claimant or appellant has made an application, the RPD or RAD will put a hold on the claim or appeal, pending the outcome of the application. This includes claims and appeals that were returned by the RAD or the Federal Court for redetermination. The RPD will not stop processing claims where a hearing had started and substantive evidence (for example, testimony at the hearing, or written representations) was accepted. Those claims will continue to be heard and a decision issued. The RAD will proceed with any appeal where, in the discretion of the RAD, substantive work has begun on the appeal. For more detailed information, please consult the practice notice​.

Should a refugee claimant or appellant's application for this special measure be unsuccessful, the IRB will ensure that the processing of their claim or appeal is actioned in a timely manner.

The IRB is proceeding in this manner so that applicants do not have to pursue two simultaneous processes, and to avoid duplication and inefficient use of Asylum system resources.