Once a Notice of Appeal has been filed, the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) may contact you about participating in an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) conference. In the immigration appeal context, ADR is a great opportunity to try and resolve the appeal in a more informal and non-confrontational environment, without the need for a formal hearing. Additionally, appeals dealt with through ADR are resolved much faster than those which require a formal hearing.

If a file is proposed for the ADR process, the participants will be given a conference date. Any documentation must be filed no later than ten days before the conference.

In Vancouver, ADR conferences take place in a small meeting room at the Immigration and Refugee Board and are usually scheduled for one hour. At the meeting, an employee of the IAD will act as a Dispute Resolution Officer, and will encourage the parties to come to an agreement as to how the appeal should be resolved.

Due to its informal nature, the only participants in the process are the Appellant, the Appellant’s counsel, a representative from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Dispute Resolution Officer.

In the sponsorship appeal context, the sponsor is the Appellant and the family member who was being sponsored is unable to participate in the process directly. However, access to ADR is not limited to family sponsorship appeals and may be offered in cases where permanent residents or permanent resident visa holders have been found inadmissible for misrepresentation, criminality or for failing to meet residency obligations.

If an agreement between the parties is reached, it must then be approved by a Member of the IAD. In the event that the appeal cannot be resolved at the ADR stage, a formal appeal hearing will be scheduled. None of the statements, documentation or other information given at the ADR will be disclosed at the formal hearing – the entire ADR process remains confidential.