The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada is composed of the Refugee Protection Division (RPD - initial refugee hearings), the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD - appeals from decisions of the Refugee Protection Division), the Immigration Division (ID - admissibility and detention review hearings), and the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD - unlike the RAD, most appeals come directly from orders of the Minister and not from ID decisions).  

What is the Appeal Jurisdiction of the IAD?

The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada hears appeals on failed sponsorship applications, challenges by the government that a person has not met his or her minimum permanent residence obligations, and on removal orders issued against individuals. 

If your situation doesn't fall within the narrow subjects that the Immigration & Refugee Protection Act says the IAD is permitted to consider appeals on, you may be stuck seeking leave to bring a judicial review application before the Federal Court, which is the place you go if you've exhausted all your other appeals (or never had an appeal route to start with). 

What is the Appeal Process at the IAD? 

The IAD appeal process before a single hearing officer is very similar to an appeal in a court, though there are no court clerks or reporters: just the IAD hearing officer, who presses the record button on the audio equipment, or connects remotely with the hearing room you are in by videoconference. 

You should file evidence supporting your case in advance of the hearing date (usually by way of affidavits and documentary exhibits), witnesses can be called to testify in person at the IAD hearing similar to at a trial in a court (including by Skype or other remote video means), and legal arguments are made by the parties for and against the appeal (sometimes in both written and oral submission form).

While each IRB appeal case is fact-specific, past precedent of other earlier IRB and court decisions is important. So conducting painstaking legal research to find favourable past decisions that deal with similar factual and legal issues is vital, which are then presented to the hearing officer at the hearing.

It's strongly suggested that legal counsel be retained for an IRB appeal. Rules of evidence and rules of procedure can be complex. While a tribunal is supposed to be simpler than a court, you've only got one shot to make a good impression, and this is definitely a legalistic process. 

Top #1 Tip for Winning an IRB IAD Appeal

Focus on producing compelling credible evidence, that is interlinked and cross-supported by other evidence. So one witness will support the story of another witness, one document will support the story of another document. And all witnesses and documents support each other.

Imagine that you are building a house, where each component needs to fit into and support each other component, so that the house doesn't collapse. 

Stress facts, not law, at an IRB appeal. The more detailed your facts, the better the chance you will have at being believed. Especially try to go beyond just the unsupported word of the appellant in presenting facts. There may be a lack of extensive corroboration, because documents or witnesses are impossible to access in another country, but even weak corroboration is better than no corroboration at all. 

Though don't entirely ignore law - other past decisions from the IRB on facts similar to your own can be compelling in steering a hearing officer towards a favourable or negative decision.