Immigration Detention Representation Program now a permanent service
Published: April 3, 2023
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is making its Immigration Detention Representation Program (IDRP) a permanent service, following a successful pilot which has significantly increased the number of people in immigration detention who have been able to get legal help.
High demand for IDRP services
LAO created the Immigration Detention Representation Program in 2021, made up of roster lawyers, staff lawyers and staff paralegals, to ensure immigration detainees are represented at detention review hearings. Since the IDRP’s launch, the Immigration and Refugee Board has reported that the rate of representation at immigration detention reviews has risen from below 40% to 99%. At least 80% of people in immigration detention in Ontario now rely on the IDRP for legal help.
Increasing capacity to assist detainees
LAO will be increasing the number of staff in its refugee law offices in Toronto and Hamilton and in its Integrated Legal Services Office in Ottawa to continue to meet the high demand for services and ensure counsel are available for hearings. LAO also encourages refugee and immigration roster lawyers to continue to participate or consider enrolling in the program.