Temporary Refugee and Immigration Certificate Authorizations for COVID‑19 – UPDATED
Published: February 8, 2021
The following authorizations have been extended until March 31, 2021. An additional two hours will continue to be added to all new Basis of Claim certificates. Lawyers may now request an additional two hours for representation before the RPD for hearings scheduled to take place between July 20, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Please use the updated COVID‑19 Refugee and Immigration Authorization Request form.
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is implementing some temporary measures to assist private bar lawyers representing refugee claimants and Humanitarian and Compassionate applicants. These temporary changes are to reflect the additional work to advise and assist clients during the COVID‑19 pandemic.
This communication contains important information on the temporary measures and how lawyers can request and bill them.
The temporary measures are:
Additional 2 hours for preparation and filing of Basis of Claim (BOC) forms
An additional 2 hours has been automatically added to every BOC preparation certificate issued since Marchn 1, 2020. There is no requirement for counsel to request these hours.
Additional 2 hours for representation before the RPD
This will be available for lawyers to request for any refugee claim scheduled for a hearing between July 20, 2020 and March 31, 2021 (even if the hearing did not proceed as scheduled).
Lawyers should use the COVID‑19 Refugee and Immigration Authorization Request form to request these hours for certificates that meet the criteria. Follow the instructions on the form. Please ensure you have already requested and received RPD hearing authorization on the certificates prior to requesting the additional COVID‑19 hours.
Additional 3 hours for further Humanitarian and Compassionate Ground submissions
This will be available for lawyers to request for H&C applications submitted to IRCC before October 1, 2020, where the lawyer has submitted or intends to submit updated evidence or submissions related to the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the client’s circumstances.
Lawyers should use the COVID‑19 Refugee and Immigration Authorization Request form to request these hours for certificates that meet the criteria. Follow the instructions on the form.
These temporary measures may be extended after March 31, 2021.
The following apply to all three measures:
For certificates that are already final billed, lawyers can submit supplementary accounts to bill the new hours.
If you previously billed hours above the tariff maximum that were not paid, do not submit a new account. Send a request to the Lawyer Services and Payments department through Legal Aid Online asking that the new authorization be applied to the unpaid hours.
If you require up to three additional interpreter hours (above the pre-authorized ten hours), these can be billed without seeking additional authorizations and will be paid. Requests for additional interpreter hours in excess of thirteen hours should be made through the normal process by uploading a brief request in Legal Aid Online under the “Communications for LSP” link.
LAO strongly encourages lawyers to request and bill these hours prior to the end of the current fiscal year on March 31, 2021.