Immigration Detention Representation Program

Roster lawyer participation

LAO invites lawyers on the general immigration and refugee law roster to participate in the Immigration Detention Representation Program (IDRP).

The IDRP uses a collaborative approach between refugee roster lawyers acting on certificates and LAO’s three refugee staff offices: the Refugee Law Offices (RLO) in Toronto and Hamilton, and the Ottawa Integrated Legal Services Office (ILSO). The program aims to connect unrepresented detained clients with counsel in time to ensure meaningful representation at the 48‑hour review hearing, and subsequent hearings, if the client remains in detention. It also provides training and mentorship to roster lawyers doing detention work. The aim of this hybrid model is to ensure access to counsel for all unrepresented immigration detainees in Ontario.

In the IDRP:

  • LAO staff offices will communicate with the Immigration Division Registry on a daily basis to connect with unrepresented persons in detention who have detention review hearings the following day or week.

  • The staff offices will coordinate among RLO and ILSO staff counsel and roster lawyers participating in the IDRP to ensure representation at the detention hearings.

  • Detainees maintain the ability to obtain a legal aid certificate outside of the IDRP if they so choose and retain a roster lawyer who is not participating in the program.

  • Roster lawyers are not required to participate in the IDRP to represent a detainee on a certificate.

  • The IDRP training webinars are available to all roster lawyers, whether or not they participate in the program, through LAO LAW.

How to apply and what to include in your application

Interested applicants should prepare an application package including the following:

  1. A statement of interest in the program, which includes a description of any past experience with immigration detention matters
  2. Résumé/CV
  3. Two professional references (name and contact information only)
  4. Optional: a detention review transcript at which the applicant provided representation, if available

A complete application package should be delivered by email to:

Refugee Law Office (
Integrated Service Office (
(for lawyers wishing to do hearings in the Ottawa area)

Selection criteria

Both new and experienced calls are encouraged to apply.

Selection of the lawyer participants will be based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated interest in immigration detention matters
  • Past experience in immigration detention matters
  • Availability to meet program participation expectations
  • Record in good standing with the LSO and LAO
  • Feedback from references provided by the applicants

LAO retains sole discretion to select lawyers for the program and remove participating lawyers if program expectations cannot be met.

Program participation expectations

Roster lawyers participating in the IDRP should be available for up to three detention hearings per month, typically on very short notice. Lawyers participating in the Ottawa IDRP are not required to commit to a minimum number of hearings per month. Scheduling will be based on the lawyer’s availability and the demand for services.

Participants must also successfully complete the IDRP training program, which is eligible for CPD hours.