Refugee and immigration panel standards consultation

This consultation has concluded

The consultation closed on Feb. 28, 2014.


LAO will collaborate with the RLA and take into consideration the concerns and feedback received so far to develop a second draft of the standards. It will use this second draft as the basis for further consultation and development with the goal of finalizing and implementing the minimum professional standards for LAO-funded refugee and immigration service providers later in 2014.


Original consultation

Key dates

The deadline for all written submissions is Feb. 28, 2014. There will be in-person and online consultations between Dec. 3 and Feb. 28. For details, see How to respond.


Jawad A. Kassab - LLB, MDiv, MBA
Executive Lead, Refugee Services Transformation
Legal Aid Ontario
Telephone: (416) 979-1446 x4705
Fax: (416) 979-2948


Currently, LAO has one set of panel standards, which were developed over ten years ago and apply to all refugee-related work.

LAO is proposing two separate sets of standards which would apply to private bar lawyers, LAO staff lawyers, licensed paralegals and those working on service contracts:

  1. A general standard for Refugee Protection Division work as well as detention reviews and applications for humanitarian and compassionate consideration and pre-removal risk assessments, and

  2. An appellate standard for matters before the Refugee Appeal Division and the courts.

This update is timely. The Refugee Lawyers Association and other stakeholders have long argued that the current standards are too weak, and lack mechanisms for review of compliance and remedial action. The standards also fail to distinguish between the appropriate levels of expertise and experience required for different kinds of cases.


How to respond

While LAO is open to all comments during these consultations, we are particularly interested in feedback regarding the following questions:

  1. Is the proposed split between general and appellate standards appropriate?
  2. Do you support the idea of renewable term limits for panels?
  3. Are the objective experience thresholds (eg # of cases per two years) appropriate?
  4. Do you agree with the service expectations and best practices guides?
  5. Is there anything missing from the standards LAO should consider adding?
  6. Is there anything you believe LAO ought to remove from the standards?

Consultation dates

Consultations will be held on the following dates and locations:


Location (click a location to register)


December 3, 2013 Provincial office (40 Dundas Street West, Toronto) 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
December 12, 2013 Ottawa District office (85 Albert Street) 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
January 8, 2014 Hamilton District office (110 King Street) 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
January 14, 2014 Online French language teleconference 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
January 14, 2014 Provincial office French language (40 Dundas Street West, Toronto) 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
January 15, 2014 Online English language teleconference 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
January 15, 2014 Provincial office (40 Dundas Street West, Toronto) 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
January 21, 2014 Provincial office (40 Dundas Street West, Toronto) 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.