Remote Testimony by Videoconference – Questions and Answers

How do I request videoconference services for my hearing?

When you provide the name(s) of each witness that will testify during your hearing, you must also indicate if they will connect by videoconference and, if so, by which service. This can be done using the Confirmation of Hearing Needs form that is mailed together with the Notice to Appear for your hearing. If you do not have this form, you can download it or just make a request in writing to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) office in your region.

Which videoconferencing services will be available?

The IAD will provide the computer, Internet connection and display with the following videoconference services pre‑installed:

  • Skype
  • WebEx
  • Google Hangouts
  • ooVoo
  • Vidyo

You or your counsel will be required to have your own account for the chosen service. Remember to have your username and password on hand so you can login at the beginning of the hearing. The remote participant will also be required to have an account for the same service, as well as the required technical equipment to access that service (i.e., a computer or suitable device with video capabilities and an Internet connection).

What if I require a videoconferencing service not listed above?

The IAD recognizes that not all videoconferencing services may be suitable depending on the needs or location of the remote participant. Therefore, please advise the IAD as early as possible so that we can verify if your preferred videoconferencing application can be installed prior to the hearing. Please note that Apple applications such as FaceTime are not supported at this time.

Can I use videoconference if I am overseas and do not have counsel?

Yes, you can use videoconference to participate in your hearing. Since you do not have anyone attending the hearing in person, you will need to provide the IAD with your preferred videoconference service and your account name. The IAD can then connect you at the time of your hearing using the videoconference application you requested.

What happens if the video connection fails or is not adequate during the hearing?

As is currently the case with witness testimony heard by telephone, you or your counsel is responsible for ensuring that the witness is available and ready to give evidence at the time their testimony is required. In addition, as is the case with testimony heard by telephone, the role of the IAD is simply to make the technology available. The IAD does not guarantee that the video connection will always work.

An appeal should not have to be delayed if the videoconferencing service does not function as required. In such an event, the IAD will telephone the witness directly (without the need of a calling card) so that the witness can be promptly reached. It is your obligation to provide the IAD with the witness’s telephone number and ensure the witness is available at that number during the hearing.

What if I or my witness do not currently use any videoconferencing services?

You can register for a videoconference service listed above that both you and your witness can access from your computers or other devices.

If you or your witness cannot register or do not have the required hardware, you must indicate on the confirmation of hearing needs form that you will need to telephone the witness. At the hearing, the IAD will telephone your witness using the telephone number you provided. A calling card will not be required.

Is videoconferencing available in all regions and locations?

Videoconferencing for remote witness testimony is available in all permanent IAD office locations, which includes the Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver offices. Hearings held in itinerant locations, such as Halifax, Edmonton, Winnipeg and other cities in the prairies do not have this capability at this time.

Who can I contact if I have questions about remote testimony by videoconference?

For more information, please contact your regional IAD office.