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What is ADR in Canadian immigration?

What is ADR in Canadian immigration?

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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a way for two or more people to settle a disagreement without going to court. ADR can be used for a variety of immigration-related disagreements, such as applications for permanent residency, claims of being a refugee, and orders to deport someone. Mediation, arbitration, and negotiation are all forms of ADR.

By knowing how ADR works and what kinds of ADR methods are available, parties can decide how to settle their immigration-related disputes in a smart way. By following the steps in this post, the parties to a dispute can use ADR effectively and may be able to settle it quickly, easily, and with less stress.

ADR in Canada Immigration can help solve problems faster, save money, and reduce stress. ADR can be faster than going to court because the parties can schedule the meeting when and where it is most convenient for them. 

ADR can also be less expensive, as parties can avoid the costs associated with court fees, lawyers’ fees, and other legal expenses. ADR can also be less stressful because the parties can avoid the adversarial nature of court and instead talk to each other in a constructive way to find a solution.

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Immigration-related disputes that can be resolved using ADR include disputes related to permanent residency applications, refugee claims, and deportation orders. ADR can also be used to settle disagreements about work permits, study permits, and visitor visas.

Types of ADR in Canada Immigration

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is used a lot in Canada Immigration. The three main types of ADR are mediation, arbitration, and negotiation. Each method has pros and cons, and picking the right one can depend on the type of dispute and the people involved.

Mediation is a non-binding process in which a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the parties talk to each other and find a solution that works for everyone. When both sides are willing to work together to find a solution and keep their relationship, mediation works best.

Mediation is often used when there is a disagreement about a family sponsorship or a work permit or a study permit. For example, if an employer and an employee can’t agree on the terms of a work permit, a mediator can help them do so.

Arbitration is a binding process where a neutral third party, the arbitrator, hears evidence and makes a legally binding decision on both sides. Arbitration is best when the parties can’t come to an agreement through negotiation or mediation and need a final answer.

Arbitration is often used to settle disputes about immigration appeals, claims of being a refugee, or orders to deport someone. For example, if a refugee claimant disagrees with the decision of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), they can request an arbitration hearing to reconsider their case.

Negotiation is a non-binding process where both sides try to come to an agreement by talking directly and making concessions. Negotiation works best when the people involved already know each other and want to find a solution that works for both of them.

Negotiation is often used when there is a disagreement about an application for permanent residency or when there is a disagreement between an employer and an employee.

For example, if an employer and an employee disagree about the terms of an application for permanent residency, they can talk about a solution that works for both of them.

Advantages of ADR for Immigration in Canada

  • ADR in Canada Immigration benefits many. Benefits include speedier problem-solving. This can avoid court and hasten up resolution.
  • ADR lowers expenses. Lawyers can increase court costs. ADR can save money on legal fees and time. This helps those who can’t afford lengthy court proceedings.
  • Mediation and negotiation help parties reach a consensus. This can assist parties to avoid fighting in court. Since parties can negotiate the resolution to satisfy their interests, ADR can also lead to more flexible and personalised dispute resolutions.
  • ADR also maintains relationships. ADR can keep family or employer-employee disputes out of court, preserving relationships. ADR can also resolve immigration problems, such as permanent residency petitions, to prevent deportation or other harm.

Canada’s ADR process for immigration

Most of the time, the following steps make up the ADR process in Canada Immigration:

  • When picking ADR: First, parties must agree to use ADR to resolve their dispute. They can choose from several types of ADR, including mediation, arbitration, or negotiation.
  • Selecting a mediator or arbitrator: If parties choose mediation or arbitration, they must select a neutral third party to facilitate the process. The mediator or arbitrator will help guide the parties to a solution and make it easier for them to talk to each other.
  • Getting ready for the ADR meeting: Before the session, the parties should get ready by gathering all relevant documents and information, such as immigration applications and supporting documents. They should also know what they want to get out of the ADR session and be ready to say it clearly.
  • Opening statements: Usually, the mediator or arbitrator will start the meeting by giving an overview of the ADR process and talking about the ground rules. Parties can also say what they think about the dispute in their opening statements.
  • Negotiation or mediation: Parties will work together to find a solution during a negotiation or mediation session. The mediator will help people talk to each other and find things they have in common. Parties can come up with ideas and make offers to help reach a deal.
  • Arbitration: In an arbitration session, the arbitrator will listen to evidence and arguments from both parties and make a binding decision. This usually happens when the two sides can’t come to an agreement through negotiation or mediation.
  • Settlement agreement: If the parties can come to an agreement, they will write up a settlement agreement that spells out the terms. This deal will be binding and can’t be broken.
  • Follow-up: Once a settlement is reached, check back on any unresolved issues or actions that need to be taken to finish the resolution. Keep in mind that the settlement agreement is legally binding, and if you don’t follow its terms, you could get in trouble.


  • ADR can save time, money, and relationships in Canadian immigration problems.
  • ADR is an excellent alternative to court for immigration disputes.
  • Before ADR, gather all relevant documents.
  • The mediator or arbiter facilitates ADR and helps parties to a resolution.
  • The mediator or arbitrator writes a binding settlement agreement if an agreement is achieved.
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