Representation for Immigrants and Refugee Claimants

Appendix 1 Interview Guide - Claimants, Appellants, Detainees, etc.

General introduction

At the outset of each interview, the interviewer should make it clear to each respondent that the interview is for the purpose of gathering information about the respondent's personal experience in the immigration and refugee processes in which they are or have been involved. Explain to respondents that all responses will be treated anonymously and will not be linked to them in any way.

The identity of individual respondents should not be recorded on any interview notes. With the express consent of individual respondents, interviewers may tape interviews for reference in preparation of their interview notes. Any tape recordings are for interviewers' personal use only and do not form part of the documentation for the project.

The interviewer should explain to respondents that the study is a being carried out to identify the representation needs of immigrants and refugee claimants and to identify the types of representation available to them.

The interviewer should clarify that questions are designed to gather information on the following matters:

  • types of representation the individual respondents have had;
  • the respondents' subjective assessment of the adequacy of the representation they have had at the various stages of the immigration and refugee proceedings in which they have been involved; and
  • the respondents' overall assessment regarding the need for representation and, specifically, what sort of representation they require.

Immigrant and refugee respondents are divided into three groups, paralleling the processes in the three different division of the IRB. Respondents who have been involved in proceedings before more than one division should be questioned on their experience in each division. There is significant overlap in the questions directed to the three different groups. Where an individual respondent is being questioned with respect to experiences in more than one division, the interviewer should collapse the overlapping questions to avoid unnecessary duplication. However, responses should be cross-referenced to related questions.

1. Questions for specific groups of respondents

As a preliminary matter, interviewers need to ask respondents a number of questions to identify the groups into which each respondent falls and to give context to their responses with regard to the specific questions on representation.

For refugee claimants, we need to know when the respondent claimed refugee status in Canada; whether the claim was made at the point of entry or inland after the claimant had been in Canada for some time; what stage each respondent is at in the refugee determination process; and, for respondents whose claim has been determined, whether or not the claim was accepted.

For persons who have been detained, we need to know when the respondent was detained; the reasons why the respondent was detained; and for how long the respondent was detained.

For persons who have been the subject of an immigration inquiry, we need to establish the circumstances under which the respondent was referred to an immigration inquiry.

For respondents who have been involved in immigration appeals, we need to establish the type of appeal in which each respondent has been involved.

The following questions are directed to gathering this background information.

1.1 Background questions

1.1.1 Refugee Claimants
  • 1.1.1.1 When (how long ago) did you make your refugee claim?
  • 1.1.1.2 Did you make your refugee claim immediately when you arrived in Canada, or did you make it after you had been in Canada for some time?
    • On arrival (POE)
    • On own initiative after arrival (inland)
    • When faced with possible removal (inland)
  • 1.1.1.3 What stage in the determination process are you at today?
    • Pre-hearing
      • PIF not yet filed/PIF filed and waiting for hearing
    • Hearing
      • CRDD hearing in progress or completed/CRDD decision received
    • Post-determination
      • Has protected status in Canada
    • Judicial review
      • Awaiting decision: on leave/on judicial review after leave granted
      • Judicial review decision received /Awaiting new hearing at CRDD
      • New CRDD decision received
    • Administrative appeals
      • PDRCC: application in progress/decision received
      • H&C: application in progress/decision received
    • Awaiting removal
1.1.2 Respondents who have been detained
  • 1.1.2.1 When were you detained by Canadian immigration authorities?
    • At point of entry
    • Upon being discovered to be in Canada illegally
    • After presenting an inland refugee claim
    • After refugee claim was determined
    • After departure order issued
    • Other (specify)
  • 1.1.2.2 What reasons were given for detaining you?
    • To establish identity
    • For security reasons
    • Flight risk
  • 1.1.2.3 For how long were you detained? 1.1.2.4 Were you represented at any of your detention review hearings? Which hearings?
    • Initial review hearing (within 48 hours of detention)
    • 7-day review hearing
    • subsequent review hearings at which no new evidence was presented
    • subsequent review hearings at which at which new evidence was presented
    • hearing at which respondent was released
1.1.3 Respondents involved with immigration inquiries
  • 1.1.3.1 Under what circumstances were you referred to an immigration inquiry?
    • At point of entry
    • Upon discovery in Canada without apparent lawful authorization
    • Upon criminal conviction or charge with a serious offence
1.1.4 Respondents involved in immigration appeals
  • 1.1.4.1 What was the nature of the appeal in which you were involved?
    • appeal from a removal order
    • sponsorship appeal (specify relationship to person sponsored)

1.2 Knowledge of Process

The following questions are directed to eliciting information from respondents regarding the level of their knowledge about the legal processes in which they are involved. Specifically, we are interested in ascertaining whether claimants had any knowledge about these processes before their case was initiated, what level of knowledge they currently have, and how and from whom they have acquired that knowledge.

The question should be presented as clearly and simply as possible. Respondents should be allowed to answer in their own words. If the answers are not clear, interviewers should encourage respondents to elaborate.

Specific questions are framed for each group of respondents.

1.2.1 Refugee Claimants - Refugee Determination Process
  • 1.2.1.1 When did you find out that could make a refugee claim in Canada?
  • 1.2.1.2 When did you decide to make a refugee claim in Canada?
  • 1.2.1.3 Before you made your refugee claim, did you know how to obtain refugee status in Canada? Did you know what you would have to prove to qualify as a Convention refugee?
  • 1.2.1.4 Has your understanding about the procedures and the legal requirements to obtain refugee status in Canada changed since you made your refugee claim? In what way has it changed? Why has it changed? 1.2.1.5 Did anyone give you advice with respect to these procedures and legal requirements before you made your refugee claim?

    Where respondents indicate that they have received advice from more than one person, the following two questions should be posed with reference to each person who has given advice.

  • 1.2.1.6 What advice have they given to you?
  • 1.2.1.7 What use have you made of their advice?
1.2.2 Refugee Claimants - eligibility interview

The following questions are intended to examine the respondents' experience in the eligibility interview. Specifically, we are interested in finding out whether the claimants required the assistance of an interpreter, whether they understood the purpose of the interview and the questions that they were asked, and whether they feel the immigration officer understood the answers they gave. This may shed some light on the issue of what advice, if any, claimants need at the front end of the process.

  • 1.2.2.1 When you were first interviewed by an immigration officer after you made your refugee claim, did you understand the purpose of the interview? What was your understanding?
  • 1.2.2.2 Did anyone explain the purpose of the interview to you?
  • 1.2.2.3 Did you understand the immigration officer's questions? Do you think the immigration officer understood your responses? Please explain.
  • 1.2.2.4 Is there any information or advice that you feel you should have had when you were first interviewed by an immigration officer? Please elaborate.
1.2.3 Respondents who have been detained
  • 1.2.3.1 When you were first detained, what did you know about:
    • the purpose of detention review hearings?
    • the procedures relating to detention review hearings?
    • what you were required to establish in order to be released from detention?
  • 1.2.3.2 Who has given you information about the purpose of detention review hearings and what you are required to establish in order to be released?
    • Representative
    • Adjudicator
    • Immigration officer
    • Officials at detention centre
    • Other
    • No one
  • 1.2.3.3 What information have they given to you?
  • 1.2.3.4 What use have you made of that information?
1.2.4 Respondents involved in immigration inquiries
  • 1.2.4.1 When you were first summoned to an immigration inquiry, what did you know about:
    • the purpose of inquiry?
    • the procedures relating to inquiry?
    • what you were required to establish in order to be allowed to remain in Canada?
  • 1.2.4.2 Who has given you information about the purpose of immigration inquiries and what you are required to establish in order to be allowed to remain in Canada?
    • Representative
    • Adjudicator
    • Immigration officer
    • Officials at detention centre
    • Other
    • No one
  • 1.2.4.3 What information have they given to you?
  • 1.2.4.4 What use have you made of that information?
1.2.5 Respondents involved in immigration appeals
  • 1.2.5.1 When and how did you learn that you could appeal the decision of the adjudicator/the visa officer? Please elaborate.
  • 1.2.5.2 Before you made your appeal, did you know anything about the procedures relating to immigration appeals, what you needed to prove to succeed in your appeal and the legal requirements for an immigration appeal? Please elaborate.
  • 1.2.5.3 Who has given you information about immigration appeals?
    • Representative
    • Adjudicator
    • Immigration officer
    • Officials at detention centre
    • Other
    • No one
  • 1.2.5.4 What information have they given to you?
  • 1.2.5.5 What use have you made of that information?
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