Serious Problems Experienced by People with Disabilities Living in Atlantic Canada

Appendix A - Interview Guide

Serious Legal Problems: People with Disabilities, Eastern Region

Original Document Created by Doris Rajan, PhD Modification to Guide for Eastern Region by Sue Davis, Member of Project Team, Human Development Council With Permission from Doris Rajan, PhD

Interview Guide12

April 2020

Consent Process

A Letter of Information and Consent for interview participants will be completed in advance by all those who have agreed to participate. The researcher will review the information in this letter before the interview begins.

Thank you for agreeing to participate. I am a researcher who has been engaged by Justice Canada to conduct a small qualitative study on legal problems experienced by people with disabilities in the eastern region of Canada. This research is being carried out to complement the national Canadian Legal Problems Survey. In this interview I will be asking questions about; 1) The types of legal problems that you may have experienced in the last three years; 2) The ways you have attempted to resolve those problems; and 3) The outcome and impact of these experiences.

The information you share today is completely confidential, and I will not associate your name with anything you say in this interview. I would like to tape this interview so that I can make sure to capture the thoughts, opinions, and ideas that you share today. The information will be used exclusively to inform this research. You may refuse to answer any question or withdraw from the study at any time and you will still receive an honorarium. If you have any questions now, during or after this interview, please feel free to contact me.

I. Explanation of the process

This interview will last for a maximum of one hour. There are no wrong or right answers. I am here to learn from you. Any questions? Here we go!

Turn on recording device.

II. Introduction

If you would like, tell me a bit about yourself.

III. Questions:

  1. Have you experienced any serious problems or had any interactions with the legal system in the last three years?
  2. Probes
    1. Purchases or services *
    2. Work-related problem *
    3. Financial – bank or collection agency *
    4. Family related – child custody, domestic violence *
    5. Discrimination – due to disability, race, gender, age, etc.*
    6. Health care system
    7. Property: vandalism, property destruction
    8. Landlord
    9. Income or social assistance
    10. Immigration related
    11. Interaction with the police

If there is more than one problem, go to Question 2.

Question 1: Additional Probes
  1. Purchases or services
    • a large purchase for which you did not receive what you paid for (e.g., home, car, truck, motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, or major appliances);
    • major repairs or renovations for which you did not receive what you paid for
    • (e.g., home renovations, repairs done to your car, truck, motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, or major appliances);
    • not getting what you paid for in a service (e.g., a moving company, a health club membership, a vacation package or having your taxes prepared);
    • a safety concern with something you bought;
    • an insurance claim;
    • a bill or invoice that was incorrect;
    • not getting a refund.
  2. Work-related problem
    • not being paid your wages, not being paid for working overtime, not getting vacation pay, severance pay, or other wages that you believe were owed to you;
    • being fired or dismissed from a job;
    • being refused child-related leave (e.g., maternity or parental leave), sick leave, or other rights that were part of agreed conditions of work;
    • a safety issue at your job or workplace;
    • being subject to disciplinary procedures at work.
  3. Financial – bank or collection agency
    • personal bankruptcy;
    • a collection agency contacting you repeatedly to get you to pay an outstanding bill or debt;
    • the refusal of credit because of inaccurate information;
    • a bank or credit union contacting you repeatedly to get you to pay an incorrect charge;
    • an electricity, gas, or cable company, or any other utility contacting you repeatedly to get you to pay an incorrect charge;
    • a threat of legal action from an individual, a company, or a government agency to collect debt;
    • misleading or incorrect information that led you to buy insurance, pensions, mortgages, or other financial products;
    • collecting money owed to you Exclude rent or any housing-related money owed.(e.g., a loan to a friend or family member).
  4. Family related – child custody, domestic violence
    • the division of money or property following a family breakdown;
    • collecting spousal support that you were awarded by the court;
    • applying for, enforcing, or making changes to a spousal support order;
    • obtaining or enforcing a restraining or civil protection order in the case of a couple or family breakdown;
    • applying for, making changes to, or enforcing child support;
    • child custody or access arrangements;
    • becoming the guardian of a child who is not your own;
    • any of your children, or a child under your care, being taken away by a family services agency;
    • a child abduction or threat of abduction.
  5. Discrimination
    • Where did you experience harassment (e.g., school, in a store, at work, when dealing with the police?)
    • Was the harassment based on any of the following grounds (e.g., race, colour, ethnicity; Indigenous identity; religion; age; sex, gender identity or expression; sexual orientation; marital status; family status; a physical or mental disability; language, etc.?)
    • Please indicate the nature of the harassment you experienced (e.g., aggressive behaviour, offensive remark, sexual comment, or gesture, etc.).
  1. Do you think any of your serious problems were connected to one another? Probe:

    Which of the problems may have caused or contributed to the other problems that you experienced?

  2. Did you think the problem was serious?
  3. What did you do to try and solve this serious problem?
  4. Probes:
    1. Did you contact the other party in the dispute?
    2. Did you seek advice from friends or relatives?
    3. Were you aware of supports and resources that were available to you?
    4. Did you search the internet for resources and/or supports?
    5. Did you reach out to any community organization?
    6. Did you attend court?
    7. If you received legal advice, who did you receive legal advice from?
    8. If you did not receive advice from a legal professional, why not?
    9. What approaches did you find helpful?
    10. What approaches did you find unhelpful?
    11. If you did not take action, why not?
  5. What was the outcome? What happened?
  6. Probes
    1. How much did legal professionals help?
    2. What is the current status of the problem?
    3. Were there any costs associated with the problem?
  7. What has been the effect of these problems on your life?
  8. Probes
    • On your mental/emotional health?
    • On your physical health?
    • Financially?
    • In your relationships?

    This is the end of the interview. For purposes of noting any differences between groups of people, could I ask you some questions about how you self-identify?

    Again, all the information I am gathering is confidential and will not be connected to your name.

    Socio-Demographic Information

    1. What is your gender?
      • Male
      • Female
      • Another gender - please specify
    2. Do you identify as:
      • Heterosexual
      • Two-spirited
      • Lesbian or gay
      • Bisexual
      • Other – please specify
    3. Do you identify as Indigenous?
      • First Nations
      • Métis
      • Inuk
    4. What type(s) of disability do you identify with?
    5. Citizenship Status
      • Born in Canada
      • Born outside Canada (please specify country)
      • Canadian citizen
      • Landed immigrant
      • Permanent resident
    6. Do you identify as:
      • White
      • South Asian (e.g., East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan)
      • Chinese
      • Black and/or African
      • Filipino
      • Arab
      • Latin American
      • Southeast Asian (e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai)
      • West Asian (e.g., Iranian, Afghan)
      • Korean
      • Japanese
      • Other (please specify)
    7. What is the highest certificate, diploma, or degree that you have completed?
    8. Do you live
      • In the city?
      • In a rural area?
    9. Which of these describes you?
      • Full time employed
      • Part time employed
      • Not employed for pay
      • Caregiver (e.g., children, elderly)
      • Homemaker
      • Full-time student
      • Part-time student
      • Other
    10. Which of these describes your income last year?
      • $1 to $9,999
      • $10,000 to $24,000
      • $25,000 to $49,000
      • $50,000 to $74,000
      • $75,000 to $99,000
      • $100,000 to $149,000
      • $150,000 or greater


    12 This guide uses language and formatting from the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA) Focus Group Discussion Guide. Retrieved 20 May 2016 from: