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:

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
1.1.2 Respondents who have been detained
1.1.3 Respondents involved with immigration inquiries
1.1.4 Respondents involved in immigration appeals

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
1.2.2 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.

1.2.3 Respondents who have been detained
1.2.4 Respondents involved in immigration inquiries
1.2.5 Respondents involved in immigration appeals