Tours help refugee claimants navigate asylum hearings
On a recent Thursday, 11 asylum seekers streamed into Hearing Room 9 on the fourth floor of the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Toronto headquarters on Victoria St. But not to have their cases heard.
Instead, pen and notepaper ready, the claimants from nine countries paid careful attention to “tour guide” Dan Crawford, as he offered tips that could mean a lot to the success of their asylum claims.
Crawford, an analyst with the refugee board, has presented more than 10 such READY orientation tours for GTA refugee claimants since May, an effort to help them navigate the asylum hearing process and learn about what to do and not to do at the proceeding.
“We are here to assist you to prepare for your hearings, see the room, learn about the process and ask questions,” said Crawford, standing in front of the dais where the asylum judge would normally sit at a refugee hearing. “It is your obligation to disclose evidence to support your claim.