Using the services of an accredited interpreter
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
This instruction applies to interpretation services taking place in Canada that are funded by IRCC for:
- refugee protection
- select permanent residence applications
- other requests for specific applications
For more details, please consult program-specific procedures for using interpreters.
When IRCC is providing an interpreter and is paying for the interpretation services offered to the clients, the department uses the interpreters from the Immigration Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) list of accredited and security-cleared interpreters.
Find out how to use the services of an interpreter who is accredited and security-cleared with the IRB and is used for interpretation services at IRCC.
On this page
- Procedures for interpretation services contracting
- Steps to contract an interpreter
- Direct deposit enrolment or verification
- Visual authentication of interpreters
- Before and during the interpretation service
- After the interpretation service is completed
- Complaints concerning interpretation
Procedures for interpretation services contracting
Interpretation services at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are guided by the Standard Interpretation Service Contractor Clauses and Conditions (IRCC-SISCCC-001 - 2017-02-15).
Interpretation services contracting stakeholders
- Authorized IRCC user (for example, case officer, immigration officer, supervisor, general support clerk)
- Administrative Services Unit (ASU)
- Responsibility Centre Manager (RCM) (section 32/41/34 of the Financial Administration Act [FAA] authority)
- Client or applicant
- Finance Branch/National Payment and Accounting Services (NPAS) (section 33 authority)
- Procurement Contract Services
Steps to contract an interpreter
The use of accredited interpreters is limited to interviews that could have a significant impact on the client, such as (this list is not exhaustive):
- in-Canada claims for refugee protection, including refugee eligibility interviews
- interviews with individuals likely to be subject to a removal from Canada
- pre-removal risk assessment hearings
- interviews with victims of abuse
- sponsorship interviews (e.g. marriages of convenience)
- When a client is scheduled for an interview and requests an interpreter, the officer in charge of the file will determine whether the application could have a significant impact on the client and whether an accredited interpreter is necessary based on the ability of the client to speak and understand either English or French.
- If the officer determines that the outcome of the interview will not have a significant impact, the client will be informed within a reasonable time period that IRCC will not provide an interpreter. If the client still wants an interpreter, they are responsible for finding one.
Note: Officials should allow for a degree of discretion when deciding to provide IRCC-funded interpretation services in other proceedings not included in this list.
- In accordance with the language requirements of the client (both official and foreign), the authorized IRCC user identifies potential interpreter(s) from IRCC’s list of interpreters.
Note: The use of an accredited interpreter must be verified daily via the current IRCC’s list of interpreters to ensure program integrity of operations, as some interpreters may no longer be on the list and new interpreters may have been added.
- In selecting the interpreter from the list, the authorized IRCC user shall consider the fairness of the identification process and assign work to interpreters to the extent possible on a rotational basis to avoid possible complaints.
- The authorized IRCC user contacts the selected interpreter and provides details of the services required, including
- the date
- the time
- the location
- whether the services will be required in person, by telephone or by videoconference
- if not scheduled in person, the interpreter will be called via Microsoft Teams on the day of the interview, prior to the session, to validate their identity
- photo identification
- The interpreter confirms their availability or declines the work.
- If the interpreter declines, the authorized IRCC user repeats steps 4, 5 and 6.
- If the interpreter confirms their interest and availability, the authorized IRCC user proceeds with completing the Professional Services Contract for Interpretation Services form [IMM 2048E]
- The contract form is fillable and can be saved.
- Among other provisions, the form contains compensation provisions for the agreed interpretation services.
- When an interpreter is selected, the officer should:
- refer them to the Standard Interpretation Service Contractor Clauses and Conditions.
- inform them about the IRCC Code of Conduct for Interpretation Service Contractors, which guides their conduct; competence; care; skill, diligence and efficiency, conflict of interest, confidentiality, compliance, etc.
- The authorized IRCC user obtains a funds commitment number from the ASU and inserts it into the contract.
- The RCM with delegated financial authority must sign sections 32 and 41 (for the Minister) on the professional services contract form.
- The interpreter must review the contract and approve it by email.
- The authorized IRCC user must save the interpreter’s acceptance email in GCdocs and insert the link into the contract.
Direct deposit enrolment or verification
This process is for new interpreters or current interpreters who would like to make changes to any of the following types of banking or client information:
- financial institution, branch or account number
- business name, business number, or business telephone number, email address or mailing address
Authorized IRCC users must ensure this process is followed:
- The IRCC user sends an email to the FIN SAP Helpdesk. The email must include the interpreter’s
- business and individual name
- funds commitment number
- email address
- The FIN SAP Helpdesk emails the web form link to the interpreter’s email address.
- If an IRCC user is not sure whether the interpreter is already enrolled in direct deposit, they can contact the FIN SAP Helpdesk for validation.
- The interpreter completes and submits the web form within 10 business days in order to confirm their payment details.
Interpreters are not employees of IRCC or the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB). They are employed on a contractual basis for the interpretation service they provide to IRCC.
The following IRB interpretation standards are also followed by IRCC:
- Interpretation should be continuous, without breaks and without omissions.
- Interpretation should be precise, as close as can be to word-for-word and without summaries or changes in grammar and syntax; it should be in the first person.
- Interpretation should be impartial; the interpreter is not a witness.
- Interpretation should be competent; the interpreter must take an oath and should his or her competence be in doubt, an inquiry into competence should be made.
- Interpretation should be contemporaneous and consecutive, rather than simultaneous.
When an interpreter is selected, they should be informed about the
- Standard Interpretation Service Contractor Clauses and Conditions
- IRCC Code of Conduct for Interpretation Service Contractors, which guides their conduct; competence; care; skill, diligence and efficiency, conflict of interest, confidentiality, compliance, etc.
Interpreter security clearance
The interpreters listed in IRCC’s List of Interpreters are accredited by the IRB and have obtained a security clearance at the Reliability level and may have access to information up to Protected “B” level on a need-to-know basis.
Should an IRCC office require an interpreter to have access to information at a higher level than Protected “B”, (i.e., Secret), the interpreter must be cleared by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) before starting to perform their services.
Should an IRCC office require an interpreter who is not on the IRCC interpreter list, the interpreter must be cleared by PSPC before starting to perform their services.
IRCC Corporate Security does not conduct security screening for contract workers (non-IRCC employees). Contractors wishing to obtain a security clearance must follow the PSPC established process. The service standard for designated organization screening is up to 6 months.
Visual authentication of interpreters
Interpreters scheduled for an in-person interview
Once the interpreter is present at the IRCC office, an IRCC employee must confirm identity of the interpreter with a valid photo identification document (for example, driver’s license or passport).
The IRCC employee will advise their colleagues that the interpreter’s identification is confirmed in order to avoid authentication by other employees for that day.
Interpreters scheduled for a virtual interview
A video call via Microsoft Teams is necessary to verify the identity document shown by the interpreter.
An IRCC officer will call before any appointment that requires interpreter service. The interpreter must present a valid photo identity document (for example, driver’s license or passport). Once the interpreter is identified, the officer may continue the session via Teams or call the phone number provided while the interpreter is on Teams and transition to that.
IRCC employees are to visually identify every interpreter each day.
IRB-accredited interpreters should be familiar with using MS Teams since it is the application used for IRB hearings. Additional resources, such as “How to download MS Teams” are available at:
Before and during the interpretation service
On the day of the service, the authorized IRCC user must confirm that the interpreter is still listed on the current IRCC’s list of interpreters
The authorized IRCC user:
- gives specific instructions regarding the conduct of the interpretation where the interpreter is new or has worked infrequently for IRCC
- instructs the interpreter to provide verbatim interpretation and determines whether they want
- simultaneous interpretation; or
- interpretation at intervals during the applicant’s response.
- asks the client or applicant if they can understand the interpreter easily and records the question and the applicant’s response
- observes the client or applicant’s ability to respond quickly, easily and appropriately to a series of introductory warm-up questions
- The authorized IRCC user must be completely satisfied that
- the interpreter is fully fluent in the languages of both the interviewer and the client or applicant;
- the interpretation is correct and free of bias.
- The authorized IRCC user must be completely satisfied that
If at any time the authorized IRCC user is not satisfied that an interpreter is interpreting accurately, they should
- verify by rephrasing the answers that have raised doubts;
- ask the client or applicant to confirm that they have understood correctly;
- if necessary, identify another interpreter or reschedule the interview.
The authorized IRCC user advises the client or applicant to tell them if at any point during the interview,
- there is anything that they do not understand;
- there are any other difficulties.
The authorized IRCC user records the interpreter’s name and the language used in the Global Case Management System (GCMS).
After the interpretation service is completed
The authorized IRCC user:
- completes the invoice section of the contract form
- enters the date of the invoice and the actual number of hours worked by the interpreter in the “actual hours worked” field under “Description of Interpreter Services”
- emails the completed invoice to the interpreter for approval
Within 10 business days, the interpreter forwards the invoice to NPAS (IRCC.FINInvoices-FacturesFIN.IRCC@cic.gc.ca), with a carbon copy (cc) to the IRCC local office that required the interpreter, in order for payment to be made.
Upon receipt of the invoice, NPAS:
- creates a request in the Service Request Management Tool (SRM), including
- GCdocs link to the Payment Request Form FIN 0030E
- the interpreter’s email, invoice and contract for interpretation services attached
- assigns the request to the responsible ASU
The ASU completes the Payment Request Form.
The RCM with delegated financial authority signs the Payment Request Form under the FAA Section 34.
The ASU indicates, through the SRM activity log, that the request is ready to be processed.
Complaints concerning interpretation
This section includes information on both:
- complaints from an interpreter
- complaints about an interpreter
Note: At the time they are contracted for work at IRCC, the interpreters should already be aware of their obligations and code of conduct in connection with conflicts of interest.
Complaint from an interpreter
Complaints may come from interpreters, questioning the lack of contracts they have received compared to other interpreters with the same linguistic profile. To avoid such situations, authorized IRCC users shall assign work to interpreters on a rotational basis (to the extent possible).
Responses to the complainant should make reference to the process of fairness used at IRCC (see No. 4 in the above section Steps to contract an interpreter)
Complaints about an interpreter
Complaints regarding interpreter competency or comportment can generally arise before, during and/or after the interpretation services are delivered. The complaints could range from no-show or last-minute cancellations, to poor interpretation, to after the service when the interpreter could engage with clients and claimants in communication that could be a ground for conflict of interest.
Authorized IRCC users and clients/claimants must raise concerns with respect to interpretation during the course of the interpretation service, at the first opportunity, unless there are exceptional circumstances for not doing so.
Where concerns arise regarding interpreter competency based on information that only became available after the service is rendered, the authorized IRCC user should discuss these with an interpreter as soon as possible.
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