Understanding lived experiences of recent immigrant women working in the accommodation and food services industry in accessing government COVID-19 socio-economic programs



The purpose of this research is to investigate how recent immigrant women working in the accommodation and food services industry are experiencing government COVID-19 response policies and programs. This includes those who immigrated to Canada in February 2010 or later i.e., had lived in Canada for 10 years or less at the start of the pandemic. The research will allow us to understand the successes and gaps in this response so as to provide real time guidance and recommendation to those crafting policies. This research is part of the Gender and COVID-19 Project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and is based in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University.  The project commenced in March 2020 and will be completed in March 2022.

As part of this study, you are invited to participate in an interview. This interview is to consult with you on how you have experienced the federal and provincial (B.C.) socio-economic response policies and programs. We will use the results of these interviews to develop research outputs to support effective decision-making during the current COVID-19 and future outbreaks. 


Your participation in this interview is wholly voluntary.  You may choose to answer or not answer any of the questions posed during the interview process.  You may end the interview at any time. To facilitate analysis, we would like your consent to sound record the interview.  The recording will be fully and confidentially transcribed by a professional transcribing company that has signed a confidentiality agreement.  If you do not wish to be sound recorded, we would like your consent to write detailed notes during the interview.  The transcripts or notes will be stored in a secure, password protected digital location, coded to ensure confidentiality, and be accessible only by the project team.  

To produce research outputs, we would like your consent to potentially use your responses in the writing of the Gender and COVID-19 research project, scholarly outputs and other outputs (e.g. follow up funding applications). The citation of any quotes will be done anonymously. We will not include your name or any identifying information in any output. If the interview is used for any other purpose, we will contact you again beforehand to obtain your written consent.

Where your permission is granted to quote your responses in outputs, for each quote used, any risks/benefits to you or others will be carefully considered before deciding whether or how to use the quote.  The research team has substantial experience of conducting this kind of study, including discussing subjects of cultural and commercial sensitivity, and dealing with ethical and data protection issues. Where there are potential risks to you in terms of employment status, confidentiality and anonymity will be strictly maintained in the collection, storage and use of interview data.  In general, the project will regard all data as “restricted data” and thus not subject to distribution to the general public given participant confidentiality.

Please note that telephone and email are not secure means of communication. Therefore, while we will maintain confidentiality in outputs and will not knowingly share your personal information with anyone outside the research team, a risk of confidentiality breach remains. Please note that both Zoom and SurveyMonkey, which will be used for the questionnaire, are hosted by US companies, and as such, are subject to the USA Patriot Act and CLOUD Act. These laws allow government authorities to access the records of host services and internet service providers. By choosing to participate, you understand that your participation in this study may become known to US federal agencies.

What participants will do

As a participant, you are being contacted by a member of the research team by email or telephone, and requested to voluntarily take part in an interview. Information about the project will be provided beforehand along with this consent form. The interview will be conducted over the phone or via Zoom and will last approximately 30 to 60 minutes.  You will be asked questions about your knowledge and experience of the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and response.

Location of data collection

All interviews will be conducted by study team members who are located at Simon Fraser University. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, researchers might conduct the interviews by phone or Zoom from their home offices.

Method of data collection

The interviews will be conducted by members of the research team. Given concerns about travel and physical contact during the current COVID-19 outbreak, interviews will be conduct by phone or Zoom’s secure online system. The pre-interview questionnaire will be securely hosted online.

Security of the Raw Data

Where permission is granted, interviews will be sound recorded using a digital recorder. Files will be electronically transferred to a secure password-protected central data repository known as SFU Vault. The sound files will be transcribed by a professional transcribing company that has signed a confidentiality agreement. The transcripts will be recorded as Word files and stored in SFU Vault to facilitate data sharing and analysis across the project team.  The data from this project will be retained for ten years after the submission of the final report to the funder.


The nature of the research does not require prior permissions for conducting interviews with key informants from specific affiliated institutions.

Risks and benefits to participants

It is not anticipated that there will be any risks to you as a participant in this research.  If you feel that there are relevant risks from your participation, additional attention will be given to the need for security and confidentiality in data collection and analysis (described above).  There will be no direct benefits to participants as individuals.  However, your participation will contribute to greater understanding of the accessibility and impact of government COVID-19 socio-economic response programs to immigrant women and inform more equitable responses.

Honorarium: all interview participants will receive a $25 visa gift card

Withdrawal from the study

You may withdraw from participation in this study during the interview and up to April 2022 (when the project will be completed) without having to give a reason. If you withdraw from the study, you should inform the research team that you wish to do so. If any questions during the interview make you feel uncomfortable, you do not have to answer them. Withdrawing from the study will have no effect on you. If you withdraw from the study, we will not retain the information you have given thus far, unless you are happy for us to do so.

Follow up

If you have any further questions about this project, please feel free to contact me at alice_murage@sfu.ca or the Principal Investigator Dr. Julia Smith at jhs6@sfu.ca. The results of this research will be made available via open access on the Gender and COVID-19 website (https://www.genderandcovid-19.org/).

If you have any concerns or complaints about this project, please contact Dr. Jeff Toward, Director, Office of Research Ethics, Simon Fraser University (jtoward@sfu.ca; 1 778 792 6593).

COVID-19 resources

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s health and wellbeing. If you would like to seek wellness support the following resources particularly serve recent immigrants:

·       Wellness Together Canada (no charge)

·       MOSAIC counselling services (no charge)

·       Healing in Color BIPOC therapists’ directory