Guards stand outside the gates of an immigrant holding centre in Laval, Que., Monday, August 15, 2016.

Guards stand outside the gates of an immigrant holding centre in Laval, Que., Monday, August 15, 2016.
Photo Credit: PC / Graham Hughes

UPDATE: Canadian Red Cross to monitor immigration detention centres

Share

The federal government has signed a contract with the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) for the monitoring of Canada’s immigration detention centres to ensure they comply with domestic and international standards, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced Thursday.

The two-year contract between the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the CRC will include regular visits throughout the year to detention facilities across Canada where immigration detainees are held, the government said.

The aim of the program is to increase the number of detainee visits each year, requiring the CRC to conduct up to 86 site visits annually, primarily focusing on the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied minors and individuals with medical and mental health conditions, Goodale said.

This is the first time the CRC’s monitoring program has received core funding from the federal government.

Neutral and impartial
The Canadian Red Cross has been carrying out monitoring of Canada’s immigration detainees since 1999. This includes monitoring conditions of detention in Immigration Holding Centres and in provincial correctional facilities to ensure that persons detained are treated in compliance with applicable domestic standards and international obligations to which Canada is signatory.
The Canadian Red Cross has been carrying out monitoring of Canada’s immigration detainees since 1999. This includes monitoring conditions of detention in Immigration Holding Centres and in provincial correctional facilities to ensure that persons detained are treated in compliance with applicable domestic standards and international obligations to which Canada is signatory. © CBC

There are about 325 to 425 individuals detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act at any given time, according to government statistics.

“The Canadian Red Cross Detention Monitoring Program aims to contribute to an environment in which all people who are detained in Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are treated humanely and are held in accordance with national and international standards,” Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross, said in a statement.

“As a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization, ongoing access to facilities and detainees is essential in carrying out our mandate to monitor conditions of detention.”

‘Not an improvement, much less a solution’

However, Toronto-based immigration lawyer Barbara Jackman slammed the CRC’s past record as “useless.” The CRC has been carrying out monitoring of immigration detention centres since 1999.

“Their monitoring was secret – they never published the results, and the conditions in the jails have been atrocious and the Red Cross did nothing, from what we could see, and did not speak up,” Jackman said. “I don’t see how this will change anything. It is using the Red Cross, because it is a known humanitarian organization, to make the CBSA look better without doing anything. It is not an improvement, much less a solution.”

In a statement to CBC News received on Saturday, a spokesman for the CRC said his organization has always raised its findings and recommendations with authorities in a variety of ways.

As part of the new agreement, the CRC’s annual report on its monitoring activities will be published, alongside an action plan from the CBSA to respond to its recommendations.

The contract will cost Canadian taxpayers about $1.14 million over two years and could be extended for a third year, Goodale said.

“This partnership with the Canadian Red Cross will provide enhanced, trusted monitoring of immigration detention, strengthening its accountability and effectiveness,” the minister insisted.

According to government statistics, over the last five years, immigration detentions have dropped by 28.5 per cent while the number of foreign nationals travelling to Canada has increased by 23.6 per cent.

Last August, following a spate of hunger strikes at immigration detention centres, Goodale announced that the federal government will invest $138 million to make improvements to the country’s immigration detention system.

With files from CBC News

Share
Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Immigration & Refugees

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*