Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale makes a funding announcement during a visit to an immigrant holding centre in Laval, Que., Monday, August 15, 2016.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale makes a funding announcement during a visit to an immigrant holding centre in Laval, Que., Monday, August 15, 2016.
Photo Credit: PC / Graham Hughes

Canada to upgrade its immigration detention system


The federal government will invest $138 million into the country’s immigration detention system, Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced today.

Speaking during a visit to one of the country’s three immigration detention centres in Laval, north of Montreal, Goodale said while the government wants to improve its immigration detention program, the objective is to make detention a measure of last resort.

“Our objectives are, firstly, to increase the availability of effective alternatives to detention and thus reduce the overall number of cases in which detention is the only available technique to deal with those difficult problems of identification, flight risk or danger to the public,” Goodale said.

Improving transparency and access

The federal government also wants to reduce the use of provincial jails for immigration detention by making “safe, high quality, federally operated facilities especially designed for immigration purposes” more readily available to avoid the “comingling of immigration cases with criminal cases,” the minister said.

The government will also try to avoid housing children in detention facilities “as much as humanly possible,” Goodale said.

Ottawa also wants to enhance health and mental health services to those who are already detained.

The federal government also wants to maintain ready access to detention facilities for agencies such as the United Nations refugee agency, the Canadian Red Cross, legal and spiritual advisers, Goodale said.

Finally the government wants to achieve greater transparency, effective and dependent scrutiny and review of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), Goodale said.

Legal safeguards

There are also safeguards under the law to protect detainees held by the border agency, Goodale said.

“First, CBSA is required by law to consider all reasonable alternatives before detention,” Goodale said. “Secondly, every decision to detain an individual is subject to immediate and then periodic legal reviews.”

These reviews will be conducted by “dully appointed and properly trained” members of Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), an independent tribunal focussed on immigration law, Goodale said.

“In reviewing the detention cases, the IRB has the full authority to release the individual or to identify future conditions for release, or to maintain the detention.”

 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. © PC/Graham Hughes

According to the Canada Border Services Agency, there are, on average, 450 to 500 people who are detained at any given time under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Goodale said.

The End Immigration Detention Network says 15 people have died in detention while in CBSA custody since 2000.

A Red Cross investigation in 2014 found numerous shortcomings at facilities for immigrant detainees, including overcrowding and inadequate mental health care.

Newcomers are often held in provincial jails or police facilities alongside suspected gang members and violent offenders.

With files from The Canadian Press and CBC News

Categories: Immigration & Refugees, Politics
Tags: , , , ,

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.’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. 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.’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.


One comment on “Canada to upgrade its immigration detention system
  1. Avatar Herry says:

    Laval ? Really ! That is ridiculous ! Kaybec isn’t even part of Canada and this town is a very poor choice !