Guards stand outside the gates of an immigrant holding centre in Laval, Que., Monday, August 15, 2016. (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Border agency to use technology to reduce immigration detention

Share

Canada’s border agency will start using voice reporting and electronic tracking tools to keep tabs on some foreign nationals suspected of immigration violations as an alternative to detaining them, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced Tuesday.

Under Canada’s immigration rules, the federal government can detain foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in Canada in cases where a person’s identity is unknown, or where the person may be unlikely to appear for an immigration proceeding or is deemed to pose a security threat.

The system, which allows the federal government to detain some foreign nationals indefinitely, has been criticized by human rights advocates and slammed as “Kafkaesque” by an Ontario Superior Court judge.

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

Reforming ‘Kafkaesque’ system

The Liberal government says it wants to cut the number of children “detained as a last resort” as much “as humanly possible.” (CBC/File photo)

Upon assuming power at the end of 2015, the Liberal government promised to reform the immigration detention system by improving detention conditions, cutting the number of minors in detention as much “as humanely possible” and by coming up with a system that offers alternatives to detention.

On Tuesday, Goodale officially announced the introduction of new tools developed in close consultation with various organizations and advocacy groups, including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canada and the Canadian Council for Refugees, as part of its effort to find alternatives to detention.

They include:

  • Community Case Management and Supervision Services (CCMS): This alternative offers in-community tailored case management services to individuals released from detention. The CBSA is contracting with service providers located across Canada, including the Salvation Army, the John Howard Society of Canada, and the Toronto Bail Program.
  • Voice Reporting (VR): The VR system will use biometric voiceprint technology to enable as many as 10,000 individuals to report to the CBSA at agreed upon intervals, using either cellphones or landlines.
  • Electronic Monitoring (EM): As a pilot program dealing with up to 20 cases, EM will be test-run in the Greater Toronto Area as an ATD for individuals who require a higher level of intervention to ensure the risks they present are properly mitigated.

“The introduction of an expanded Alternatives to Detention Program is a pillar of CBSA’s efforts to treat people within the immigration system with the utmost dignity and respect, while balancing the need for public safety,” Goodale said in a statement.

UNHCR Representative in Canada Jean-Nicolas Beuze welcomed the Liberal government’s new initiative as a major milestone.

“Keeping children and their families out of detention and ensuring families stay together is in the best of interests of children,” Beuze said in a statement. “UNHCR believes that there are effective ways to manage borders and guarantee security without resorting to the detention of people who are seeking safety in Canada, and Minister Goodale and Canada must be commended for taking a major step into this direction.”

Share
Categories: Immigration & Refugees
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. 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.

*