Manitoba becomes 4th province to say it will stop imprisoning migrants


The Manitoba authorities says it will stop incarcerating migrants detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in accordance to data obtained by Radio-Canada/CBC.

The workplace of Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen advised Radio-Canada migrants shouldn’t be “languishing” in jail when “they haven’t been convicted of a criminal offense.”

Under agreements with the CBSA, many provinces imprison migrants detained for administrative causes.

These international nationals, together with asylum seekers, are subjected to the identical circumstances because the jail inhabitants, though they don’t seem to be accused of a criminal offense.

“Provincial jails ought to be used to detain individuals convicted of crimes or awaiting trial on severe offences, not to maintain travellers and refugees who arrive in Manitoba with incomplete paperwork, or another concern with their inbound immigration processing that wants to be straightened out,” stated an e-mail from the justice minister’s workplace.

Some 2,000 migrants have been incarcerated in provincial jails in Canada every 12 months from 2015 to 2020.

The workplace of Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen says migrants shouldn’t be languishing in jail when ‘they haven’t been convicted of a criminal offense.’ (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Former Liberal minister essential of Trudeau authorities

The workplace of Goertzen, who’s Conservative, says they’ve taken the identical place advocated by Lloyd Axworthy, a former Liberal international affairs minister beneath Jean Chrétien.

Axworthy, now the chair of the World Refugee and Migration Council, confirmed he met with Goertzen to ask him to assessment the imprisonment of migrants.

He stated he was “actually happy” Goertzen responded that means.

“It’s a correct transfer to what I believe was actually fairly a scandalous state of affairs,” stated Axworthy.

Manitoba becomes the fourth province after British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta to inform Ottawa it will not detain migrants in its jails.

Axworthy, who additionally used to be an immigration minister, desires the Trudeau authorities to finish all agreements with the provinces.

“Provincial governments are exhibiting their dedication to a extra correct and respectful set of rights for displaced individuals and our federal authorities ought to simply get the message and abrogate the agreements,” he stated.

Lloyd Axworthy desires the Trudeau authorities to finish all CBSA agreements with the provinces. (Travis Golby/CBC)

“I believe it breaks each principle that we’ve got when it comes to the safety of the rights of individuals on this nation.”

Axworthy stated he met with Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who’s answerable for the CBSA, on this concern.

According to Axworthy, whereas Mendicino appears open to altering the system, border guards have plenty of “discretion” in deciding who’s incarcerated.

“Immigration detention should at all times be a measure of final resort and solely utilized in high-risk circumstances,” Mendicino’s workplace stated, whereas promising to do higher.

“The minister is exploring paths ahead that might develop and improve alternate options to detention and stop detention in provincial correctional services.”

Arrangements not revealed

CBSA has beforehand acknowledged Manitoba isn’t one of many provinces with which it has a proper Memorandum of Understanding relating to immigration detention.

Neither the CBSA nor Manitoba would say what sort of association they’ve.

“We have suggested the CBSA they will want to discover a extra appropriate location for these people by January 2024,” an e-mail from Goertzen’s workplace learn.

Under agreements with different provinces, 12-month discover to the CBSA is critical to terminate the contract.

For the time being, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan are sustaining their contracts with Ottawa beneath which they’re being paid to imprison migrants of their jails.


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