Nova Scotia to stop holding federal immigration detainees in provincial jails


Nova Scotia is changing into the second province to cease holding federal immigration detainees in provincial jails, a shift that human rights advocates hope turns into a nationwide pattern.

This summer season, Nova Scotia notified the federal authorities that it’s going to finish a contract with Canada Border Companies Company to carry immigration detainees in provincial correctional centres. British Columbia was the primary province to make this transfer, terminating its contract in July.

The province’s Justice Division stated Tuesday in an e mail it’s going to “work with CBSA to ascertain a transition plan that prioritizes public security and ensures the rights of people are preserved and guarded.”

Each Nova Scotia and British Columbia’s agreements with Canada Border Companies Company require 12 months’ discover for termination, that means each provinces will proceed to carry federal immigration detainees into subsequent summer season.

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In line with the Canadian Crimson Cross web site, immigration detainees are individuals held below the Immigration and Refugee Safety Act and who usually are not going through prison costs. “They could be refugee claimants; survivors of armed battle or torture; victims of smuggling and human trafficking; and even youngsters. In lots of instances, detainees don’t communicate French or English.”

Sheila Wildeman, the co-chair of East Coast Jail Justice Society and a professor at Dalhousie College’s legislation faculty, says immigration detainees in Nova Scotia will quickly “be spared the corrosive, human rights-impairing circumstances of the province’s jails.”

Wildeman stated she desires Nova Scotia’s choice to be a part of a nationwide motion towards abandoning the apply. “Our hope is that that is one fallen domino in a row of dominoes,” she stated.

Julia Sande, a human rights lawyer working with Amnesty Worldwide Canada, stated in an interview she hopes different provinces will rethink their agreements with the Canada Border Companies Company.

“British Columbia was the primary, and I believe that confirmed that it’s potential for a province to do that,” Sande stated. “Now we’re seeing it in Nova Scotia, the place they’ve completely different governments, completely different wants, very completely different contexts, nevertheless it simply goes to point out that it’s actually not a political choice.”

“In the end it’s as much as the federal authorities; they may finish this apply throughout your complete nation,” Sande stated.

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Canada has three immigration holding services — in Laval, Que.; Surrey, B.C.; and Toronto. Canada Border Companies Company has preparations with all provinces and territories for holding immigration detainees in areas exterior these three centres.

As of April 2021, the federal company was paying Nova Scotia almost $400 a day per immigration detainee. The company reported that between 2020 and 2021, there have been 14 individuals detained for immigration causes in Nova Scotia.

Wildeman stated that ideally, the cash that has been used to fund immigration detainees may as an alternative be put towards social providers and neighborhood help for people who find themselves undocumented.

Immigration detainees in provincial jails expertise “solitary confinement, mass lockdowns and different types of routine institutional violence which have solely intensified because the begin of the pandemic,” she stated.

Julie Chamagne, govt director of the Halifax Refugee Clinic, stated in a press release, “Nova Scotia’s choice is a vital step ahead for human rights.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Sept. 21, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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