BSF5012 - Information for People Detained Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

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Catalogue No. PS38-49/2015E-PDF
ISBN 978-0-662-03889-4

This is not a legal document. For legal information, consult the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.

This document provides you with important information about your rights and obligations and reasons for your detention, as well as general information that may be helpful while you are detained. If you have any questions about your detention or information contained in this document, please ask to speak to a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer.

The Law

You were detained under Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act because a CBSA officer:

  • considered it necessary to complete an examination;
  • was not satisfied with your identity;
  • had reason to believe you were inadmissible to Canada and were a danger to the public, unlikely to appear (risk of flight) for an examination, an admissibility hearing, removal from Canada or a proceeding that could lead to a removal order; or
  • had reason to suspect that you were inadmissible to Canada for reasons of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality, criminality or organized criminality.

Policy on the Treatment of Detainees

Treatment of Detained people


Detention facilities

Your Rights

General Information

Community Assistance

Members of non governmental organizations, such as local community or religious organizations may visit you and provide assistance. They can give you useful information and, if you want, they will try to put you in touch with people from your country or people who speak your language. These services may not be available at all facilities. You can ask for information and assistance from the CBSA officers, who can provide you with a list of these organizations.

Medical Assistance

If at any time you become ill (physically or mentally) and need to see a doctor, please tell the facility staff immediately. If you are taking any medication or have an illness (physical or mental), please tell staff when you are admitted to the facility. Your medication will be examined by the doctor and given to you according to the doctor's instructions.

Luggage and Personal Belongings

When you arrive, you will need to give your personal effects, including cell phone, luggage, jewellery, money, medication, and all other items in your possession, to security personnel for storage and safe keeping. You may have reasonable access to your belongings upon request to security personnel. Dangerous objects such as knives and other objects that may be used as weapons and could endanger personal safety will be taken away and may be disposed of.


If you have special dietary requirements for medical, dental or other reasons, please tell the CBSA officer, a guard or another person at the facility immediately. Special arrangements may be made to meet your dietary needs.



You can make local telephone calls at certain places and times. If many people want to use the telephones available, the time for your call may be limited. If you need help using the telephone, please ask the facility staff for help. If you need to make an international phone call, please speak to a local official for instructions.



If you want to speak to a CBSA officer about any aspect of your detention, please tell a guard or another staff member at the facility. The CBSA officer will look into your complaint as soon as possible.


The CBSA or security officer will search and may handcuff you when you are being transported or attending any proceeding outside the facility. Exceptions may be made for people with disabilities, elderly people, minor children and pregnant women.

In case of fire

If you smell smoke or see fire at any time, tell staff immediately. If a fire begins in your room, tell the guards on duty immediately. Stay calm and follow the guards' instructions so that you can leave the building safely.

Other Information

The rules of each facility aim to protect the safety and security of everyone. You are expected to follow these rules. Disruptive behaviour, including damage to property, will not be tolerated. This type of behaviour may result in you being placed in isolation or transferred to a more secure detention facility.

CBSA officers may also ask you to confirm certain information to process your case.

If you have any other questions, please ask staff at the facility or a CBSA officer.

Decisions to Continue Detention or Release

Detention Review for "Non-Designated" Arrivals

Before the first detention review, you may be released if a CBSA officer believes the reasons for detention no longer exist or if concerns can be eased by posting a bond.

Release from detention

After the review, a member of the Immigration Division of the IRB will either order that you continue to be detained or that you be released from detention. The IRB may impose conditions on your release that may include:

If you have a guarantor, they will not normally be excused from their legal obligations before your immigration case has been concluded.

Breach of conditions

If you fail to comply with any condition of your release, the money posted or promised by your guarantor may be lost, and/or you may be returned to detention.

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