Arrests, detentions and removals
Quarterly detention statistics: First and second quarter (Q1-Q2), fiscal year 2020 to 2021

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)'s statistical publication provides information on detentions.

General detentions

Table 1.1: Detentions as a percentage of entries, by length of detention and by facility
Quarter Entries by foreign nationals to Canada Total persons detained Total persons in detention (daily average) Detainees as a percentage of entries by foreign nationals to Canada Total detention days Average length of detention Median length of detention Total persons detained in an Immigration Holding Centre (IHC) Total persons detained in a provincial facility Total persons detained in another facility
1 518,508 453 126 0.09% 11,323 25.0 9 173 (34%) 287 (56%) 52 (10%)
2 851,555 476 131 0.05% 11,925 25.1 9 223 (39%) 275 (48%) 71 (13%)
Year to date 1,370,063 799 129 0.06% 23,296 29.2 9 364 (38%) 470 (50%) 117 (12%)

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: The numbers presented in each quarter cannot be added together to equal an annual sum. This is because the quarterly numbers reflect the number of people in detention at a given time, and could include a person who is detained over 2 quarters and carried over. Similarly, changes can take place over the time a person is detained that can lead to double-counting in the total number of people in detention by facility type. Individuals can be transferred between facility types, and could therefore be counted in both.

Table 1.2: Persons detained by length of detention
Quarter 24 hours or less 25 to 48 hours 3 to 9 days 10 to 39 days 40 to 99 days Over 99 days
1 62 29 77 113 98 85
2 60 38 113 134 83 57

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Table 1.3: Persons detained sorted by province
Province First quarter Second quarter
Alberta 34 31
British Columbia 64 94
Manitoba 6 6
New Brunswick 6 5
Newfoundland and Labrador 0 6
Northwest Territories 0 0
Nova Scotia 1 5
Ontario 248 249
Prince Edward Island 1 1
Quebec 90 71
Saskatchewan 5 13
Yukon 0 0

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: The total number of persons detained by province when added together, is greater than the total number of persons detained in that quarter as persons may be transferred between provinces during their time in detention. In this instance they are counted twice.

Table 1.4: Persons detained by grounds for detention
Grounds for detention First quarter Second quarter
Danger to the public 14 14
Examination 11 5
Identity 16 11
Security certificate 0 0
Suspected inadmissibility on grounds of human/international rights violation 0 0
Suspected inadmissibility on grounds of security 0 2
Suspected inadmissibility on grounds of serious criminality / criminality / organized criminality 5 5
Unlikely to appear / danger to the public 77 84
Unlikely to appear 340 369

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: The total number of persons detained by ground for detention, when added together, is greater than the total number of persons detained in that quarter as the same person may be detained on multiple grounds for detention.

Grounds for detention

These grounds for detention may apply to a permanent resident or foreign national who may be inadmissible to Canada. Refer to Section 55 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Notes

A fiscal-year begins on and ends on . Quarters are broken down as follows: Q1: to ; Q2 to ; Q3 to ; Q4 to .

Detention days are the number of cumulative days spent in detention for all detainees over the reporting period under the provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Median length of detention represents the middle value (or the average of two middle values) in days when the numbers are listed in numerical order from smallest to largest.

“Detention in another facility” includes other law enforcement agencies (that is, Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachments, local and provincial police cells), CBSA Ports of Entry (POE) and Inland Enforcement (IE) cells. Note that POE and IE cells as well as other law enforcement agencies' cells are only used for very short periods of time.

More information

Analysis: Detentions in the second quarter

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on detention numbers. The CBSA noted a slight 5% increase in the number of persons detained in Q2 compared to Q1. However, at 476, the numbers still remains 78% lower than Q4 of 2019 to 2020. Compared the same quarter last year (Q2 of 2019 to 2020), this is a decrease of 82% (from 2,578 to 476). This significant reduction can be explained by public safety measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 since mid-March. These measures included the closure of the border to most foreign nationals, a small percentage of whom are usually detained by the CBSA for a number of reasons. In addition, the pandemic reinforced the CBSA's commitment to finding solutions for release at the first possible opportunity. The CBSA asked officers to focus efforts to explore all viable alternatives to detention in all cases, as long as there is no public safety concern. The CBSA expanded its electronic monitoring (EM) program into the Quebec region. The CBSA will continue to focus its efforts on identifying release options, and mitigating risk within the community for individuals with a higher risk profile. The decision to release an individual from detention is done on a case by case basis using a dynamic risk assessment process that aligns individual risk indicators with conditions that can mitigate the risk. Where risk cannot be mitigated through an alternative to detention, detention will be continued.

In terms of arrests: In Q2 2020 to 2021:

Compared to the same quarter last year:

The number of people in detention compared to the total number of foreign nationals coming into Canada decreased to 0.05%, compared to 0.09% in Q1 of 2020 to 2021.

The use of provincial facilities remains at a high of 48% for Q2 of 2020 to 2021. In 2019 to 2020, the use of provincial facilities stood at only 23%. The increase in the use of provincial facilities is linked to more individuals being detained for danger or as unlikely to appear for an immigration proceeding linked with danger. Additionally as detention volumes decrease, the proportionality of individuals with higher risk profiles who are deemed not suitable for release, remains high when compared to the total number of individuals detained. As volumes decrease, comparing the proportion of individuals held in provincial facilities with IHCs must be looked at through the lens of the risk profile the individuals possess.

The average length of detention remains stable at 25 days in Q2 as in Q1, a notable increase from Q4 of 2019 to 2020 (12.6 days). Due to the increased use of alternatives to detention (ATD) for lower-risk individuals, plus the low number of people coming into Canada, those who remain in detention tend to be higher-risk cases. Higher-risk individuals are typically detained for a longer periods of time. Overall, there was a 5% increase in total detention days (11,323 days in Q1 and 11,925 days in Q2). As detention volumes decrease, the proportionality of individuals who remain detained for longer periods of time is no longer offset by the subset of individuals who were lower risk and detained for short periods. As such it is natural for the average length of detention to increase, when the population that remains in detention is largely made up of higher risk individuals.

The number of persons detained for over 99 days has decreased by 33% from the previous quarter (57 in Q2 of 2020 to 2021 and 85 in Q1 of 2020 to 2021). When compared to the same period last year (Q2 of 2019 to 2020), the CBSA noted a decrease of 49% (from 112 to 57) in the number of persons detained over 99 days. The reduction in the number of long-term detainees over the last few years continues to be explained by a number of operational practices put in place that ensure that the CBSA is actively pursuing removals while also using alternatives to detention as needed.

Detention or housing of minors

Definitions

Best interests of the child:
An international principle to ensure children enjoy the full and effective benefit of all their rights recognized in Canadian law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is also a rule of procedure that includes an assessment of the possible impact (positive or negative) of a decision on the child or children concerned.
Minor:
A person under the age of 18.
Accompanied minor:
A foreign national or permanent resident who arrives to Canada accompanied by a responsible adult (parent, guardian).
Detained minor:
A foreign national or permanent resident who is deemed to be inadmissible and is subject to an Order for Detention under A55 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act(IRPA).
Housed minor:
A foreign national, permanent resident or Canadian citizen who, after the completion of a best interest of the child assessment, is kept with their detained parent / legal guardian at an IHC at the latter's request. A housed minor is not subject to an Order for Detention and is free to remain and re-enter the CBSA IHC subject to the parent / legal guardian's consent.
Unaccompanied minor:
A foreign national or permanent resident who arrives to Canada unaccompanied by a responsible adult (parent, guardian) and is not effectively taken into the care of such a person.
Table 2.1: National overview of housed minors by quarter
Quarter Total number of minors housed in a facility Accompanied minors (by parent/guardian) Average length of time in a facility (days) Median length of time in a facility (days)
1 1 1 2 2
2 4 4 11.5 5
Year to date 4 4 6.25 5

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: For more information on the detention or housing of minors, consult the Detention Manual (PDF). The total number of minors in a facility accounts for all minors (foreign nationals, permanent residents and Canadian citizens).

Table 2.2: Housed minors by age, gender and status
Quarter Foreign national Canadian Male Female 0 to 5 years 6 to 11 years 12 to 17 years
1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
2 4 0 3 1 1 2 1

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: The minor housed in Quebec Inland Office cell has been carried over to the 2nd Quarter, therefore the total has a difference of one minor in the year to date total.

Table 2.3: Housed minors by length of housing and facility type
Quarter Under 48 hours 3 to 9 days 10 to 39 days 40 to 90 days 91 to 180 days More than 181 days Immigration Holding Centre (IHC) Youth centre Other
1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2 0 3 1 0 0 0 3 0 1

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: Housing in other facilities includes CBSA ports of entry (POE) and inland enforcement (IE) cells, hospital, etc. Note that POE and IE cells are only used for very short periods of time.

Table 2.4: Housed minors by detention grounds of parent/guardian
Region Exam Suspected of serious criminality, criminality, organized crime Unlikely to appear Identity Total
Quarter 1
Quebec 0 0 1 0 1
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 0 0 0
Quarter 2
Quebec 0 0 1 0 1
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 3 0 3

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Table 2.5: National overview of detained minors
Quarter Total number of minors detained in a facility Accompanied minors (by parent/guardian) Unaccompanied minors Average length of time in a facility (days) Median length of time in a facility (days)
1 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 0 0 0 0

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: For more information on the detention or housing of minors, consult the Detention Manual (PDF). The total number of minors in a facility accounts for all minors (foreign nationals, permanent residents and Canadian citizens).

Table 2.6: Detained minors by status, gender and age
Quarter Foreign national Canadian Male Female 0 to 5 years 6 to 11 years 12 to 17 years
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: A Canadian citizen cannot be detained but in rare and exceptional circumstances may be housed with a parent/legal guardian in a facility if it is in the best interests of the child.

Table 2.7: Detained minors by length of detention and facility type
Quarter Under 48 hours 3 to 9 days 10 to 39 days 40 to 90 days 91 to 180 days More than 181 days Immigration Holding Centre (IHC) Youth centre Other
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Note: Detentions in other facilities includes CBSA ports of entry (POE) and inland enforcement (IE) cells, hospital, etc. Note that POE and IE cells are only used for very short periods of time.

Table 2.8: Detained minors by detention grounds
Region Exam Suspected of serious criminality, criminality, organized crime Unlikely to appear Identity Total
Quarter 1
Quebec 0 0 0 0 0
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 0 0 0
Quarter 2
Quebec 0 0 0 0 0
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 0 0 0

Source: IRCC DWS – Business Reporting CBSADHAA Datamart

Analysis: Detention or housing of minors in the second quarter

There were four minors housed in the second quarter of 2020 to 2021. This represents a slight increase of three minors from Q1. One minor was housed in Quebec and 3 were housed in Pacific. In Q2 2019 to 2020, there were 52 housed minors; this is a notable decrease of 92%. This significant reduction is attributable to the measures taken to ensure detainee's safety given the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the past, the CBSA noted that the vast majority of minors housed with their parents in a detention facility were from families arriving irregularly to Canada between borders. The border was closed to most foreign nationals and those attempting to enter Canada between ports of entry were told to return to the United States. This means that we rarely see families trying to enter Canada, so fewer minors housed in an Immigration Holding Centre. The average length of time a minor spent in a facility during Q2 was 6.25 days.

Annual and previous quarterly statistics

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