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Quarterly detention statistics: Second quarter fiscal year 2021 to 2022

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
(number and %)
Total persons detained in a provincial facility
(number and %)
Total persons detained in another facility
(number and %)
1 860,183 596 162 0.07 14,581 24.5 9 343 (50%) 276 (41%) 63 (9%)
2 2,067,253 629 167 0.03 15,148 24.1 9 370 (50%) 286 (39%) 77 (11%)

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. Previous quarter totals may be slightly inflated due to late entry of release date in the system.

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 89 37 131 167 113 66
2 99 51 127 176 120 69
Table 1.3: Persons detained sorted by province
Province First quarter Second quarter
Alberta 57 57
British Columbia 134 138
Manitoba 5 7
New Brunswick 3 1
Newfoundland and Labrador 3 2
Northwest Territories 1 0
Nova Scotia 6 5
Ontario 289 310
Prince Edward Island 0 1
Quebec 98 106
Saskatchewan 6 6
Yukon 1 0

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 11 10
Examination 1 7
Identity 14 10
Security certificate 0 0
Suspected inadmissibility on grounds of human/international rights violation 0 0
Suspected inadmissibility on grounds of security 0 0
Suspected inadmissibility on grounds of serious criminality / criminality / organized criminality 4 9
Unlikely to appear / danger to the public 96 112
Unlikely to appear 475 484

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: First quarter (Q1): to ; Second quarter (Q2) to ; Third quarter (Q3) to ; Fourth quarter (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 and inland enforcement cells. Note that ports of entry and inland enforcement 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

Number of detentions

The number of entries by foreign nationals to Canada in Q2 is nearly three times higher than in Q1; however, the number of detentions increased by only 6%. Over the last two quarters, the grounds for detention that were most used were "unlikely to appear" and "unlikely to appear (and) a danger to the public."

Ontario and British Columbia continued to have the largest number of detainees this fiscal year. The province with the highest increase in the number of detainees between Q1 to Q2 is Quebec with an 8% increase (98 in Q1 and 106 in Q2 of 2021 to 2022).

Explanation for detention numbers

The easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions explains in part why entries rose during Q2. It is also common for the number of entries to increase each year during the summer months (July to September).

The CBSA continues to detain less than 1% of the overall number of foreign nationals coming to Canada. The CBSA also continues to focus on identifying release options for individuals in detention, while mitigating risk within communities for individuals that pose a higher risk. The decision to release an individual from detention is made on a case-by-case basis using a dynamic risk assessment process that aligns individual risk indicators with conditions that can mitigate that risk. The detention of an individual continues if their risk cannot be mitigated by using an alternative to detention.

Type of detention facility by quarter
Detention facility Q2 2021 to 2022 (%) Q2 2020 to 2021 (%)
Immigration Holding Centre (IHC) 50 39
Provincial facility 39 48
Other 11 13

The number of people in detention compared to the total number of foreign nationals coming into Canada decreased by 0.04% when comparing Q1 of 2022 (0.07%) with Q1 of 2021 (0.03%). Since Q1 in 2020 to 2021, the CBSA has seen a steady decrease in the percentage of people detained at a provincial facility. The use of provincial facilities decreased to 39% for Q2 of 2021 to 2022, which is the lowest percentage it has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Detention in a provincial facility is considered when a detainee's risk level is high enough that it cannot be managed at an immigration holding centre. As the borders reopen and the CBSA return to regular operations, there is an expectation that the number of individuals who are deemed unsuitable for release will be lower than the total number of individuals detained.

Length of detentions

The average length of detention remained stable at 24 days in Q2, a small increase from 23 days in Q4 of 2020 to 2021. Overall, there was a 4% increase in total detention days (14,581 days in Q1 and 15,148 days in Q2 of 2021 to 2022).

The number of persons detained for over 99 days increased by 5% from the previous quarter (69 in Q2 and 66 in Q1 of 2021 to 2022). Prior to pandemic, the number of persons detained for over 99 days consistently decreased each quarter since Q4 of 2017 to 2018. Since Q2 of 2020 to 2021, this number has increased each quarter by roughly 6% or less. 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. Alternatives to detention are increasingly important to the CBSA as we continually look for better ways to accomplish (or achieve) our mandate, while meeting international obligations. Alternatives to detention also help us continue to comply with a ministerial direction and CBSA national directive to keep minors out of detention.

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 immigration holding centre 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 immigration holding centre 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 6 6
2 0 0 0 0

Notes:

  • For more information on the detention or housing of minors, consult the Detention Manual (ENF 20) (PDF).
  • The total number of minors in a facility accounts for all minors (foreign nationals, permanent residents and Canadian citizens).
  • The numbers presented in each quarter cannot be added together to equal an annual sum. This is because the quarterly numbers reflect the number minor in a facility at a given time, and could include a person who is housed over 2 quarters and carried over.
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 0 1 0 1 1 0 0
2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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 Youth centre Other
1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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

Table 2.4: Housed minors by detention grounds of parent/guardian – Quarter 2
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 1 0 1
Quarter 2
Quebec 0 0 0 0 0
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 0 0 0
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 1 0 1 10 5

Notes:

  • For more information on the detention or housing of minors, consult the Detention Manual (ENF 20) (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 1 0 1 0 0 0 1

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 1 0 0 0 1 0 0

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

Table 2.8: Detained minors by detention grounds – Quarter 2
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 1 1
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 0 0 0

Analysis: Detention or housing of minors in the second quarter

With the introduction of the CBSA's National Immigration Detention Framework and the National Directive for the Detention or Housing of Minors, the number of minors housed or detained with their parents or legal guardian has remained low. During Q2 of 2021 to 2022, 1 minor was detained within the immigration holding centre in the Quebec Region and no minors were housed. During the same quarter last year, no minors were detained and 4 were housed in a facility, accompanied by their parent or guardian.

Minors are housed or detained only as a last resort. Immigration detention is avoided when possible for children and other vulnerable persons. Where safety or security is an issue, immigration detention is considered for the shortest time possible and primarily focused on supporting the use of alternatives to detention or the removal of individuals.

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