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Annual detention statistics: 2012 to 2023

The CBSA may detain permanent residents or foreign nationals, including minors, under certain conditions, or release them using alternatives to detention. This page provides statistics and analysis on those detained, including where, for how long and under what grounds.

Background and methodology

In fiscal year 2019 to 2020, the CBSA started counting minors in detention differently. Some minors in detention facilities are simply housed in the facility in keeping with their parent or legal guardian’s wishes, while others are in fact detained. In our reporting for previous fiscal years, there was no distinction made between those housed and those being formally detained.

For more information, consult these resources:

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. For more, consult Arrests, detentions and removals.

General detentions

Table 1.1 Detentions as a percentage of entries, by length of detention and by facility
Fiscal year Entries by foreign nationals to Canada Persons detained (total) Persons in detention / daily average) Detainees as a percentage of entries by foreign nationals to Canada Detention days Average length of detention (days) Median length of detention (days) Detentions in IHCs
(number and percentage)
Detentions in non-IHCs
Detentions in provincial facilities
(number and percentage)
Detentions in other facilities
(number and percentage)
2012 to 2013 27,412,327 8,742 539 0.03% 194,249 22.2 3 6,128 / 61% 3,070 / 31% 781 / 8%
2013 to 2014 28,371,259 7,720 538 0.03% 194,017 25.1 3 5,369 / 61% 2,738 / 31% 725 / 8%
2014 to 2015 29,938,646 6,786 497 0.02% 178,498 26.3 4 4,486 / 57% 2,510 / 32% 828 / 11%
2015 to 2016 31,940,610 6,602 451 0.02% 164,449 24.9 3 4,385 / 57% 2,361 / 31% 955 / 12%
2016 to 2017 33,873,180 6,268 364 0.02% 130,538 20.8 3 4,248 / 59% 2,041 / 28% 971 / 13%
2017 to 2018 35,668,185 8,355 333 0.02% 119,712 14.3 2 6,609 / 71% 1,831 / 20% 831 / 9%
2018 to 2019 36,145,370 8,781 342 0.02% 121,709 13.8 1 7,212 / 69% 1,679 / 16% 1,622 / 15%
2019 to 2020 33,083,807 8,825 326 0.03% 115,559 13.9 1 7,064 / 68% 1,932 / 19% 1,359 / 13%
2020 to 2021 2,980,459 1,605 133 0.05% 47,789 29.8 8 901 / 47% 783 / 40% 245 / 13%
2021 to 2022 7,438,684 3,056 187 0.04% 67,072 21.9 4 2,256 / 65% 818 / 23% 414 / 12%
2022 to 2023 22,889,298 5,248 248 0.02% 88,378 16.8 3 4,189 / 72% 931 / 16% 714 / 12%
Source: CIC DWS - Business Reporting IHDA Datamart

Notes:

  • All statistics related to number of persons detained or the number of detentions include the total number of persons in detention at any time during the reporting period. The number may include individuals whose detention began before the reporting period and/or who were released during (or after) the reporting period.
  • 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. 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.
  • Detentions in other facilities includes other law enforcement agencies (i.e., RCMP 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.
Table 1.2 Persons detained by length of detention
Fiscal year 24 hours or less 25 to 48 hours 3 to 9 days 10 to 39 days 40 to 99 days Over 99 days
2012 to 2013 2,631 1,159 2,081 2,138 767 620
2013 to 2014 2,425 918 1,711 1,759 769 631
2014 to 2015 1,994 685 1,632 1,543 688 629
2015 to 2016 1,825 844 1,587 1,498 674 547
2016 to 2017 2,042 891 1,376 1,278 594 427
2017 to 2018 4,085 1,138 1,239 1,233 637 326
2018 to 2019 4,279 1,128 1,421 1,379 621 286
2019 to 2020 4,050 1,101 1,562 1,600 621 241
2020 to 2021 328 143 412 422 260 162
2021 to 2022 1,083 334 605 665 313 195
2022 to 2023 2,311 547 864 1,069 422 226
Table 1.3 Persons sorted detained by province
Province 2012 to 2013 2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016 2016 to 2017 2017 to 2018 2018 to 2019 2019 to 2020 2020 to 2021 2021 to 2022 2022 to 2023
Alberta 259 292 270 234 160 170 187 226 111 161 166
British Columbia 1,663 1,399 1,282 1,482 1,801 2,215 1,818 1,470 310 680 1,061
Manitoba 133 127 165 62 70 104 61 72 23 23 28
New Brunswick 14 11 11 19 18 10 15 28 10 18 20
Newfoundland and Labrador 10 4 5 2 1 10 5 10 13 6 6
Northwest Territories 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0
Nova Scotia 11 14 10 9 14 12 10 14 14 10 7
Ontario 5,380 4,578 3,881 3,533 3,159 4,040 4,755 5,265 872 1,478 2,421
Prince Edward Island 0 0 2 2 1 4 0 2 1 1 0
Quebec 1,270 1,287 1,161 1,246 1,034 1,803 1,949 1,755 251 681 1,654
Saskatchewan 50 41 35 38 30 14 15 26 18 17 22
Yukon 7 5 3 4 3 2 2 0 0 2 1
Note: The sum of the provincial data is greater than the total number of detainees due to transfers between provinces.
Table 1.4 Persons detained by grounds for detention
Grounds for detention 2012 to
2013
2013 to
2014
2014 to
2015
2015 to
2016
2016 to
2017
2017 to
2018
2018 to
2019
2019 to
2020
2020 to
2021
2021 to
2022
2022 to
2023
Danger to the public 45 31 36 47 47 67 70 65 36 29 33
Examination 240 287 214 276 194 777 394 266 31 65 423
Identity 488 354 302 334 290 392 439 564 46 116 372
Security certificate 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Suspected inadmissibility on grounds of human/international rights violation 4 0 2 1 0 2 4 4 1 1 1
Suspected Inadmissibility on grounds of security 10 6 5 5 2 1 8 7 2 2 9
Suspected inadmissibility on grounds of serious criminality/ criminality/organized criminality 61 238 187 167 139 122 47 50 13 56 119
Unlikely to appear/danger to the public 831 831 512 394 318 368 493 525 250 322 393
Unlikely to appear 7,287 6,187 5,668 5,514 5,402 6,737 7,476 7,509 1,286 2,517 3,955

Minors

Context

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 section 55 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
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 to 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.
Separated minor:

All events where a minor is separated from an accompanying parent(s) / legal guardian(s), and are:

  • placed with a family member in the community (other than a parent or legal guardian);
  • placed under the care of a child welfare agency; or
  • placed under the care of a non-governmental organization, etc.

Note: In fiscal year 2019 to 2020, CBSA started counting minors housed in detention separately from those detained. For this reason, the 2019 to 2020 data appears different than previous years.

Table 2.1: National overview of housed minors
Fiscal year Minors accompanied by parent/guardian Average length of time in a facility (days) Median length of time in a facility (days)
2018 to 2019 103 21 10
2019 to 2020 136 17 12
2020 to 2021 4 6 5
2021 to 2022 4 3.5 4
2022 to 2023 30 16 8

Notes:

  • For more information on the detention of minors see sections 6.11 and 6.12 of the Detention Manual
  • The total number of minors in a facility accounts for all minors (foreign national, permanent residents and Canadian citizens).
  • A Canadian citizen cannot be detained but in rare and exceptional circumstances may be housed with a parent/guardian in a facility if it is in the best interests of the child.
Table 2.2: Housed minors by age, gender and status
Fiscal year Status Gender Age
Foreign national Canadian Male Female 0 to 5 years 6 to 11 years 12 to 17 years
2018 to 2019 94 9 46 57 53 35 15
2019 to 2020 135 1 63 73 73 41 25
2020 to 2021 4 0 3 1 1 1 2
2021 to 2022 3 1 1 3 2 0 2
2022 to 2023 30 0 15 15 10 11 9
Table 2.3: Housed minors by length of housing and facility type
Fiscal year Length of housing Facility type
Under 48 hours 3 to 9 days 10 to 39 days 40 to 90 days 91 to 180 days Over 181 days IHC Youth centre Other
2018 to 2019 21 28 40 10 4 0 102 1 0
2019 to 2020 17 32 78 9 0 0 136 0 0
2020 to 2021 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 to 2022 1 3 0 0 0 0 4 0 0
2022 to 2023 12 6 8 4 0 0 30 0 0
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) and region
Fiscal year Region Parent/guardian grounds Total
Exam Suspected of serious criminality, criminality, organized crime Unlikely to appear Identity
2018 to 2019 Quebec 1 1 33 68 97
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 3 3 6
Summary 1 1 33 68 103
2019 to 2020 Quebec 1 2 24 103 130
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 5 1 6
Summary 1 2 29 104 136
2020 to 2021 Quebec 0 0 1 0 0
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 3 0 0
Summary 0 0 4 0 0
2021 to 2022 Quebec 0 1 1 1 3
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 1 0 1
Summary 0 1 2 1 4
2022 to 2023 Quebec 1 7 7 9 24
GTA 0 0 6 0 6
Pacific 0 0 0 0 0
Summary 1 7 13 9 30
Table 2.5: National overview of detained minors
Fiscal year 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)
2018 to 2019 15 11 4 4 3
2019 to 2020 2 0 2 2.5 2.5
2020 to 2021 0 0 0 0 0
2021 to 2022 4 0 4 3 1
2022 to 2023 3 0 3 24 1

Notes:

  • For more information on the detention of minors see section 5.10 of the Detention Manual
  • The total number of minors in a facility accounts for all minors (foreign national, permanent residents and Canadian citizens).
  • A Canadian citizen cannot be detained but in rare and exceptional circumstances may be housed with a parent/guardian in a facility if it is in the best interests of the child.
Table 2.6: Detained minors by status, gender and age
Fiscal year Status Gender Age
Foreign national Canadian Male Female 0 to 5 years 6 to 11 years 12 to 17 years
2018 to 2019 15 0 10 5 3 2 10
2019 to 2020 2 0 2 0 0 0 2
2020 to 2021 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 to 2022 4 0 2 2 0 0 4
2022 to 2023 3 0 1 2 0 0 3
Table 2.7: Detained minors by length of detention and facility type
Fiscal year Length of detention Facility type
Under 48 hours 3 to 9 days 10 to 39 days 40 to 90 days 91 to 180 days Over 181 days IHC Youth centre Other
2018 to 2019 6 8 1 0 0 0 13 0 2
2019 to 2020 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
2020 to 2021 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 to 2022 3 0 1 0 0 0 4 0 0
2022 to 2023 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2
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 2.8: Detained minors by detention grounds
Fiscal year Region Parent/guardian grounds Total
Exam Suspected of serious criminality, criminality, organized crime Unlikely to appear Identity
2018 to 2019 Quebec 0 0 5 5 10
GTA 0 0 3 0 3
Pacific 0 0 0 0 0
PRA 1 0 0 0 1
SOR 0 0 1 0 1
Summary 1 0 9 5 15
2019 to 2020 Quebec 0 0 0 0 0
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 2 0 2
Summary 0 0 2 0 2
2020 to 2021 Quebec 0 0 0 0 0
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 0 0 0
Summary 0 0 0 0 0
2021 to 2022 Quebec 0 0 0 1 1
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 3 0 3
Summary 0 0 3 1 4
2022 to 2023 Quebec 0 0 1 1 2
GTA 0 0 0 0 0
Pacific 0 0 1 0 1
Summary 0 0 2 1 3
Table 2.9: National overview of separated minors
Fiscal year Total number of separated minors Average length of time separated (days) Median length of time separated (days)
2022 to 2023 8 7 1
Table 2.10: Separated minors by status, gender and age
Fiscal year Status Gender Age
Foreign national Canadian Male Female 0 to 5 years 6 to 11 years 12 to 17 years
2022 to 2023 8 0 2 6 3 2 3

Alternative to detention

Definitions

Community supervision

A program that allows individuals to live in the community and be supported by family, or by a third party service provider that specializes in community service. Community supervision consists of three programs:

1. Release on a deposit or guarantee to a bondsperson.
2. Release on reporting conditions.
3. Release on a Community Case Management & Supervision program.

Deposit:
the person is only released from detention once funds are deposited.
Guarantee:
the bondsperson will need to pay the money that is promised if the person in detention does not respect the conditions of their release.
Conditions:
the CBSA and/or the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will put in place conditions when a person is released, based on their risk level. See section 4.1 of Enforcement Manual 34: Alternatives to Detention for more information.
Community case management and supervision:
for people who need support and a bondsperson to lower their level of risk when released into the community. The CBSA has contracts with the John Howard Society of Canada, the Toronto Bail Program and the Salvation Army.

Electronic supervision

Electronic supervision provides more options for a person to communicate with the CBSA. It also allows the CBSA to better identify and investigate those who fail to comply.

Voice reporting:
uses biometric voiceprint technology to monitor and confirm that people are following their reporting conditions. Unlike in-person reporting, voice reporting allows people to use cell phones or landlines to report.
Electronic monitoring:
a limited number of people are chosen based on the level of risk they present and are monitored through a GPS and/or Radio Frequency system. The CBSA has partnered with Correctional Service Canada to deliver this technology. Electronic monitoring is meant to be used with community supervision.

Active alternative to detention participants

Active alternative to detention participants are the number of people who are on an active alternative to detention program at some point during the selected period. This number of active participants can include:

Counting the number of participants

The number of active alternative to detention participants at a specific time is not the same as the number of new enrollments. A person can be active in more than one alternative to detention program. This can create times where the person is counted once for each program they were active in. For this reason, it is not possible to add up the number of participants for each program to get the total number of individuals on an alternative to detention program.

A person will be added to the alternative to detention totals in every quarter where they are enrolled in an alternative to detention program. For this reason, the quarters cannot be added together for the total number of active alternative to detention participants in the year to date.

Table 3.1: Total active alternative to detention participants during the selected period
Fiscal year Community case management and supervision (with mandatory residency) Electronic monitoring Community case management and supervision (excludes mandatory residency) Voice reporting In-person reporting Total active alternative to detention participants
2022 to 2023 53 62 496 3,039 13,767 15,887
Table 3.2: Overview of persons released from detention on an alternative to detention condition
Fiscal year Persons detained Persons released on an alternative to detention Persons released on an alternatives to detention as a percentage of all persons detained (%) Average number of days in detention prior to release Number of persons released from an immigration holding center Number of persons released from a provincial facility Number of persons released from another facility
2022 to 2023 5,248 1,813 35 25 1,390 356 82

Notes:

  • The number of persons released on an alternative to detention includes Community case management and supervision (with mandatory residency), electronic monitoring, community case management and supervision (excludes mandatory residency), voice reporting, in-person reporting, deposit, guarantee, and other immigration conditions.
  • Another facility includes other law enforcement agencies like the RCMP and provincial police cells. The CBSA ports of entry cells, the CBSA inland enforcement cells, and the other law enforcement agencies' cells are only used for short periods of time.
Table 3.3: Number of persons released from detention on an alternative to detention sorted by province
Province 2022 to 2023 Percentage of persons released on an alternative to detention as a percentage of all persons detained (%)
Alberta 76 46
British Columbia 208 20
Manitoba 12 43
New Brunswick 9 20
Newfoundland and Labrador 4 50
Northwest Territories 0 0
Nova Scotia 4 57
Ontario 1,010 42
Prince Edward Island 0 0
Quebec 577 35
Saskatchewan 8 32
Yukon 1 100

Notes:

  • Does not include persons who were enrolled directly in an alternative to detention program without detention.
  • Zero percent means that there were detainees during this period, but no releases on an alternative to detention. If no percentage is provided, this means there were no detainees during this period.
Table 3.4: Number of persons released from detention by alternative to detention and by level of intervention
Fiscal year Community case management and supervision (with mandatory residency) Electronic monitoring Community case management and supervision (excludes mandatory residency) Voice reporting In-person reporting Deposit or guarantee Other immigration condition
2022 to 2023 26 23 115 33 1,352 13 251

Notes:

  • The alternative to detention programs are listed from left to right from requiring the most intervention to the least intervention.
  • People can be released on many alternative to detention programs but have only been counted once in this table according to the alternative to detention program that they're enrolled in that requires the most intervention. For example, if a person is enrolled in community case management and supervision and voice reporting, they will only appear under the community case management and supervision option.
Table 3.5: Number of new enrollments on alternative to detention by program type
Fiscal year Community case management and supervision (with mandatory residency) Electronic monitoring Community case management and supervision (excludes mandatory residency) Voice reporting In-person reporting Total
2022 to 2023 30 23 123 483 6,071 6,730

Notes: The Electronic monitoring program is available in all regions except Southern Ontario.

Table 3.6: Rate of non-compliance by alternative to detention and overall
Fiscal year Community case management and supervision (with mandatory residency) (%) Electronic monitoring (%) Community case management and supervision (excludes mandatory residency) (%) Voice reporting (%) In-person reporting (%)
2022 to 2023 2 4 4 19 11

Notes:

  • The rate of non-compliance is calculated by dividing the number of warrants issued and the number of arrests without warrant executed by the number of active alternative to detention participants during the selected period.
  • Non-compliance does not include all possible violations. This graph only shows the more extreme cases where an active alternative to detention participant fails to comply with one or more of their conditions.
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