British Columbia has agreed to give Canada’s border agency more time to come up with an alternative to holding immigration detainees in the province’s correctional centres, almost a year after the decision to end the practice.
BC Corrections gave 12 months’ notice last July to the Canada Border Services Agency that it would stop the arrangement, which Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said did not align with the provincial government’s commitment to human rights, social justice and equity.
Farnworth has now approved a “one-time” three-month extension of the deal until the end of October at the request of federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, on the condition that no new detainees will be accepted after July 31.
The B.C. Public Safety Ministry says in a news release that all immigration detainees will be transferred from provincial jails to the border agency’s custody on Nov. 1.
It says there are currently 12 immigration detainees in BC Corrections custody.
B.C.’s decision to end the practice of holding immigration detainees in its correctional institutions had a domino effect, with New Brunswick, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia all moving to end similar contracts with the CBSA.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2023.