Consultation on CBSA's National Immigration Detention Framework:
Summary Report of Consultations with Canadians
April-May 2017


The Government of Canada believes that it is important for Canadians to be informed and engaged on Canada's immigration detention system. As part of the Government's commitment to openness and transparency as well as to create a better, fairer immigration detention system for the humane and dignified treatment of individuals while upholding public safety, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) consulted with Canadians between April 7, 2017 and May 22, 2017 on key elements of the National Immigration Detention Framework announced by the Minister of Public Safety in August 2016.

As part of the consultation, Canadians — including the public, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academics, and government and CBSA employees — were invited to share their views via Consulting with Canadians, the single-window web access to government consultations. At the launch of the consultation, a ministerial news release was issued in addition to public outreach via social media (Twitter and Facebook).Two additional reminders were broadcast on social media at various intervals during the consultation period. In addition, CBSA stakeholders were informed of the consultation's launch and encouraged to help raise awareness by broadly sharing CBSA's social media posts. Media were also made aware and provided with links at every opportunity in response to numerous detention-related queries.

The consultation consisted of a summary report — providing background information on the CBSA, Canada's immigration detention program, the National Immigration Detention Framework (herein after referred to as the "Framework") and an overview of input received from key stakeholders during stakeholder consultations between August and December 2016 — and a questionnaire for respondents to complete. Written submissions were also welcomed.

The questionnaire focused on six key areas, consistent with elements of the Framework:

Respondents were asked to identify a level of agreement or disagreement with a number of statements related to each area. Of the 20 statements:

Over the six-week consultation period, many responses to the questionnaire and written submissions were received:


Over the consultation period (April and May 2017), over 5,000 visits were recorded to the consultation splash page. More than 2,300 visits were made to the summary report and 1,546 visits to the questionnaire.

The majority (54.2%) of responses were identified as being from the public, followed by CBSA employees (27.1%), academics (6.6%), government employees (5.9%), other (4.8%) and NGOs (1.4%).

For the purposes of providing an overview and analysis of each response, "Strongly Agree" and "Agree" as well as "Disagree" and "Strongly Disagree" responses were paired to calculate a percentage of respondents that agree and disagree. "Neither agree nor disagree" responses remained separate.

Representation of Respondent Groups

Summary of Results by Key Area

Detention Program/Framework/Transparency:

Alternatives to Detention (ATDs):

Health/Mental Health/Addiction Counselling:


Long-Term Detention:

Summary of Written Submissions and Comments:

The following provides a summary of most-cited comments received via the questionnaire and written submissions. Given the wide diversity in respondent groups, the summary highlights both diverging and converging views where they exist. The summary elements are not placed in any particular order. Some submissions incorporated recommendations previously made by stakeholders which were captured in the stakeholder consultations summary report, and therefore were not repeated in this summary.

What respondents said about the Detention Program and direction of the Framework:

What respondents said about Alternatives to Detention (ATDs):

What respondents said about infrastructure:

Videoconferencing facilities (for IRB detention reviews and other immigration enforcement proceedings)

What respondents said about minors and detention and other vulnerable groups:

What respondents said about medical, mental health and counselling support and services:

What respondents said about long-term detention:

What respondents said about transparency:


The CBSA is committed to informing and engaging Canadians on government programming and policy proposals. Input received through this consultation is appreciated and will help inform transformations of Canada's immigration detention program.

Input from Canadians and stakeholders on the new Framework is critical to establishing a detention program that reflects Canadian democratic values ― one that is better, fairer and provides humane and dignified treatment of individuals while upholding public safety. Expanding the availability and use of ATDs, working closely with trusted partners, improving immigration detention infrastructure and thoroughly reviewing detention policies and standards are critical to transforming Canada's immigration detention program.

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