Arrests, detentions and removals

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers carry out arrests, detentions and removals of individuals who are not permitted in Canada.


A CBSA officer may issue a warrant for the arrest and detention of a permanent resident or foreign national if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the individual is inadmissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and:

Immigration law allows for the arrest and detention of foreign nationals without a warrant.

In all cases, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires that the arresting officer inform the arrested individual of:


Canada's immigration law permits the CBSA to detain permanent residents and foreign nationals under certain conditions. Officers must consider all reasonable alternatives before making the decision to detain an individual. The CBSA ensures that it is exercising responsibility for detentions to the highest possible standards. The physical and mental health and well-being of detainees, as well as the safety and security of Canadians, are primary considerations. The launch of the National Immigration Detention Framework (NIDF) marked the onset of the transformation of Canada's immigration detention system, to make it better and fairer.

CBSA officers can detain a foreign national or permanent resident at a port of entry if:

CBSA officers can also detain a foreign national if:

  1. they have reasonable grounds to believe the person is
    • unlikely to appear for an immigration proceeding (e.g., examination, hearing, removal);
    • a danger to the public;
    • unable to satisfy the officer of their identity.
  2. they are designated as part of an irregular arrival by the Minister of Public Safety.

Reasons for continuing detention may be found in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Find out more about detentions.

Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Program

The CBSA started the national roll-out of its Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Program, which represents a key pillar of the NIDF. With the implementation of the ATD Program, the CBSA has established an expanded set of tools and programs that enable officers to more effectively release individuals into the community, while achieving balanced enforcement outcomes.

The ATD program was developed in consultation with stakeholders. In addition to release on reporting conditions (i.e., in-person reporting), cash deposit or the establishment of a bondsperson, the ATD Program will include additional mechanisms of release:

The Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Program provides risk-based, nationally consistent programming to individuals deemed suitable for release from detention. It is an expanded set of tools and programs that enables officers to more effectively release individuals into the community, while achieving balanced enforcement outcomes.

ATD Community Programming

ATD community programming allows individuals to reside in the community supported by family/kin, or supported by a service provider that specializes in community services. Program options can be used alone or together. Options include:

Release to a Community Case Management and Supervision (CCMS) program: CCMS is intended for persons that lack a bondsperson, and/or who require support in addition to a bondsperson to mitigate risk upon release into the community. The support provided is tailored to individuals’ needs to ensure compliance with program requirements. Services may include:

Electronic Supervision Tools

Electronic Supervision Tools complement community programming by providing additional tools that support communication to the CBSA. These include:

Enrollment occurs on an ATD occurs after an individual has been deemed suitable for program participation by the CBSA, or after the IRB has ordered the individual released.

Throughout the immigration or enforcement continuum individuals may have their release conditions changed based on their behaviour and overall level of compliance with the conditions of their release.

All decisions made by the IRB may be challenged by the individual, either at a subsequent detention review before the IRB, or through an application for a change of conditions to the IRB. Any decision made by the CBSA or the IRB may be reviewed according to existing legislative frameworks.

Other related links

Questions and Answers
Electronic Monitoring
Voice Monitoring
Community Case Management and Supervision


Removing individuals who do not have the right to enter or stay in Canada is essential to maintaining the integrity of our immigration program and to ensuring fairness for those who come to this country lawfully.

Find out more about removals.

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