Canada has announced that it is going to invest $138 million into its immigration detention program, while replacing the facilities in Laval and Vancouver altogether. The announcement was made at the Laval immigration holding center where Canada’s Public Minister Ralph Goodale revealed the new objectives.
According to reports, the new improvements will also minimize the number of detentions in the country. Goodale informed the people that he had taken much time to understand and study the concerns of immigration detention while he was responsible for the Border Services Agency. Goodale added that the new improvements being made to the immigration detention program will bring about some much needed change to the current system.
“The government is anxious to address the weaknesses that exist and to do better.”
Under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, anywhere between 450 and 500 people are detained at any given time by Canadian authorities. The concerns of these detentions grew when a report was released that more than 15 people have died while being in custody since 2000. Even an investigation carried out by the International Red Cross pointed out some major loopholes and shortcomings in the way immigrants were detained. The report also stated that the detainees weren’t allowed access to the proper mental health care and the detention centers where these immigrant detainees were kept was mostly overcrowded. What makes matters worse is that the immigrant detainees are sometimes kept in policy facilities or provincial jails with suspected gang members and dangerous criminals because of the lack of space in the detention centers.
Public Minister Ralph Goodale also met with Montreal Mayor, Denis Coderre and the Public Security Minister of Quebec to address the anti radicalization center at Montreal. Amongst other things, the new improvements that are currently being worked on will increase the availability of alternatives to detention and reduce the use of provincial jails being used for detaining illegal immigrants.