Public Safety Minister Goodale announces contract between the Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Red Cross for the enhanced monitoring of immigration detentions

News Release

In support of the Government of Canada’s goal to create a better and fairer immigration detention system, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced the signing of a contract between the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) for the monitoring of Canada’s immigration detainees to ensure they are treated in compliance with domestic and international standards. 

The CRC’s monitoring activities will include regular visits throughout the year to detention facilities across Canada where immigration detainees are held. This will increase the number of detainee visits each year, primarily focusing on the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied minors and individuals with medical and mental health conditions. The contract will also ensure robust reporting on monitoring activities and allow for transparency through the publication of an annual report, which will be accompanied by the CBSA’s action plan to respond to recommendations arising from the CRC’s monitoring activities. 

The CRC’s work will support the objective of the new National Immigration Detention Framework to ensure people are treated with compassion, dignity and respect for their human rights while ensuring public safety and the integrity of the immigration system.


“The Government of Canada is committed to exercising its responsibility for detentions to the highest possible standards, with the well-being of detainees, as well as the safety and security of Canadians, as the primary considerations. This partnership with the Canadian Red Cross will provide enhanced, trusted monitoring of immigration detention, strengthening its accountability and effectiveness.”

– Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“The Canadian Red Cross Detention Monitoring Program aims to contribute to an environment in which all people who are detained in Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are treated humanely and are held in accordance with national and international standards. As a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization, ongoing access to facilities and detainees is essential in carrying out our mandate to monitor conditions of detention.”

– Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO, Canadian Red Cross

Quick Facts

    • The contract is valued at approximately $1.14 million over two years, with the possibility to extend for a third year.

    • There are an average of 325 to 425 individuals detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act at any given time. This makes up less than 0.02% of travellers to Canada per year.

    • Year over year, the number of detentions has gone down despite an increase in travellers coming to Canada. Over the last five years, detentions have dropped by 28.5% while the number of entries of foreign nationals into Canada have increased by 23.6%.

    • The Canadian Red Cross has been carrying out monitoring of Canada’s immigration detainees since 1999. This includes monitoring conditions of detention in Immigration Holding Centres and in provincial correctional facilities to ensure that persons detained are treated in compliance with applicable domestic standards and international obligations to which Canada is signatory.

    • This service contract outlines expanded monitoring needs, and requires CRC to conduct up to 86 site visits annually, report on its findings and provide recommendations to detention authorities to help improve the overall immigration environment for detainees.

    • Monitoring immigration detention facilities in a manner that is consistent across the country, as well as ensuring frequent visits, will enhance the national immigration detention program and will lead to continued improvements in the overall detention environment.

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