B.C.’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has approved a one-time, three-month extension to continue holding immigration detainees in B.C. provincial custody.
But it comes with the condition that BC Corrections will not accept any new immigration detainees after July 31, 2023, according to a release from the province Wednesday (June 28). Currently, there are 12 immigration detainees in provincial custody.
Last July, BC Corrections provided the Canada Border Services Agency with 12 months written notice to end its arrangement on holding immigration detainees in provincial custody centres. That is expected to expire at the end of next month.
The province says the extension comes at the request of federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino to allow for the border agency to prepare for a safe transition for immigration detainees to CBSA custody from provincial custody.
This extension expires Oct. 31, 2023, and on Nov. 1 all remaining immigration detainees in BC Corrections’ custody will be transferred.
In the fall of 2021, Farnworth said he committed to a review of BC Corrections’ arrangement with CBSA on holding immigration detainees in provincial correctional centres. He said the review examined “all aspects,” including its effect on public safety and whether it aligns with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and expectations set by Canadian courts.
“The review brought to light that aspects of the arrangement do not align with our government’s commitment to upholding human-rights standards or our dedication to pursuing social justice and equity for everyone.”