Accountable immigration enforcement

The CCR has long called for an independent and effective complaints and oversight mechanism for the Canada Border Services Agency.

While CBSA has sweeping police powers, it is unlike most other police forces in Canada because there is no independent oversight body to review its actions and to ensure respect for the human rights of refugees, migrants, and Canadians who deal with the agency. Municipal and provincial police across Canada, as well as the RCMP, have various forms of complaint agencies and independent investigation agencies to supervise their conduct.

In 2014 the CCR joined the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) in calling on the government to act on the need for a complaints and monitoring mechanism for CBSA. Three examples were highlighted: information about refugee claimants shared in the country of origin; “Sathi” case; death in detention of Lucia Vega Jiménez in December 2013.

The CCR repeated its concerns about the need for a complaint mechanism in its Submission to Senate on CBSA practices regarding inadmissibility (April 2014)

In September 2014, a coroner’s inquest was held into the death of Ms Vega Jiménez.

The CCR also responded to the recommendations of the jury at the inquest.