Alberta ending agreement to hold people detained on immigration matters

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is ending an agreement to hold federal immigration detainees in provincial jails.

The province says that written notice has been given to the federal government that it is ending an agreement with Canada Border Services Agency to use provincial correctional centres to house people being detained on immigration matters.

The federal government has until the end of June to come up with alternative arrangements.

Alberta says that between April 1, 2022, and Oct. 31, 2022, the number of immigration detainees in provincial facilities averaged 15 people a day.

Mike Ellis, Alberta's minister of public safety and emergency services, says the change is in response to concerns about using correctional facilities to hold people who haven’t been charged with a criminal offence or convicted of one.

Ellis says people who come to Canada for a new life deserve a better welcome than a jail cell while paperwork is sorted out.

"That is why we are also calling on all provinces to join us in ending this practice," he said in a statement Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 18, 2023.

The Canadian Press