The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has certified a class-action lawsuit against the federal government regarding the use of provincial jails for immigration detainees.

The suit represents 8,360 people who were detained in 87 provincial and territorial jails by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) between 2016 and 2023.

In the decision issued Friday, the court rejected each of the 15 objections raised by the federal government’s lawyers who were trying to stop the action from proceeding.

“Immigration detainees were incarcerated in provincial prisons and encountered the same conditions as criminal inmates, including co-mingling with violent offenders, use of restraints such as shackles and handcuffs, strip searches, and severe restrictions on contact and movement,” wrote Justice Benjamin Glustein.

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    10 days ago

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    The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has certified a class-action lawsuit against the federal government regarding the use of provincial jails for immigration detainees.

    In the decision issued Friday, the court rejected each of the 15 objections raised by the federal government’s lawyers who were trying to stop the action from proceeding.

    “Immigration detainees were incarcerated in provincial prisons and encountered the same conditions as criminal inmates, including co-mingling with violent offenders, use of restraints such as shackles and handcuffs, strip searches, and severe restrictions on contact and movement,” wrote Justice Benjamin Glustein.

    "Nonetheless, the CBSA has a longstanding practice of detaining thousands of immigration detainees in provincial prisons through arrangements with provinces and territories.

    “I am proud that I am now able to stand up and fight back against this inhumane practice on behalf of the class to help make sure that it does not happen to anyone else,” Richard said in a statement provided by his lawyers.

    Certification means the court believes there’s enough evidence to justify the lawsuit, but only a future trial will determine whether the group of immigration detainees or the federal government wins the case.


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