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Caring for kids new to Canada

A guide for health professionals working with immigrant and refugee children and youth

A statement against the immigration detention of children

Key points

  • An average of over 242 children per year were detained in Canada between 2010 and 20141
  • Multiple studies confirm the negative consequences of immigration detention
  • Canada’s current practice contravenes its domestic and international legal obligations

Supporting organizations and individuals are listed at the end of this document

At several key points in history, Canada has offered refuge to those seeking safety, and protected the rights of children.

These instances stand in stark contrast with Canada’s record on immigration detention, which has been repeatedly criticized, most recently by the UN Human Rights Committee in 2015.2 Concerns raised include the indefinite nature of immigration detention, deaths in detention and lack of access to appropriate medical care for detainees. As organizations and individuals that care about children, we believe that Canada should immediately cease the practice of placing children in immigration detention. These detainees include asylum seekers, refugees, Canadian citizens and non-citizens. Children range in age from newborns and toddlers to pre-teens and teenagers, some of whom are unaccompanied. In most cases, children are held alongside their parents or adult siblings, who are held only for immigration-related reasons. Although many of these children are held as “guests” to avoid separating them from detained parents, in fact they are “detained guests” with no right of review of their detention, and inadequate consideration of their best interests when their parents’ detention is being reviewed. In order for Canada to uphold its legal obligations under the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the practice of placing children in immigration detention must be abolished.

Children should not be subject to immigration detention. Children in immigration detention live like prisoners,3 in punitive conditions,4 in immigration holding centres and, in some cases, jails. They spend their days in secure facilities, exposed to guard pat-downs and barbed wire fences, with minimal access to outdoor areas, education and play. They lack healthy food and have sleep difficulties. Unaccompanied minors are routinely held in solitary confinement.5 Research conducted in Canadian immigration detention facilities6 shows that detained children suffer extreme distress, fear, and a deterioration of cognitive, physical and emotional functioning both during and long after detention, including anxiety, selective mutism, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. These findings are consistent with research in other countries,7 which shows that children subject to immigration detention have dramatically increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, and may experience developmental delays or behavioural issues. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act8 identifies the best interests of the child as a relevant consideration9 and mandates that immigration detention of children should occur only as a last resort.10 However, immigration detention is never in a child’s best interest, and should never be considered an acceptable option. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees11 has condemned the immigration detention of children, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child12 has called on states to “expeditiously and completely cease the detention of children on the basis of their immigration status”,13 and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, François Crépeau, has recently released a statement on the growing problem of immigration detention of migrant children.14  Canada is failing to meet these standards.

Children should not be separated from their parents or primary caregivers. Child welfare agencies strive not to separate families. In some cases when children are at risk, they may be required to place children in alternate care. However, it is not appropriate to consider the placement of children in child welfare agencies as an alternative to detention. Separation from caring and capable guardians is not in children’s best interests. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights15 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child16 protect the right to family life, and the latter states that children shall not be separated from their parents except where it is necessary for the best interests of a child. Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act emphasizes the “need for continuity of care and for stable relationships within a family and cultural environment.”17 Similar provisions are contained within each province’s child welfare legislation.18 Alternative care may be particularly traumatic for children from newcomer communities, who experience isolation and disconnection from their identities and cultural background when they are placed with caretakers outside of their communities. Alongside the impact on children, indefinite immigration detention is damaging for their parents and other adults as well. The impact of immigration detention on the physical and mental health of detainees is well established, with increased levels of anxiety, depression and PTSD.19 Poor parental mental health negatively impacts children’s mental health, leading to further negative outcomes for children.

There are viable alternatives20 to immigration detention. Canada should stop its harmful practice of detaining children and separating families. Evidence-informed community based alternatives to immigration detention include enforcement of specific reporting obligations, the use of cash bonds and guarantors, and suitable risk management programs for more difficult cases. Many countries have prioritized finding alternatives to detention for unaccompanied minors and children and families given the well-documented detrimental impacts immigration detention can have. These alternatives enable authorities to address concerns regarding identity or flight risk without compromising the health of children.

We urge the government of Canada to immediately cease the immigration detention of unaccompanied minors, children, and families, in order to halt the significant harm to children. Children should neither be detained, nor separated from their parents as a result of the detention of their parents. Community-based alternatives to immigration detention should be implemented immediately to protect the best interests of children and children’s right to liberty and family life. It is time for Canada to live up to its moral and legal obligations.

This statement is supported by the following organizations and individuals:

Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry /
Académie canadienne de psychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent

The College of Family Physicians of Canada /
Collège des médecins de famille du Canada

Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture

Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies

University of Toronto Faculty of Law International Human Rights Program

Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

Centretown Community Health Centre /
Centre de santé communautaire du Centreville

Association of Ontario Health Centres /
Association des centres de sante de l’Ontario

The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre

Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario /
L'Association des infirmières et infirmiers autorisés de l'Ontario


Canadian Paediatric Society

Canadian Council for Refugees

Justice for Children and Youth

Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec

Amnesty International

Amnistie internationale Canada francophone

René J. Basque, c.r./Q.C., Président/President, L’Association du Barreau canadien/Canadian Bar Association

Refugee Lawyers Association

Refugee Law Office

Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Ontario

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL)

Criminal Lawyers Association (CLA)

Peel Children’s Aid Society

Children’s Aid Society of Toronto

University of Toronto Department of Pediatrics

Kwame McKenzie, MD, Chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

David White, MD CCFP FCFP Professor & Interim Chair, Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Sociocultural Consultation and Interpretation Services of the Montreal Children’s Hospital

Multicultural Clinic of the Montreal Children’s Hospital

Laurence Kirmayer, Division of Transcultural Psychiatry McGill University

Réseau d’intervention auprès des personnes ayant subi la violence organisée (RIVO)

Unité de Pédiatrie Interculturelle du Centre de recherche du CHU-Ste Justine

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)

Deepa Mattoo, Legal Director, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic

Inter Clinic Immigration Working Group

Action Refugiés Montréal

UNISON Community Legal Clinic

Kensington Bellwoods Community Legal Clinic

South Asian Community Legal Clinic of Ontario

Metro Toronto Chinese Southeast Asian Legal Clinic

Rexdale Community Legal Clinic

HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario

Jewish Refugee Action Network

Romero House

FCJ Refugee Centre

Centre de recherche Sherpa de l’Institut universitaire au regard des communautés culturelles


1. Mulugeta Abai

2. Amanda Abate, MD, Toronto

3. Sakina Abbas, RN, Toronto

4. Elia Abi-Jaoude, MSc, MD, FRCPC, Staff Psychiatrist, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

5. John Abrams, Lawyer, Hamilton

6. Parul Agarwal, MD, FRCPC, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Toronto

7. Dr. Yusra Ahmad, MD, FRCPC  Psychiatrist affiliated with St. Michael’s Hospital and Women’s College Hospital

8. Tane Akamatsu, Psychologist, Toronto District School Board, Toronto, ON

9. Paul Alexander, Barrister, Toronto

10. Fernando Alvarez, MD Professeur de Pédiatrie Université de Montreal

11. Shiva Amri, scientist, Toronto

12. Isabel Anbdariza, MSW, RSW, RP, Toronto

13. Leslie M. Anderson, Barrister & Solicitor, The Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples, Toronto, ON

14. M. Keyshawn Anderson, Barrister & Solicitor, Toronto

15. Amy Andrews Alexander, MD, MHSc, CCFP, Palliative Care and Psychosocial Oncology, Southlake Regional Cancer Centre, Newmarket

16. Alison Arnot, MD, FCFP, Lecturer Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto

17. Jagpreet Arora, MD, CCFP, Toronto

18. Alison Ashamalla, MD, CCFP, Toronto

19. Robin D. Bajer, lawyer, Robin D. Bajer Law Office, Vancouver

20. Cristina Balaita, Medical Student, University of Toronto

21. Tian Tian (Phoebe) Bao, MD, University of Toronto

22. Karin Baqi, Barrister & Solicitor, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario

23. Lucy Barker, MD, Psychiatry Resident, Toronto

24. J. Barrett

25. Ahmed Bayoumi, MD, Physician and Professor, University of Toronto

26. Julie Beauchamp, Articling Student, Refugee Law Office

27. Caroline Beauregard, professeure suppléante en art-thérapie à l’UQAT, Montréal

28. Dr. Melanie Bechard, Toronto

29. Michaela Beder, MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, Lecturer, University of Toronto, Toronto

30. Maria Pilar Pia Bejar,  Victoria

31. Coline Bellefleur, Avocate, Montreal

32. Max Berger, Lawyer, Toronto

33. Dominique Bergeron, Montreal

34. Gebre Berihun, Health Promoter

35. Joanna Berry, Student-at-law, Toronto

36. Subodh S. Bharati, Barrister & Solicitor, Toronto

37. Gabrielle Bibas, MD, Pediatric Resident, Vancouver

38. Anne Biringer, MD, Family Physician, Toronto

39. Sheila Block, Lawyer, Toronto

40. Wendell Block, MD, Toronto

41. Stewart Blott, Board Member ARM, Montreal

42. Joshua Blum, Barrister & Solicitor, Jared Will & Associates, Toronto

43. Andrea Bobadilla, PhD(c), Western University, Toronto

44. Lara Bober, PhD, Charlottetown

45. Jacqueline Bonisteel, Associate, Corporate Immigration Law Firm, Ottawa

46. Chris Borst, Program Analyst for Children’s Services, City of Hamilton

47. Amanda Botelho, Caseworker/Operations, Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support, Kitchener

48. Elise Bourgeois-Guérin, psychologue, centre de recherche SHERPA, Montréal

49. Jane Bourke

50. Mary Boyce, Barrister & Solicitor, Toronto

51. Nikki Bozinoff, MD

52. Mahli Brindamour, MD, FRCPC, General pediatrician, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

53. Andrew Brouwer, CS, Barrister and Solicitor, Senior Counsel-Refugee Law, Legal Aid Ontario, Toronto

54. Catherine Bruce, Director, Refugee Law Office, Toronto

55. S. Budd

56. Verity Buskard, RN(C), Vancouver

57. Evelyn Calugay

58. Denise Canso, Policy & Program Manager, Ontario Psychiatric Outreach Program, Toronto

59. Patricia Cavanagh, MD, FRCPC

60. Francine Challenger, Analyst, Toronto

61. Jessica Chandrashekar, PhD Candidate (York University), JD Candidate (Osgoode Hall Law School), Toronto

62. Nate Charach, Psychiatrist, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto

63. Alison Charlebois, MD, Family Physician, Toronto

64. Timothy Chung, Medical Student, University of Toronto, Toronto

65. Tom Clark, Member CCR, Toronto

66. Janet Cleveland, Chercheure et psychologue, Centre de recherche SHERPA (Université McGill), Montréal

67. Gregory Cohen, MD, Resident in Psychiatry, University of Toronto

68. Tessa Colthoff, Drs. C. Psych. Assoc.

69. Victoria Cook, MSc, MD, FRCPC (Pediatrics), Vancouver

70. Faith Cormier

71. Micheal Crane, Lawyer, Toronto, ON

72. Candace Creighton, MD, UBC Paediatric Resident, Vancouver

73. Tyler Curtis, MD, Family Physician, Toronto

74. Diana Da Silva, MSW Candidate, York University, Toronto

75. Aris Daghighian, Barrister & Solicitor, Co-Chair CARL Advocacy Committee

76. Liz Darling, RM PhD, Midwifery Group of Ottawa, Ottawa

77. Matthew Davies, OCT, Toronto

78. George Dei, Professor, OISE

79. Hannah Deloughery, Toronto

80. Laila Demirdache, Staff Lawyer, Community Legal Services Ottawa

81. Avram Denburg, MD, Paediatrician, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

82. Johanna Dennie, Staff Immigration and Refugee Lawyer, Legal Assistance of Windsor, Windsor

83. James Deutsch, MD, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Toronto

84. Elizabeth Docherty, Montreal

85. Kelly Doctor, Lawyer, Goldblatt Partners LLP

86. Katie Dorman, MSc MD CCFP, University of Toronto, Toronto

87. Kathleen Doukas, MD, CCFP

88. Anna Du Vent

89. Rose Dymetryszyn, MD, FRCP(C)

90. Cheryl Eadie, MSW, RSW, Mental Health Social Worker, Inner City Family Health Team, Toronto

91. Anne Egger, Nurse Practitioner, Toronto

92. Nadia El Ghandouri, Lawyer, Quebec City

93. Kent Elson

94. Gail Erlick Robinson MD, FRCPC

95. Marie Eykel, comédienne et animatrice, Montréal

96. Alison Eyre

97. Gabriel Fabreau MD, MPH, FRCPC, Clinical Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

98. David Fancy, PhD

99. Jerome Fanmi Olorunpomi

100. Mike Fazio, MD, Vancouver, BC

101. Carole Fiore, avocate en immigration, Montreal

102. Sarah Follett, MD, Sherbourne Health Centre, Toronto

103. Conchita Fonseca, MD, CFPC-EM, Ottawa

104. Lana Frado, Executive Director, Sound Times Support Services

105. R.A. Frager, Associate Prof., History Department, McMaster University

106. Michelle Fraser, MD, CCFP Peterborough, ON

107. Suleiman Furmli, MD

108. Gerald F. Gabriel, Lay Pastoral Associate, RC Diocese of Charlottetown, Charlottetown PEI

109. Amy Gajaria, MD, Psychiatry resident, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Toronto

110. Miriam Garfinkle, MD, Toronto

111. Denise Gastaldo, associate professor, University of Toronto, Toronto

112. Melinda Gayda, Lawyer, Refugee Law Office, Legal Aid Ontario, Toronto

113. Sharon Gazeley, MD, FCFP, Family Physician, Toronto

114. Nir Gepner, Staff Lawyer, Willowdale Community Legal Services

115. Marcy Gerstein

116. David Gifuni, medical student, Western University, London

117. James Gildiner, Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto

118. Avvy Go, lawyer

119. Ritika Goel, MD, MPH, CCFP, Family Physician and Lecturer, University of Toronto, Toronto

120. Tyler Goettl, Barrister & Solicitor, Toronto

121. Luin Goldring, Professor of Sociology, York University

122. Brydon Gombay, Ed. D., Retired Community Psychologist, Toronto

123. Daniel Gorman, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

124. John Graham-Pole, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics

125. Daniela Graziano, MSc, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto

126. Mia Grillakis, Registered Nurse OIIQ, Montreal

127. Hanna Gros, Senior Fellow at the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law

128. Lara Guest, Lawyer, Toronto

129. August Guillaume, Edmonton, Retired

130. Melini Gupta, MD, Toronto

131. Christina Gural, Lawyer, Toronto

132. Gordon Guyatt, MD, Distinguished University Professor, McMaster University, Hamilton

133. Jaswant Guzder, MD, McGill Professor of Psychiatry

134. Ken Harrison, MD, Reconnect Community Health Services

135. Salwa Hasan, medical student, Toronto

136. Nikki Healey, Social Worker

137. Guida Heir, Immigration and Refugee Lawyer, Vancouver

138. Helly, professeur, INRS, Montréal

139. Margaret Hennig, Kitchener

140. Ryan Herriot, MD, CCFP, Family Physician and Clinical Instructor, UBC Department of Family Practice

141. Manisha Hladio, MD, Family Medicine Resident, Hamilton

142. Norrie Hodge, Retired, Delta, British Columbia

143. Jacqueline Holiff, MD, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Resident, University of Toronto, Toronto

144. Tim Holland, M.D, Halifax

145. Debbie Honickman, MD, MDPAC Creemore

146. Barb Hood, NP

147. Jia Hu, MD, Toronto

148. Charles Hui, MD, FRCPC, Chief of Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, Ottawa

149. Katrina Hui, MD,Resident Physician, Toronto

150. Andrea Hunter, MD, FRCPC, Associate Professor, Pediatrics, McMaster University

151. Julia Huys, Barrister and Solicitor, Street Youth Legal Services, Toronto

152. Melissa Tierney, Calgary, AB

153. Stella Iriah, Barrister & Solicitor, RLA Member, Toronto

154. Andrew Irvine, MD, BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver

155. Beverley Jackson, MD, CCFP, Toronto

156. Zahra Jaffer, MB, ChB, CCFP Family Physician, Weeneebayko General Hospital

157. Annie Jaimes, MA, PhDc, UQAM et CIUSSS Centre-Ouest de l’Ile de Montréal, Montréal

158. Martyna A. Janjua, PhD candidate, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto

159. Brandy Jensen

160. Marcella Jones, Medical Student, University of Toronto

161. Jonathon W. Jurmain

162. Joyce Kalsen, Executive Director, Ancaster, ON

163. Menaka Kanendran, Refugee Law Office, Toronto

164. Sumaya Karimi, Program Coordinator (Afghan Women’s Organization)

165. Zehra Kavame, Administrative Coordinator-Action Réfugiés Montréal

166. Bushra Khan, MD Candidate 2018, McMaster University, Hamilton

167. Sumeet Khanna, MD, Toronto

168. Sean Kidd, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry, Toronto

169. Christopher Kitamura, MD, Psychiatrist, University of Toronto

170. Dr. Linda Klapwyk, MD, CCFP, FCFP Family Physician

171. Diana Kljenak, MD, Ontario Psychiatric Association President

172. Andrew Koch, Health Planner, Unison Health & Community Services

173. Sophia Koukoui, chercheur postdoctoral en pédopsychiatrie transculturelle, Université McGill, Montréal

174. Rachel Kronick, MD, FRCPC, MSc, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University,
Division of Child Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal

175. Ekta Kumar, Montreal

176. George Kurien, Toronto

177. Sameer Kushwaha, BSc, MD Candidate (2018), Toronto

178. Cathy Lace, Lawyer, Goldblatt Partners, Toronto

179. Audrey L-Lachaîne, Stagiaire postdoctorante SHERPA, Montréal

180. Janique Johnson-Lafleur, Coordonnatrice de recherche, Centre de recherche SHERPA, Montréal, Québec

181. Justin Lam, Medical Student, Toronto

182. Dorothy Lander, Professor Antigonish

183. Aria Laskin, Lawyer, Toronto

184. Samara Laskin, MD, Paediatric Resident Physician, BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver

185. Jessica Leah, MD, Toronto

186. Mary Jo Leddy, Order of Canada

187. Victoria Lee, MD, Psychiatrist, Toronto

188. Peggy Lee, Immigration Lawyer, Vancouver

189. Janet Lee-Evoy MD, Psychiatry Resident, University of Toronto

190. Jaime Lefebvre, Lawyer at South Ottawa Community Legal Services, Ottawa

191. Annick Legault, avocate, Montréal

192. Sabine Lehr, Associate Faculty, Royal Roads University, Victoria

193. Joel Lexchin MD, FCFP, University Health Network, Toronto

194. Esther Lexchin, Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto

195. Benjamin Liston, Staff Lawyer, Refugee Law Office

196. Hung-tat Lo, MD, Hong Fook Mental Health Association, Toronto

197. Samuel Loeb, Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto

198. Clifford Luyt

199. Alex A. MacDonald, Medical Student, University of Toronto, Toronto

200. Anousheh Machouf, Psychologue, CIUSSS Centre Ouest, Montréal

201. Donna MacLachlan, MD

202. Ruth MacLeod, RN Community Health

203. Dr. Athena Madan, University of Toronto

204. Julie Maggi, MD, FRCPC, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto

205. Minoo Mahmoudi, MD, FRCPC, staff psychiatrist at Youthdale Treatment Centre, Toronto

206. Mayoori Malankov, student-at-law, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario

207. Roy Male, MD, Regent Park Community Health Centre, Toronto

208. Arfeen Malick, MSc, MD, Resident Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto

209. Lucy Manchester, MD, Toronto

210. Kathleen Manion, Assistant Professor, School of Humanitarian, Royal Roads University Studies, Royal Roads University

211. Alyssa Manning, Refugee Law Office

212. Karen Manzo, Refugee Law Office, Toronto

213. Kristin Marshall, Lawyer, Toronto

214. Azad Mashari, MD, FRCPC, Anesthesiologist, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto

215. Caitlin Maxwell, Principal Lawyer, Equity Legal/Staff Lawyer, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic

216. Cornelia Mazgarean, Review Counsel in the Immigration Division at the Community and Legal Aid Services Programme, Osgoode Hall Law School

217. Clifford McCarten, Lawyer at McCarten Wallace Litigation, Toronto

218. Susan McGrath C.M., PhD, Professor, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University

219. Jenn McIntyre, Romero House Director, Toronto

220. Elizabeth McWeeny, CM, Former President of Canadian Council for Refugees, Thunder Bay

221. Elise Mercier, Student, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto

222. Colin Meyer-Macaulay MD, FRCPC, General Pediatrician and Critical Care Fellow

223. Shafiq Mohamed MD, University of Toronto Family Medicine Resident, Barrie

224. Petra Molnar, Toronto

225. Sheila Monteiro, Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto

226. Soraya Mumtaz, MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, Toronto

227. Alpna Munshi, MD, Toronto

228. Samer Muscati, Director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law

229. Alexandra Musten

230. Mariam Naguib, MD Candidate 2020

231. Sideeka Narayan RN, MPH

232. Kathy Nash, Nurse Practitioner, Regent Park CHC, Toronto

233. Omaira Naweed

234. Krista Nerland, Lawyer, Toronto

235. Heather Neufeld, Barrister and Solicitor

236. Adeena Niazi, Executive Director, AWO, Toronto

237. Elena Nica-Graham, MD, Psychiatrist, Toronto

238. Dr. Shelly Nixon, OACAS, Toronto

239. Oluwakemi Oduwole, Barrister & Solicitor, Toronto

240. Catherine Oliver, MD, Family Physician, Toronto

241. Feyisayo Oni, Immigration Law Division Leader at CLASP, Toronto

242. Jeremy Opolsky, Lawyer, Toronto

243. Joanne Opsteen, PHC-NP, Toronto, Ontario

244. Guylaine Ouimette, présidente - Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec

245. Oscar E. Palma, Barrister & Solicitor, Ottawa, ON

246. Crystal Pang, chiropodist, EECH, Toronto

247. Anne-Claire Pâquet-De Varennes, fellow en pédiatrie sociale à l’Hôpital de Montréal pour Enfants, Montréal

248. Rosalinda Paredes, Community Legal Worker

249. Olivia Parkes, MSW, RSW, Toronto

250. Nick Parle

251. Sabrina Pascoe, Toronto

252. Llijah Pearce, Registered Nurse at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto

253. Madison Pearlman, Law Student, Winnipeg

254. Jeanette Pedersen, Calgary

255. N. Perez, MD, Toronto

256. Chelsea Peterdy, Barrister and Solicitor, Refugee Law Office, Legal Aid Ontario

257. Norbert Piché, Directeur national du Service jésuite des réfugiés, Montréal

258. Cassandra Porter, Lawyer, Goldblatt Partners LLP, Toronto

259. Emma Preston, BSc, PhD, MDCM, Family Medicine Resident, Vancouver

260. Anna Purkey, Assistant Professor, Legal Studies, St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo

261. Debbie Rachlis, Lawyer, Lorne Waldman Professional Corporation, Toronto

262. Ashley Raeside, Medical Student, University of Toronto

263. Howard Ramos, Professor of Sociology, Dalhousie University, Halifax

264. Katherine Ramsey, Barrister & Solicitor, Refugee Law Office, Toronto

265. Nicolas Ranger - Avocat - Bureau des services juridiques intégrés d’Ottawa - Aide juridique Ontario

266. Meb Rashid, MD, CCFP, Toronto

267. Paula Ravitz MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

268. Danyaal Raza, MD MPH CCFP, Family Physician, Toronto

269. Sarah Reaburn, RN (C), Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories

270. Vanessa Redditt, MD, CCFP, Family Physician, Toronto

271. Allison Rhoades, Barrister and Solicitor, Refugee Law Office

272. Michael Richardson, Family Physician, Toronto

273. Marie-Lyne Roc, travailleuse sociale, Chargée d’affaires professionnelles, OTSTCFQ, Montréal

274. Myanca Rodrigues, Medical Student, Toronto

275. Lyn Rondeau, MSW, RSW, Vancouver

276. Matthew Roorda, PhD, PEng, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto

277. Daniel Rosenbaum, MD, Resident, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

278. Cécile Rousseau Professeur Université McGill, Montréal

279. Jennifer Ryan, Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto

280. Geraldine Sadoway, Barrister & Solicitor, Toronto

281. Najib Safieddine, MD, Thoracic Surgeon, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

282. Giselle Salinas, Lawyer at Salinas Law, Toronto

283. Leigh Salsberg, Lawyer, Toronto

284. Deanna Santos, Lawyer, Markham, Ontario

285. Macdonald Scott, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Carranza LLP

286. Marie Serdynska, Coordinator, Sociocultural Consultation and Interpretation Services

287. Silvia Serpas, MSW Candidate, Kitchener

288. Ashley Sharpe, RN, PHC, Halifax

289. Omid Shearkhani, HBSc, Medical Student, University of Toronto, Toronto

290. Hasan Sheikh, MD, Emergency Medicine, Toronto

291. Alexandra Shelley, Lawyer, Toronto

292. Ivan Silver, MD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

293. Dr. Stephanie J. Silverman

294. Aaron Silverman, MD, University of Toronto

295. Joan Simalchik, Professor and Director, Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga

296. Anne Smart Educator, JGH Child Psychiatry, Montreal

297. Brenna Sobanski, Refugee Settlement Worker, Romero House, Toronto

298. Melanie Spence, RN, Toronto

299. Arianne St Jacques, MD Resident in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Toronto

300. Debra Stein, MD, FRCPC Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Hincks Dellcrest Centre, Toronto

301. Jim Sugiyama, MD

302. Michelle Sultan, MD, Mississauga

303. Anjum Sultana, MPH, public health professional

304. Nadiya Sunderji, MD MPH FRCPC, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

305. Alia Sunderji, MD, Pediatrics Resident, University of Toronto

306. Zafir Syed

307. Me Suzanne Taffot, Lawyer, Montreal

308. Sherry Telford

309. Pierre-Andre Theriault, Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto

310. Mary Thibodeau, Student-at-Law, Toronto

311. Karina Thompson, Barrister & Solicitor, Toronto

312. Mara Tietzen, MD, Vancouver

313. Susan Tilley, Professor, Brock University St. Catharines

314. Biljana Vasilevska, Research Coordinator, McMaster University, Hamilton ON

315. Ketan Vegda, MD, Psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

316. Francisco Villegas, Assistant Professor, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan

317. Alan Wai, MD, Toronto

318. Simon Wallace, Lawyer, Toronto

319. Annie Wang, Medical Student, University of Toronto, Toronto

320. Nastasia Wasilewski, Medical Student, University of Toronto, Toronto

321. Priya Watson, MD, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Toronto

322. Ashley Wazana, MD, Child Psychiatrist, McGill University, Montreal

323. Richard Wazana, Lawyer, Toronto

324. Madeleine Wazana, Toronto

325. Jacqueline Weiss, MD, Child Psychiatrist, Youthdale Treatment Centre, Toronto

326. Don Wells, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Labour Studies and Political Science, McMaster University, Hamilton

327. Russ Weninger, Lawyer, Calgary

328. Sheila Wijayasinghe, MD, CCFP Family Physician and Lecturer, University of Toronto

329. Virginia Wilson, Community Legal Worker, Refugee Law Office

330. Robyn Winterbottom, MD, Resident in Psychiatry, University of Toronto

331. Mieszko J. Wlodarczyk, Barrister & Solicitor, CLA, RLA, CARL, Toronto

332. Mandy Wojcik, Lawyer, Toronto

333. Angela Wong, Staff Lawyer at Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, Toronto

334. Susan Woolhouse, Family Physician, Toronto

335. Vanessa Wright, NP-PHC, Toronto

336. Edward Xie MD, Toronto

337. Sarah Yachison, PhD Candidate, Toronto

338. Mary Yang, MD, University of Toronto

339. Joyce Yedid, Attorney, Montreal

340. Judy Young Drache, ret’d public servant, Ottawa

341. Farzana Yusuf, Community health Worker, Toronto

342. Marcia Zemans, MD, FRCPC, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto



  1. These figures do not account for all children who are not subject to formal detention orders, but are de facto detainees alongside their parent(s). Canada Border Services Agency, “Minors in detention – by client status” (4 November 2015) (obtained through access to information request by IHRP, A-2015-15845/MZM).
  2. International Human Rights Program, UN Human Rights Committee’s 2015 Concluding Observation on Canada, online: University of Toronto Faculty of Law, International Human Rights Program
  3. “Detention centres no place for migrant children, critics argue”, CBC News (14 December 2012) online: CBC News Canada
  4. “Glory Anawa’s [sic] shares her story from a [sic] immigrant detention centre”, CBC Radio (24 January 2015) (interview) online: CBC Radio, DNTO with Sook-Yin Lee
  5. Carmen Cheung & Samer Muscati, “An Inexcusable Travesty: Canada sent a Syrian Minor to Solitary Confinement”, Opinion-Editorial, The Globe and Mail (17 February 2016) online: Globe and Mail
  6. Rachel Kronick, Cécile Rousseau & Janet Cleveland, “Asylum-seeking Children’s Experiences of Detention in Canada: A Qualitative Study” (2015) 85:3 American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 287.
  7. Ann Lorek et al, “The Mental and Physical Health Difficulties of Children Held Within a British Immigration Detention Center: A Pilot Study” (2009) 33 Child Abuse & Neglect 573
  8. Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, RSC 2001, c 27
  9. Ibid s 25.
  10. Ibid s 60.
  11. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Beyond Detention: A Global Strategy to support governments to end the detention of asylum-seekers and refugees, online: UNHCR
  12. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, Report of the 2012 Day of General Discussion: The Rights of all Children in the Context of International Migration, online: UNOHCHR
  13. Ibid at 18.
  14. François Crépeau, Any detention of migrant children is a violation of their rights and must end, (7 September 2016) online:,
  15. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, GA Res 217 (III), UNGAOR, 3d Sess, Supp No 13, UN Doc A/810, (1948)
  16. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Treaty Series 1577 (1989), 3, online: UNOHCHR
  17. Child and Family Services Act, RSO 1990, Chapter c 11, s 1(2).
  18. Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, RSA 2000, c C-12, s 2; Child, Family and Community Service Act, RSBC 1996, c 46, s 2, 4; Child and Family Services Act, CCSM c C80, Preamble, s.2(1); Family Services Act, SNB 1983, c F-2.2, Preamble, s 1; Children and Youth Care and Protection Act, SNL2010, c C-12.2, s. 9(2); Children and Family Services Act, SNS 1990, c 5, s 2, 3(2); Child Protection Act, SPEI 2000, c 3 (2nd Sess), Preamble; Youth Protection Act, CQLR, c P-34.1, s 4; Child and Family Services Act, SS 1989-90, c C-7.2, s 3.
  19. Janet Cleveland & Cécile Rousseau, “Psychiatric Symptoms Associated with Brief Detention of Adult Asylum Seekers in Canada” (2013) 58:7 Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 409.
  20. International Detention Coalition, There are Alternatives: A Handbook for Preventing Unnecessary Immigration Detention (Revised Edition), online:

Last updated: November, 2016