Rethink removal cost recovery framework

  • March 26, 2024

Measures regulating the removal costs that must be repaid by foreign nationals who seek to return to Canada after being removed at the government’s expense need updating, the Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association says in a letter to the Canada Border Services Agency. But as drafted the proposed amendments to section 243 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations are discriminatory and punitive.

The proposed changes would more than double the amount to be recovered from foreign nationals removed without escort. For those removed with an escort, the removal costs to be repaid increase by more than eight times. The Section notes those fees “were not intended to recover full costs to the government” and were not based on that cost when they were first instituted. “We believe the proposed costs would pose an unreasonable burden for many vulnerable removed persons, including individuals who were minors at the time of their removal from Canada,” the letter states, adding that the increase would disproportionately impact economically disadvantaged individuals.

CBSA should reflect on those impacts, especially for persons from developing countries and individuals who lack financial resources but have meritorious claims for authorization to return to Canada and persons who have been detained.

“We urge CBSA to carefully consider that recovering costs from persons who were detained for removal is unjustifiable, discriminatory and punitive under any circumstances,” the CBA Section writes. “It is not done in any other context, including criminal detentions,” and is contrary to the intent of the legislation.