Be released from detention or holding.
Although you can represent yourself in your hearing, we recommend you hire counsel to help. Your counsel can be a lawyer or a registered immigration consultant.
However, we strongly suggest that you hire counsel for professional help during this process.
The Immigration Division (ID) Member
- The ID Member (decision-maker) is in charge of the hearing. The Member will start by introducing everyone and explaining what is going to happen.
- If you do not understand French or English, an interpreter will be at the hearing to translate for you. The member will confirm that you and the translator clearly understand each other.
An Alternative to Detention
You or your counsel may ask the Member to consider releasing you from detention. To support your request, you may propose conditions that you will follow — This is known as an “Alternative to Detention”. Your release plan should include conditions that are related to the reason(s) as to why you are being detained. Examples of release conditions are:
- reporting to immigration authorities on a set schedule;
- living with a specific person; or
- avoiding drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
The Member may also decide to include a bond in addition to the conditions of release. There are two types of bonds: cash bonds and performance bonds. The bonds person (also called the guarantor) is the person who provides the bond. That person can be a friend or family member, for example. At your hearing, the Canada Border Servies Agency (CBSA) representative and the Member may ask your proposed bonds person for information.
This information will help the Member decide if that person is suitable to be a bonds person.
After hearing from the CBSA representative and your counsel, the Member will make their decision. They will decide to either release you or keep you in detention.
What Happens If You Are Detained?
If you are ordered to stay in detention, you will have another detention review within seven days. If the member orders your detention again after the 7-day review, the reasons for your detention will be reviewed again in 30 days. These reviews will continue every 30 days after that until you are released or removed from Canada. At each detention review, you can present new facts to support your request for release. For example, you can find a new bonds person who is willing to help you.
Early Detention Reviews
You may make a written application for an early detention review. This means your detention review will be held before the expected timeframe, for instance before the next planned 30-day review. The CBSA may respond and state if they are opposed to the application for an early detention review. The Member may allow the application if you set out new information that justifies an early review of your detention.
What Happens If You Are Released?
After you are released, you must respect the conditions of your release. These conditions apply to you until you are removed from Canada or until they have been changed or cancelled. You can ask the Immigration Division to change or cancel your conditions if a period of time has passed since the conditions were imposed. You can also make this request if your situation has changed since they were imposed on you. To make this request, you must write a letter to the Immigration Division explaining why you think your conditions should be changed. You must also send a copy of the letter to the CBSA.