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Unjustifiable and punitive

Proposed removal cost framework for foreign nationals unreasonable.

Finger with Canada imprint pointing away

The Canadian Border Services Agency is proposing changes to the framework it applies to recover costs from the foreign nationals removed from Canada that would create an “unreasonable burden” for many of those it would touch.

In a letter to the CBSA, the CBA’s Immigration Law Section says may well be time for section 243 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to be updated, but the CBSA proposal would double the amount expected to be recovered from foreign nationals who are not escorted when they leave the country, while the amount to be paid by those requiring an escort would be more than eight times higher.

“The consultation notice states that the proposed cost recovery structure is based on CBSA’s actual average enforcement expenditures,” the Section writes. “However, the fees in R243 were not intended to provide full cost recovery to the government and were not based on average removal costs” 25 years ago when the section was written. The Section asks for a full breakdown of costs as “it is unlikely that costs have increased eight-fold since the original fees were set.”

Requiring payments in these amounts would create an “insurmountable bar” for people to return to Canada from developing countries and those in vulnerable financial positions, the Section says.

Moreover, recovering fees from those who were detained before removal is both unjustifiable and punitive, and is not done in any other context, including criminal detentions. Decisions to detain are subjective assessments by CBSA officers and are often overturned following objective assessments by the Immigration Division.

“The proposal would be analogous to requiring applicants to repay the cost of their incarceration prior to obtaining a pardon or record suspension.”