The head of Canada's human rights commission has added her voice to those calling for greater oversight of the federal border agency after two deaths of immigrant detainees in the span of a week.
Marie-Claude Landry, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, says in a statement that asking for refugee status is not a crime.
The Canada Border Services Agency holds people who are considered a flight risk or a danger to the public and those whose identities cannot be confirmed.
In 2013-14, it detained 10,088 immigrants – almost one-fifth of them refugee claimants – in a variety of facilities, including federal holding centres and provincial and municipal jails.
On March 7, the border services agency was notified by the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services that an individual in immigration detention at the Toronto East Detention Centre had died.
Six days later, the border agency was advised by the Ontario ministry that a person detained at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex had died.