Toronto, June 12, 2015 – Following the death of a man being held in a Lindsay, Ontario prison, the End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN), Canada’s leading detention watch group, which works with detainees in the same prison, is increasing its call for an end to immigration detention and for the Ontario government to cut ties with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

CBSA is clearly unwilling to act on the death and misery caused by immigration detention. Immigration detention needs to end. The Provincial government is also directly responsible for jailing people that continue to die under its watch,” says Syed Hussan of End Immigration Detention Network.

On June 11, 2015 it was revealed that an immigration detainee, who was being held in Ontario’s maximum security Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, died in a Peterborough hospital after being “restrained” by officers according to Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU).  

The detainee, whose name will be released later this afternoon, died as a result of a lack of appropriate, timely, and effective medical care for his diabetic condition. CBSA is refusing to be transparent about the conditions that led to his death, while concern continues to grow about the inadequate levels of health care provided to detainees. Immigration detainees are held under the jurisdiction of CBSA but in Ontario, a third of all detainees are held in provincial prisons.

EIDN is calling for an inquiry into the causes of death and immediate action to avoid further such tragedies. This is the twelfth reported death in detention custody. EIDN has led a campaign since September 2013 when nearly 200 immigrants in CECC went on hunger strike, calling for an end to immigration detention and demanding that the Ontario government cut ties with CBSA.

EIDN member Caileigh McKnight from Peterborough adds, “This news is yet another heartbreaking reason to end the injustice of immigration detention. The provincial government is locking up people in Ontario’s jails without trial or charge, not providing adequate health care and people are dying.

A GlobalNews report last November documented 11 deaths in immigration detention custody since 2000, including that of Lucia Vega Jimenez, whose passing lead to calls for an independent public inquiry. Canada Border Services Agency has no oversight body.

In September 2014, a leaked Red Cross report found denial of family contact, increasing imprisonment of minors and children, violation of basic legal rights, worsening mental health in detention, and alternatives to detention as key areas of concern. Between 2008 and 2014, the Red Cross were denied visits to Ontario’s jails.


Media Contact:

Syed Hussan – 416.453.3632

Caileigh McKnight – 705.931.2405

Macdonald Scott – 647.761.3860


Also, please see:

– Groundbreaking study of immigration detention in Canada: https://endimmigrationdetention.com/2014/06/09/groundbreaking-report-on-immigration-jail-reveals-troubling-patterns-signs-of-political-interference/

– Global News: ‘Canada’s Unwanted: Non-citizens paid to leave, jailed without charge, die in secret.’ http://globalnews.ca/news/1645726/canadas-unwanted-non-citizens-paid-to-leave-jailed-without-charge-die-in-secret/

Alpha has spent his entire life in jail. He is 16 months old. Watch till 2:08 to find out why.

It’s Glory Anawa’s 29th birthday today. Since February 2013, she has been imprisoned in immigration jails in Ontario without charge or trial. Canada cannot deport her but will not release her.

Her son, Alpha Ochigbo was born in the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre on August 25th, 2013. Alpha has not seen a single day of freedom.

Alpha is Glory’s second child that she is raising inside an immigration jail. Her daughter Tracy was born in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in the United Kingdom.

Horrific as Glory’s story is, it is not an exception. Racialized and poor migrants are locked up in jails around the globe for the desire to move. Without adequate supports, women, children and trans people face great harm.

We know this also because December is the one-year anniversary of Lucia Jimenez Vega’s death in immigration enforcement custody in Vancouver.

Today, Glory marks her birthday in prison. Migrant justice activists across these lands mourn Lucia’s death. Today, we honour the lives and struggles of the millions that are forced out of their homes, the thousands that die crossing borders. Today, with you, we reaffirm our commitment to struggle until all these walls fall, until we all are free, until no one is illegal.

Freedom to Move!
Freedom to Return!
Freedom to Stay!


For media inquiries, please email migrantstrike@gmail.com

Surprise Noise Demonstration at Lindsay Max-Security Prison

On Saturday, November 29th, 30 of us gathered from Peterborough, Guelph and Toronto at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario. Ranging in ages from 22 months to 75 years, we made our way down on a dirt road behind the prison to Pod 3 where nearly 200 immigrants are jailed without charge or trial, many indefinitely. Revolutionary music blasted from our soumd system, we beat on drums, clanged pots and set off fireworks appropriately titled ‘prison break’. By the time a police line formed to stop us moving further, prisoners in three pods were in their cell windows, screaming, jumping flicking lights, and banging on the windows. We interspersed our music with chants, ‘end detentions, end end detentions’, and ‘no prisons, no borders’. When we stood quietly, we could hear night reverberating with the thump of fists on plexiglass windows. With the police only one side of us, some of our comrades lit off more fireworks. Then in what can only be described as ‘police intelligence’, two officers tried to stomp out the fireworks sending them flying in all directions. We laughed, we chanted and we continued. The youngest amongst us – toddlers – insisted on making their own way back, forcing the police to stop trying to herd us out. Slowly, we marched back out on the street, past Pod 1 and 2 where those in max-security remand are held, still making music, still singing, still chanting, still insisting: Until All Walls Fall, We Will Continue.

If you haven’t yet, please take action to end immigration detention, click here.

To view the gallery, click the first image and scroll. 

The Campaign to End Immigration Detention – 1 year in

DSC_0510On September 17th 2013, 191 one hundred and ninety one immigration detainees held in the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario, began a non-cooperation protest.

They went on hunger strike and at first demanded better prison conditions. Soon the strikers demands expanded to the entire immigration detention system that detains hem, requesting a review of the detention process and demanding their freedom.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of the ongoing strike. This is a brief history of the struggle to date: the strike, the ongoing resistance on the inside and the campaign that continues on the outside. If you haven’t yet, please take action to support their resistance. We are an all-volunteer organizing project, please financially support our work. 

140917_FB 1 yearOn Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 an organizer with No One Is Illegal-Toronto gets a call informing them that detainees in immigration hold, recently transferred from across Ontario to a maximum security prison in Lindsay, Ontario have gone on hunger strike and refused to enter their cells.

Running Down The Walls, an annual run to raise money for the Anarchist Black Cross is in communication with prisoners at this time. Organisers from Fuerza Puwersa in Guelph set up a phone line, which allows detainees to collect call cellphones on the outside. They begin to get calls from people who have decided to take a stand against what has become their indefinite detention. Connections are quickly made with organisers from No One Is Illegal-Toronto and form what is to become the End Immigration Detention Network. In conjunction with the detainees, activists on the outside craft a set of demands focusing on prison conditions and release a petition alongside a solidarity statement signed by migrant justice organisations across the country. Continue reading

UN has spoken. Its time to End Immigration Detention.

UN decision meme FINALOverstaying past your immigration permit should not be grounds for incarceration. Jailing someone simply for wishing to live and work in a country not of their birth is not justice. Indefinite detention with no hope of release on top of that is cruel, inhumane and appalling. Many people agree: Over a 100 detainees have been on strike for nearly a year, thousands of people have signed our petition, dozens of organizations have endorsed our demands, and our report on detention reviews has exposed signs of government interference in immigration detention decision making.

Now, the UN has spoken out in support. The tide on immigration detention is turning.

Let’s turn up the volume. Can you contact your MP about this urgent issue? Fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

Today, we are getting unprecedented media coverage from coast to coast to coast. We need you to amplify our voices even more. Over the next few days – we need you to share, tweet, email, and forward out this blog post, news stories linked below and images and stories from our facebook page and our twitter feed. We can do this!

(oh and don’t forget about Cross-Canada Day of Action Against Detentions on September 17th)


This is the first time United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has rendered a decision involving Canada since 1994 which is as far back as information is available for.

  • The UN has called for Immigration Detention to be the policy of last resort but in Canada over 85,000 people have been detained under the current Federal government. Immigration detention is unjust, immoral, jail without trial or charge. Now the UN is saying its also against international legal norms. Its time to end immigration detention.
  • The UN has reiterated that detention must be for the shortest time period possible — Canada on the other hand is one of the only Western countries that does not have a time limit on immigration detention resulting in people being detained for up to 10 years. Immigrant detainees and their allies are calling for a 90 day limit on immigration detention.
  • The UN has issued this Opinion because it found that immigrants in Canada do not have access to real judicial review processes. This confirms what government documents have revealed about political interference in detention reviews, and what immigrants and their allies know — the current judicial oversight of the program is a farce. You have to seek permission to go to Federal Court, which usually gets denied. Even if you get permissions, case-law or previous decisions mean that detention can’t be challenged. The End Immigration Detention Network is calling for an overhaul of the Detention and Judicial Review processes.
  • The UN insists immigration enforcement’s inability to establish someone’s identity, or to obtain travel documents from countries of origin are not grounds to detain people. The UN goes a step further – even if those difficulties arise from non-cooperation of the detainee — there are still not enough grounds to keep someone in jail. These are the two of the most common reasons why immigrants are held in detention.  These people must be released. No one should be held in maximum security prisons.

will be updated all day, please check back for more

Toronto Star: UN chastises Canada over immigration detention, including un-deportable man jailed 8 years

CBC Metro Morning: Immigration Detention

Metro News Canada: UN chastises Canada

Toronto Star: Ottawa spurns UN criticism of years-long detention of migrants

Canadian Press: UN demands release of man detained over immigration violations: lawyer 

National Post: UN committee tells Canada to free ‘Man With No Name’ — the immigrant they don’t know where to deport

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/07/24/un-demands-release-of-man_n_5618227.html

Radio Canada Internationale: Grupo de la ONU exige la liberación de un hombre detenido en Canadá

Live Punjab: http://www.livepunjab.com/content/un-demands-release-%E2%80%9Cman-no-name%E2%80%9D-detained-over-immigration-violations-112372.html



Immigration detainees boycott end after momentous month of action

On June 2nd, 2014, over 100 immigrants in three prisons began a coordinated boycott of their detention review processes. Insisting the process is biased, unfair and stacked against them, they collectively rejected their only chance of release. The boycott was coordinated between detainees caged in three separate maximum security prisons across Ontario – the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene and Toronto’s Metro West Detention Centre.

The boycott has now ended and it is time to reflect on what has been an historic month in the struggle to end immigration detention in Canada. To hear detainees voices and reasons for participating in the boycott watch this video.

Coinciding with the boycott, on June 9th; the End Immigration Detention Network published, Indefinite, ‘Arbitrary and Unfair:The Truth about Immigration Detention’, a groundbreaking report which raises red flags about troubling patterns in the detention review process which keeps immigrants detained and suggests that political inference may be keeping people behind bars. The startling exposé brought national attention to immigration detention in Canada and was featured on CBC Metro Morning.

We then ramped up the pressure as we brought the campaign to Ottawa, where we used 10-foot-tall scales of injustice to lock down Border Control Headquarters. As detainees continue to take action on the inside it is important that we continue to put those who make decisions keeping them behind bars under pressure where and when we can.

As part of the International Conference on Penal Abolition, we organised a Fathers Day March to End Immigration Detention on June 15th, from the University of Ottawa to Canada Border Services Agency headquarters in downtown Ottawa. As we played a live recording from a detainee in Lindsay supporters chalked the names of those detained on the street in front of the CBSA offices.

The end of the boycott concludes an important period in the struggle as we look ahead to September and the anniversary of the beginning of the strike. As we have seen since the historic strike began, detainees will not shirk from action. As a result of their boycott, there was a dramatic increase in lockdowns and detainees were put under enormous pressure to cease their actions.

A call-out for a day of action on September 17th is coming soon and we call on all supporters and allies to join us in ending this injustice and bring immigration detention to an end.

Breaking: Immigrants in three prisons begin coordinated ‘Detention Review’ boycott


June 2, 2014: Over 100 immigrants started a historical month-long boycott of their detention reviews this morning, insisting the process is biased, unfair and stacked against them. The boycott was coordinated between detainees caged in three separate maximum security prisons across Ontario – the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene and Toronto’s Metro West Detention Centre.

Detention Reviews (DR) are the primary means through which border authorities insist that the entire immigration system is fair. They are a unique bail-like process that takes places 48 hours, 7 days, and then every 30 days after arrest. Detainees plead their case in front of an appointed ‘member’ who single-handedly decides on their release or terms and conditions. By refusing to participate, detainees are courageously insisting that the very fabric of the immigration detention system is unjust.

Every time I go there it’s like they have already made up their minds before we even start the session. It doesn’t matter what I say, I am there only for a few minutes before they state that I a flight risk and to come back in 30 days. I’ve been in front of them 12 times and nothing is changing and I am tired of it.” — A.K., jailed at Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay.

They pretend like I just came from the airport yesterday but I’ve been in this country for 23 years and that’s not right to treat someone like that. I don’t have a country to go back to, and I grew up here and they’re holding me because I don’t have any money to get out.” — S.M., jailed at Central East Correctional Centre.

This action is part of the ongoing #MigrantStrike that started in September 2013, when 191 detainees began a non-cooperation protest. They went on hunger strike, 2 of them for over 60 days, boycotted their detention reviews, and refused to enter their cells. In retaliation, immigration enforcement has deported some key strike organizers, released a few, moved others into prisons across Ontario, and locked up hunger strikers in segregation. Yet, strike actions are continuing.


Frequently asked questions here. Background on immigration detention here.

May Day Rally to End Immigration Detention

Text from http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/MayDay2014

“On May 1st, International Workers Day, we will march to reclaim May Day for just people’s struggles and to Honour Our Communities. We are unified in our fight against poverty and capitalism. We oppose attacks on rights and income of workers, irrespective of status. We demand an end to immigration detention because no one is illegal. We will continue our support for Indigenous peoples’ movements for self-determination. We oppose colonialism. We are in solidarity with struggles against Canadian imperialism. We insist on an end to environmental destruction. We resist patriarchy, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia both in our day-to-day work and as larger systems of oppression. Join Us!”

Coverage in NOW Toronto:

Photo from NOW Toronto: End Immigration Detention
Photo from NOW Toronto: End Immigration Detention

Video: Enough is Enough! Rally to End Immigration Detention and Enforcement

On Feb 28th, four actions in four cities were organized across the country to demand an end to immigration enforcement and detention. In Toronto, we banged on the doors of Greater Toronto Enforcement Center, the largest immigration enforcement site in Canada responsible for immigration detention and over 40 deportations a day. We commemorated all of the migrants who have died in detention, died by suicide in the face of deportation, and fight alongside all of families who have been separated by immigration, who are living in sanctuary, and the hundreds of migrants detained indefinitely.

With the support of over 10,000 people who have signed our petitions, we made our voices heard: Enough is Enough! Migrant Dignity not Migrant Death! End Immigration Detention!

JOIN US: www.endimmigrationdetention.com
SIGN THE PETITION: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/harper-end-indefinite-immigration-detention

Toronto Star: Immigration Advocates Plan Day of Action in Four Cities to Demand Accountable Border Enforcement