Under media pressure, first Garda and then the CBSA reluctantly confirmed multiple reports from the Laval Immigration Holding Centre that a security guard tested positive for COVID-19. The Garda employee has reportedly been placed in quarantine, along with other guards on her shift.
[SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO BELOW]
In the past weeks, men detained at the Laval Immigration Holding Centre launched a petition and then waged an eight-day hunger-strike to draw attention to the lack of measures to protect them from the virus. Their calls for the immediate release of all detainees were met with an outpouring of public support from coast to coast, but received no official response from Minister Bill Blair.
Today, around 15 prisoners remain in Laval in total; dozens of other migrants are detained in provincial prisons and detention centres across Canada. CBSA continues to ignore the safety of the detainees and the urgency of the situation; instead using detention review hearings to release prisoners at a slightly accelerated but wholly inadequate pace. Deportations have been suspended but there has been no official suspension of new arrests.
As cases of COVID-19 multiply in jails and detention centres across North America, urgent action is required. Only the immediate release of all migrant detainees from immigration centres, provincial jails, and other facilities, with appropriate, safe housing upon release, can avoid a public health disaster.
Detainee support page
Updates from inside the detention centre
What You Can Do:
Use the hashtag set #FreeThemAll #StatusForAll along with #HungerStrikeLaval to show your support for the struggle on social media! We encourage you to tag Bill Blair, Marco Mendicino, Justin Trudeau, and other government officials who refuse to free the detainees.
CALL IN & SUPPORT STATEMENTS
* Send organizational support statements to email@example.com
Direct calls and emails to:
1) Federal Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair
2) Your member of Parliament, find their contacts here.
I am appalled that the government continues to flout its own public health recommendations when it comes to detention facilities and prisons, even as guards and prisoners test positive across the country. I am appalled that the CBSA repressed information about the guard testing positive at Laval Immigration Holding Centre.
Migrant detainees and prisoners are at an extremely high risk of contracting COVID-19. Your response to this urgent crisis has been wholly inadequate.
All detainees, whether in Laval or in other cities, in prisons or in detention centres, must be released immediately with adequate, safe housing ensured. Urgent steps must also be taken to respond to the demands of prisoners in regular jails and their supporters across the country.