I’m not Canadian. Can immigration officials detain me?

3. Make a plan for your release

You can prepare for your detention review hearing by making a plan for your release. This plan is sometimes called an Alternative to Detention.

Your release plan should address the reasons why you're being detained. You're more likely to be released from detention if your plan includes conditions or rules about your release. In most cases you will also need a bondsperson.


You should try to find someone willing to act as a bondsperson or surety. This person can be a friend or who:

  • is a Canadian citizen or of Canada,
  • is at least 18 years old,
  • is available and currently living in Canada,
  • knows you, and your immigration or criminal history in Canada, including any previous failure to meet conditions,
  • agrees to supervise you, and
  • is willing to deposit cash or promise to pay their own money if you break a condition of your release.

The amount of money that must be deposited or a promise to pay for your release depends on many factors, including:

  • the reason you have been detained,
  • the bondsperson's income, and
  • how soon you might be removed from Canada.

Your bondsperson must tell the CBSA if you don't follow the conditions of your release. If you don't show up for an interview, a hearing, or for your removal, your bondsperson will lose the cash they deposited with CBSA. They will also have to pay any other money they promised.

Your bondsperson should come to your detention review and be prepared to answer questions at the hearing. The bondsperson is expected to know about your immigration history, including whether:

  • you are facing removal from Canada,
  • you have not met conditions in the past,
  • you have a criminal record,
  • there are any other concerns about your admissibility.

Other ways to be supervised

If you don't have a bondsperson, the CBSA may suggest that you be released to a Community Case Management and Supervision (CCMS) program. The CCMS program provides referrals to services, monitoring, and arranges housing for people who would otherwise have to stay in immigration detention.

If you're detained in Toronto, you can call the FCJ Refugee Centre at 416-469-9754. They might be able to help you find community-based alternatives to detention to present at your hearing as part of your release plan.

You can also contact the Toronto Bail Program (Immigration Division) at 416-861-2422 to see if you're eligible to be supervised by them.

Other conditions

Other conditions your release plan might include are that:

  • You will report to CBSA in person or by phone.
  • You will live with a specific person, usually your bondsperson.
  • You will follow a curfew.
  • You will get support for your health, addictions, employment, housing, and other needs.

The CBSA officer might also ask for specific conditions. For example, they might ask you to fill out an application for a passport or travel document before you will be released.

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