What is a bondsperson for someone in immigration detention?

1. Learn what’s expected of a bondsperson

Being a bondsperson is a serious responsibility. Before you agree to be a bondsperson, you need to know the detained person's immigration history in Canada. You should also be confident that they will follow the conditions of their release.

Before the person will be released, they have to prepare a release plan that addresses the reasons they're being detained. For example, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) might believe they are a “flight risk” and they won't show up for their next appointment, hearing, or removal from Canada.

Talk about the release plan with the person and their lawyer. You need to understand the conditions they must follow. Typical conditions include:

  • “voice report” to the CBSA, in person or by phone
  • live with a specific person, usually the bondsperson
  • be supervised by a third party, such as the Toronto Bail Program
  • follow a curfew
  • get support for health, addictions, employment, housing, or other needs

If you're accepted as a bondsperson, you're responsible for the person 24 hours a day. You're responsible even when you're not together. You must:

  • supervise the person to make sure they follow all the conditions of their release
  • report the person to CBSA if they don't follow a condition of their release

You must report the person even if it means they could be detained again. 

If you don't fulfill your role as bondsperson, for example, if you let the person move out when their conditions say that they must live with you, you could lose the money you paid or promised to pay.

Amount of money required

A Member of the Immigration Division decides the type of bond and the amount of the bond. Often you have to provide both a cash bond and a performance bond to get a release order.

The amount of the bond must be significant to you. The amount depends on many factors, including:

  • why the person is detained,
  • how soon the person could be removed from Canada,
  • if the person cooperated with immigration officials in the past,
  • your relationship with the person and how well you know them,
  • your income, property, and employment

You must show proof to CBSA that you can pay the performance bond. In Ontario, you must be able to show $3,000 of employment income for every $1,000 promised for a performance bond. If you're self-employed, your income can be more difficult to prove.

Documents that show your ability to post a performance bond include:

  • proof of your employment, such as a T-4 or letter from your employer
  • bank statement or investment statement
  • proof of property ownership, such as a deed
  • statement of earnings and Notice of Assessment from , if you're self-employed
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