Canada is struggling to stop a second wave from spiralling out of control, and its political leaders are begging residents to stay home to prevent the spread.(REUTERS)
Canada is struggling to stop a second wave from spiralling out of control, and its political leaders are begging residents to stay home to prevent the spread.(REUTERS)

Canada deporting thousands even as pandemic rages: Report

Canada counted 12,122 people as removed in 2020 - 875 more than the previous year and the highest number since at least 2015, according to CBSA data.
Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:49 PM IST

Canada deported thousands of people even as Covid-19 raged last year, data seen by Reuters shows, and lawyers say deportations are ramping up, putting people needlessly at risk in the midst of a global health emergency.

Like many other countries, Canada is struggling to stop a second wave from spiraling out of control, and its political leaders are begging residents to stay home to prevent the spread.

Lawyers and human rights advocates are decrying Canada's November decision to resume deportations. Until now, the extent of the country's pandemic deportations was not known, but recent interviews with immigration lawyers and scrutiny of government numbers has shed light on the situation.

Canada counted 12,122 people as removed in 2020 - 875 more than the previous year and the highest number since at least 2015, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data seen by Reuters. The government says this was necessary and done safely.

The CBSA says the high number last year is because it includes people who decided to leave on their own, termed "administrative removals." In 2019 there were 1,657 administrative removals, compared with 8,215 last year.

Even subtracting those numbers, that leaves thousands of people deported as the pandemic raged and governments cautioned against travel of any kind for safety reasons.

Even as Canada continues to deport non-citizens during a health crisis, US President Joe Biden paused deportations for 100 days within hours of being sworn in on Wednesday.

Canada officially imposed a moratorium on deportations in March that it lifted at the end of November.

"As much as a human rights concern it's a common sense concern," said Bill Frelick, director of Human Rights Watch's Refugee Rights Program.

Countries' deportation practices have varied over the course of the pandemic. Several, including the United Kingdom, suspended deportations before resuming them. Others, like Ireland, have kept suspensions in place.

The CBSA said it has been prioritizing deportations for reasons of "serious admissibility," including criminality.

The vast majority of people deported in 2020 were for reasons of "noncompliance." Even taking into account administrative removals, more than 1,000 people were deported during the suspension, the data shows.

'It's unbelievable'

Public health experts have warned that travel of any kind can spread Covid-19 from one place to another, a risk that grows with the advent of more highly transmissible Covid variants.

Many of the deportation trips involve transfers at multiple airports and flights during which people are placed in enclosed space in close quarters with other people for hours at a time, a situation ripe for transmission.

Since August Canada has been conducting deportations with CBSA escorts, so Canadians are also making thousands of these round-trip flights for deportation purposes.

Organizations including the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers spoke out against Canada's decision to resume deportations.

"As everybody is putting in place more restrictions in an effort to flatten the curve ... CBSA made a shocking decision to simply go back to business as usual," said Maureen Silcoff, president of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

"Canada has taken the position that nonessential travel is barred yet people are now being removed and there's no indication that those removals are essential."

The CBSA said in a statement it lifted the moratorium on deportations because foreign government offices and borders had reopened, airlines restarted their routes and public-health protocols "have contributed to a high degree of safety for persons being removed by air."

"Canada continues to uphold both its human rights and public safety obligations in relation to the removal of inadmissible foreign nationals," the statement said. "The removal process includes many checks and balances to ensure that the removal is conducted in a fair and just manner."

But these deportations are endangering not only the people being deported but the government officers tasked with accompanying them to their destination, lawyers say.

Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman's Toronto office went from getting no removal cases to getting three or four in the space of a week, he said. He is now fighting for a failed refugee claimant with two young Canadian children who faces deportation to Egypt Monday.

"They're ramping it up as if there was no pandemic," he said. "It's unbelievable."

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close
This Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, zoom video conference collage captured by The Sacramento Bee, shows Dr. Scott Green who appeared Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, for his Sacramento Superior Court trial, held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, from an operating room in Sacramento, Calif. He was dressed in surgical scrubs with a patient undergoing the procedure just out of view; the beeps of medical machinery can be heard in the background. The Medical Board of California said it would investigate a plastic surgeon who appeared in a videoconference for his traffic violation trial while operating.(Superior Court of California/Sacramento Bee via AP)(AP)
This Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, zoom video conference collage captured by The Sacramento Bee, shows Dr. Scott Green who appeared Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, for his Sacramento Superior Court trial, held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, from an operating room in Sacramento, Calif. He was dressed in surgical scrubs with a patient undergoing the procedure just out of view; the beeps of medical machinery can be heard in the background. The Medical Board of California said it would investigate a plastic surgeon who appeared in a videoconference for his traffic violation trial while operating.(Superior Court of California/Sacramento Bee via AP)(AP)

'Are you available?': Doc appears in court video call while performing surgery

AP, Sacramento
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 06:40 AM IST
When Link appeared and saw the doctor on the screen, the judge hesitated to proceed with the trial out of concern for the welfare of the patient.
Close
The main facilitator for the IHH gaining a foothold in the Himalayan country was the ISN, which has received funding directly from Turkey to finance various projects.(ihh.org.tr)
The main facilitator for the IHH gaining a foothold in the Himalayan country was the ISN, which has received funding directly from Turkey to finance various projects.(ihh.org.tr)

Al-Qaeda linked Turkish group expanding base in areas close to Indo-Nepal border

ANI, Stockholm
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 06:22 AM IST
The IHH is known as a tool of the Turkish intelligence agency MIT and has been supported by the government of Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which granted the organization special privileges for raising funds.
Close
Kyaw Moe Tun told the United Nations on Friday that he was speaking for Suu Kyi's government and appealed for help to overturn "the illegal and unconstitutional military coup."(Via REUTERS)
Kyaw Moe Tun told the United Nations on Friday that he was speaking for Suu Kyi's government and appealed for help to overturn "the illegal and unconstitutional military coup."(Via REUTERS)

Myanmar's UN ambassador vows to fight after junta fired him

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters
UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 06:21 AM IST
"I decided to fight back as long as I can," Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters on Saturday. Myanmar state television announced on Saturday that Kyaw Moe Tun had been fired for betraying the country.
Close
US President Joe Biden before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, U.S, on Saturday. (Bloomberg Photo )
US President Joe Biden before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, U.S, on Saturday. (Bloomberg Photo )

Joe Biden cheers new vaccine but cautions on Covid-19 variants

By hindustantimes.com | Posted by Kanishka Sarkar | Reuters, Washington
UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 06:14 AM IST
"Though we celebrate today’s news, I urge all Americans — keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced, and keep wearing masks," Biden said in a statement.
Close
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees sit on a makeshift boat as they get interrogated by the Border Guard Bangladesh after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, at Shah Porir Dwip near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/File Photo/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees sit on a makeshift boat as they get interrogated by the Border Guard Bangladesh after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, at Shah Porir Dwip near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/File Photo/File Photo(REUTERS)

India at UNGA: We have highest stake in defusing Rohingya crisis

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 06:02 AM IST
Myanmar doesn’t recognise Rohingya as an ethnic group and insists that they are Bangladeshi migrants living illegally in the country.
Close
People jog past a social distancing sign on in New Zealand's Auckland in this file picture. (REUTERS)
People jog past a social distancing sign on in New Zealand's Auckland in this file picture. (REUTERS)

Lockdown announced in Auckland, second in a month

Reuters, Melbourne
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:33 AM IST
The new case has been considered infectious for a week. The person, a 21-year-old student, visited a number of public spaces during that time.
Close
National Guard soldiers help to sign up people for their vaccination appointment at the York College coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination site in New York City.(AFP file photo)
National Guard soldiers help to sign up people for their vaccination appointment at the York College coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination site in New York City.(AFP file photo)

US House clears $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package

By HT Correspondent, Washington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:24 AM IST
Four days after the Covid-19 death toll surpassed 500,000 in the United States, the sprawling measure, backed by President Joe Biden and seen as a moral imperative by many, now heads to the Senate for consideration next week.
Close
FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal(REUTERS)

Jamal Khashoggi murder: Saudis reject charge

By HT Correspondent, Washington, Riyadh, Dubai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:17 AM IST
“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the.... assessment in the report pertaining to the kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA after the US released the report on Friday.
Close
Police were out in force in cities and towns from early on Saturday in their most determined effort yet to stamp out the protests.(REUTERS)
Police were out in force in cities and towns from early on Saturday in their most determined effort yet to stamp out the protests.(REUTERS)

Myanmar: Woman shot at during crackdown on protests

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:10 AM IST
Three domestic media outlets said earlier that the woman shot in the central town of Monwya had died but an ambulance service official said she was in hospital. Police were not available for comment.
Close
By the end of March, J&J has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer.(MINT_PRINT)
By the end of March, J&J has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer.(MINT_PRINT)

J&J’s 1-dose shot cleared, giving US 3rd Covid-19 vaccine

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 04:58 AM IST
Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways.
Close
The migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, just across the river from Brownsville, Texas, is currently home to just under 700 migrants, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR). (Reuters file photo)
The migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, just across the river from Brownsville, Texas, is currently home to just under 700 migrants, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR). (Reuters file photo)

As Mexico's largest migrant camp empties, new tents spring up along border

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:52 PM IST
One week ago, US President Joe Biden's administration began permitting members of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program to enter the United States to pursue their court cases.
Close
The 574 federally recognized tribes shared in $8 billion from a massive coronavirus relief package approved last March.(AP)
The 574 federally recognized tribes shared in $8 billion from a massive coronavirus relief package approved last March.(AP)

Covid-19 crisis leaves tribes without US recognition at higher risk

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:26 PM IST
Unlike federally recognized tribes, the Chinook Nation doesn't have a political relationship with the United States, which would make it eligible for federal coronavirus relief funding for state, local and tribal governments.
Close
Developed and rich nations are opposing the proposal.(AP | Representational image)
Developed and rich nations are opposing the proposal.(AP | Representational image)

Global growth to be hit if IP norms not waived to deal with Covid-19: India

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 10:44 PM IST
In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO (World Trade Organization) members on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.
Close
NASA photo released on February 24, 2021, shows images from Perseverance rover of its new home in Jezero Crater.(via AFP)
NASA photo released on February 24, 2021, shows images from Perseverance rover of its new home in Jezero Crater.(via AFP)

Mars facts: What do we know about Red planet? How does it compare with Earth?

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 10:40 PM IST
  • Earlier this month, Nasa safely landed its Perseverance rover in the Jezero Crater, determined as an ancient lakebed that formed billions of years ago.
Close
Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. (REUTERS FILE)
Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. (REUTERS FILE)

FDA set to approve J&J’s single-dose Covid vaccine, the third for US

By Yashwant Raj I Edited by Vinod Janardhanan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 09:32 PM IST
US Food and Drug Administration has told Johnson & Johnson it will “rapidly work toward finalisation and issuance of an emergency use authorisation.”
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP