Detention reviews

Detention reviews

  1. You can represent yourself at your Detention Review, but you may want to hire counsel to help you. Your counsel can be a lawyer or a registered immigration consultant. If you are in Quebec, counsel can also be a notary. You are responsible for paying your counsel. You can contact the provincial Legal Aid Society of the province where your case will be heard to see if you may be able to get free legal help. Some community or religious organizations that help immigrants and refugees may also be able to help you. Ask a Canada Border Services Agency officer to help you find more information. If you decide to hire counselor to have someone help you, you should do so as soon as possible.

2.     What to expect at a detention review?


The Immigration Division member

The ID member (decision-maker) is in charge of the hearing. The member will start by introducing everyone and explaining what is going to happen.


If you do not understand French or English, an interpreter will be at the hearing to translate for you. The member will check that you and the translator clearly understand each other.

Presenting the facts and presenting your case

The CBSA representative (also called the Minister’s counsel or hearings officer) will explain why you are being detained and present the facts in support of their position.

You or your counsel will have a chance to explain your side, and ask questions. If you consider some of the information presented by the CBSA officer to be incorrect you should say so and explain why it is incorrect. The Member will evaluate the information and determine which facts he or she considers as truthful or correct.

If witnesses are providing information, they may be asked questions. Questions may be asked to witnesses by the CBSA representative, you, your counsel, or the member.


3. Presenting an alternative to detention

You or your counsel may ask the Member to consider releasing you from detention. To support your request you may propose conditions that you will follow. This is known as an “Alternative to Detention”. Your release plan should include conditions that are related to the reason why you are being detained. Examples of some conditions are:

  • reporting to immigration authorities on a set schedule,
  • living with a specific person, or
  • avoiding drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

The member will decide which conditions are necessary in your specific case.

The member may also decide to include a bond in addition to the conditions of release. There are two types of bonds: cash bonds and performance bonds. The bondsperson (also called the guarantor) is the person who provides the bond. That person can be a friend or family member, for example. At your hearing, the CBSA representative and the member may ask your proposed bondsperson for information. This information will help the member decide if that person is suitable to be a bondsperson.

When you prepare for your hearing some of the things you should consider are: Your potential bondspersons

  • How much money could be available for the bond, and how much he is offering;
  • Any other information you can provide to help the member decide, such as your relationship with the bondsperson, and why you feel he or she will help you respect your conditions of release.

You should also make sure that the bondsperson is available to answer questions at your hearing.

Cash bond (or deposit)

If the member orders a cash bond, you or another person (a bondsperson) must pay a deposit (an amount of money) to the government. This is to make sure you respect all the conditions of your release. If you do not respect the conditions, the Government of Canada will keep the money and the CBSA may arrest and detain you again. If you respect all the conditions of release throughout their duration then the money can be reimbursed to the person who deposited it.

Performance bond (or guarantee)

If the member orders a performance bond, your bondsperson must sign a document that is a promise to pay an amount of money. This is a promise that you will respect all the conditions of your release. If you do not respect the conditions, the Government of Canada will collect the money from your bondsperson and the CBSA may arrest and detain you again.


A bondsperson is a trustworthy person who can make sure that you respect the conditions of your release. To provide a performance bond, your bondsperson must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. They must also be able to show that they can afford to pay the bond and that they can make sure you respect the conditions of your release.

4. Possible outcomes of a detention review

After hearing from the CBSA representative and you or your counsel, the member will make their decision. They may decide to release you or to keep you in detention.

What happens if you are detained?

If you are ordered to stay in detention, you will have another detention review within seven days. If the member orders your detention again after the seven day review, the reasons for your detention will be reviewed again in 30 days. These reviews will continue every 30 days after that until you are released or removed from Canada. At each detention review, you can present new facts to support your request for release. For example, you can find a new bondsperson who is willing to help you.

Early detention reviews

You may make a written application for an Early Detention Review. This means a detention review would be held before the expected timeframe, for instance before the next planned 30 day review. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) may respond, and state if they are opposed to the application for an Early Detention Review. The member may allow the application if you set out new information that justifies an early review of your detention.

The application should contain the following information:

  • Name of the proposed bondsperson(s)
  • Bondsperson’s status in Canada (ie. Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, etc.)
  • Bondsperson’s relationship to the Person Concerned
  • Type of bond(s) being proposed (cash and/or performance)
  • Financial information to evaluate the proposed dollar amounts (*ie Bondsperson’s place of employment, position, salary, of they have property and its value, etc.)
  • Three available dates for the early detention review

What happens if you are released?

After you are released, you must respect the conditions of your release. These conditions apply to you until you are removed from Canada, or until they have been changed or cancelled. You can ask the Immigration Division to change or cancel your conditions if a period of time has passed since the conditions were imposed. You can also make this request if your situation has changed since they were imposed on you. To make this request, you must write a letter to the Immigration Division explaining why you think your conditions should be changed. You must also send a copy of the letter to the CBSA.



Switch The Language

    In SEP Immigration company we are dedicated to ensuring that you meet Canadian immigration requirements.


    5300 Yonge Street, Suite 205, Toronto, ON, Canada


    +1 (647) 864-4224