The CFPC advocates for the health of immigration detainees

May 16, 2019

(May 16, 2019, Mississauga, ON) The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), through its Prison Health Program Committee, has released a position statement calling on policy-makers to limit the use of imprisonment and work toward eliminating the indefinite detention of migrants. Migrants held in correctional facilities often suffer adverse health effects and the practice of detaining these individuals for indefinite periods has been shown to have harmful psychological consequences.* As the voice of family medicine in Canada, the CFPC advocates for the health and well-being of all individuals, including new immigrants to Canada.

Calls to action:

  • Limit the use of immigration detention as a practice given the health harms associated with imprisonment and detention.
  • End the practice of indefinite detention of migrants. The CFPC recommends that Canada implement a 90-day limit for immigrant detention, within which time the government should resolve any concerns it has about a migrant.
  • Cease holding migrants for immigration detention purposes in provincial prison systems.
  • End the shackling of detainees who require care outside detention facilities. The level of care people in immigration detention receive should be at least equivalent to that afforded to Canadians in general, with special attention paid to their vulnerabilities.

The CFPC advocates for the improvement of Canada’s current immigration detention policies and practices and for equitable services and health care for all individuals. Our position statement will be shared with relevant federal elected leaders as well as champions of and experts in prison health across Canada as we work toward bringing our calls to actions to life.

* Cleveland J, Rousseau C. Psychiatric symptoms associated with brief detention of adult asylum seekers in Canada. Can J Psychiatry. 2013;58(7):409-416. Available from: Accessed 2018 Dec 18.

About the College of Family Physicians of Canada
The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is the professional organization that represents more than 38,000 members across the country. The College establishes the standards for and accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada’s 17 medical schools. It reviews and certifies continuing professional development programs and materials that enable family physicians to meet certification and licensing requirements. The CFPC provides high-quality services, supports family medicine teaching and research, and advocates on behalf of family physicians and the specialty of family medicine.

Susan Monic 
Manager, Communication Services 
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Office: 905-629-0900 ext 432 
[email protected]

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