These breaches were so significant that they could have jeopardized the safety and security of migrants, according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Neptune Security secured, last summer, a major contract to manage the security of this detention site. This contract, worth $49 million, was to last for nearly three years.
But a few months after the start of the new deal, the federal government decided to change the provisions.
The holding of the Laval Immigration Center is surrounded by fences and barbed wire. The guardians are responsible for the content of this site.
Photo: Radio-Canada / Olivier Plante
Neptune would keep the anchors
The Neptune Security agency, which defines itself in its place among security experts, was responsible for the monitoring of migrants detained in the Quebec only CSI from July 1, 2022.
The company boasts on its website that it is run by Canadians who have never lost a single customer due to a breach of contract.
According to documents related to the call for tenders published by Ottawa, this firm was a guarding and monitoring of persons […]as well as obstacles and personal effects on their health.
This agency was also responsible for transporting detainees or confirming the departure of detainees from Canada by order of removal, according to the same documents.
The company had to provide suitable vehicles for this business and the employees’ feelings that they had to be adequately equipped were specified.
What is the Immigration Holding Center?
Canada has three Immigration Centers (ISC): in Laval (Quebec), Toronto (Ontario) and Surr (British Columbia). Several reasons (New window) for the detention of border agents, especially when the identity of migrants is not proven, when they consider that the person represents a risk to the state or will not appear for hearing or enforcement. the removal of the order, or they are suspected of being inappropriate.
A good site for health and safety
Shortly after the start of this contract, problems arose in Laval CSI.
Regular CBSA border agents were required to intervene, especially at detention bars, on behalf of private gatekeepers. This information was confirmed by Radio-Canada from Ottawa.
“The transfer of detainees required the involvement of CBSA officers in the fall of 2022.”
– Quote from Jacqueline Roby, CBSA spokesperson
These concerns did not end last year. In an email sent in January by the management of Laval CSI, which was able to consult Radio-Canada, the organization states that it needs armed officers to carry out various tasks.
IMPORTANT, is also indicated in the content of this message intended for CBSA leaders.
Because of the chronic needs of the guards, they are different (surveillance of detainees, distribution of food, transportation, monitoring in the hospital, etc.). It is written, “Let us have our needs in all circumstances.”
The moderator goes even further and expresses deep concerns.
“The situation at CSI has turned into such a situation where the lack of guards is jeopardizing the site and safety and preventing us from providing essential services. »
– Extracted from an internal correspondence from the CBSA administration
This unpredictable situation, as the author of this letter indicates, finally resulted in the exchange of the service contract that took effect last month.
According to the Customs and Immigration Union there is a shortage of 3,000 border agents across the country.
Photo: The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
Hotels monitored by Neptune Security
In addition to the Laval CSI contract, Neptune Security recently signed other immigration-related agreements. Like the Garda and the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, this firm is one of the private organizations that have concluded agreements with Ottawa in recent months to monitor the hotels where asylum seekers are staying coming through Roxham Road. [Immigration Canada] They can closely monitor the efficiency and quality of the service and ensure the security services are provided, said a spokeswoman for the federal Department of Immigration.
Imprudent, according to the Union of Customs
Contacted by Radio-Canada, Neptune Security declined to comment. They are strictly confidential agreements, simply announced.
For its part, the CBSA challenges mutual consent that could terminate this contract. This was to run until March 31, 2025, with several options for extension.
An emergency provider contract of $15 million has been awarded to the firm GardaWorld, from Ottawa, to ensure continuous coverage and uninterrupted services.
Since then, things have returned to normal, says Jacqueline Roby, a spokeswoman for the CBSA, adding that the new long-term competitive procurement process is being compared.
At the Customs Union and Immigration, the government’s decision to award contracts to private institutions whose primary goal is profit, for detention-related tasks, including transporting detainees, is completely irresponsible.
“As can be seen in this case, the staff of these private institutions often do not have the necessary equipment or training to fulfill the role of their beloved.”
– Quoted from Mark Weber, President of the Customs and Immigration Union
The detention of these migrants should be taken lightly, says Union President Mark Weber.
If the government is really seriously affecting health and safety issues in this area, it will stop judging subcontractors as the lowest legal ones, he laments.
In the end, it is argued that the union, overtime in large amounts, will finally be paid by the agents. That cannot be sustained for a long time, he says.