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Trudeau government negotiating with provinces to keep migrants behind bars

Despite assurances by every Canadian province that they're ending their immigration detention agreements with the federal government, Ontario and Quebec now appear to be backtracking — at the federal government's request.

The Ontario government had stated that starting June 15, it would refuse to incarcerate migrants on behalf of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in its provincial jails.

However, Radio-Canada has learned that migrants detained for administrative reasons remain behind bars in that province, and could be for some time.

«Following a request by the Government of Canada, a 45-day extension to the immigration detainee agreement was granted,» a spokesperson for Ontario's Ministry of the Solicitor General confirmed.

According to the spokesperson, that extension will expire on July 31, 2024, but CBSA has not confirmed a precise deadline and says discussions with Ontario and Quebec are ongoing.

Trudeau seeking extension from Legault, too

Quebec had also indicated it would no longer imprison people for immigration purposes starting June 30.

However this, too, seems to have changed after a recent meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Quebec counterpart François Legault.

Ottawa offered $750 million to help Quebec pay for services for asylum seekers, and the detention of migrants formed part of the talks.

«During their June 10 meeting, the Prime Minister and the Premier said they are ready to open the discussion on this subject,» wrote Quebec's in response to Radio-Canada's inquiries.

«The two governments are currently in discussions,» added the council, which reports directly to Quebec's premier.

Neither the federal nor the Quebec government is offering a precise timeline for a possible contract

Read more on cbc.ca