This week’s question:

A report released last week by the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program indicates that since 2011, Canada has housed more than 200 Canadian children in detention in Toronto’s Immigration Holding Centre.

Jasmine Gabriel, Melissa Fields, John Abbiew, Maurice Anderson, Renrick Ashby & Alexcia Reid

Should children, Canadian or non-Canadian, be confined in immigration detention facilities?

Jasmine Gabriel

Professional Track and Field Athlete

I strongly believe that the holding children in confined detention facilities, whether they be Canadian or not, is unethical. I believe that there are consequences for one’s actions and although I do not know the circumstances that landed the parents in their situation, it is unethical to make these children suffer for what their parents did. An alternative to such a practice would be to create a separate holding centre for these children with trained child care professionals. It is our responsibility as a society to ensure the safe treatment of the next generation, regardless of their citizenship.

 Melissa Fields

Customer Service Officer

Local Financial Institution

As a wealthy country, we have  resources such as child welfare, children services and foster care. Why are we not utilizing these resources? When a child is being isolated in a detention facility at such a young age, this traumatic experience can harm his or her intellectual development resulting in anxiety, distrust towards authority, no hope and so much more. The parents of these children most likely migrated from another country or island  for a better life. These children shouldn’t be made to suffer. They are our future. Canada is a multicultural society and children deserve a chance and should be given hope.

John Abbiew

Marketing Student

Trent University

It’s kind of messed up because the kids didn’t do anything, but I understand that they don’t want to separate the children from their parents. However, they should monitor or organize thing better. For example. they can  find caregivers. Yeah, it’s a tricky situation, because if you place the parents in detention and the kids are there and they didn’t commit a crime , then they have to figure out some other way of dealing with the situation. They must find other measures instead of detaining them. It’s not right to keep the children in detention.

Maurice Anderson

Real Estate Agent

Roya LePage

They should have a different “resource” to hold them in so they don’t feel like they’re just a number when they come to Canada. They may not view Canada as the country they once thought it was, based on what their parents told them about. I’m sure they’re leaving the country for a specific reason and if Canada cannot show they have more democratic values than the country they’re coming from, they may not want to feel there’s a better chance at a different life in a different country. So they may end up giving up.

Renrick Ashby

City Planner

City of Toronto

I think they should investigate some alternatives in terms of the children in particular. Whether that be staying with the family, friends, or what have you. Incarcerating children at that age could have some negative, long-term effects. If I were eight, nine, ten years old, and I was in a jail, I don’t think I would feel too good about that, and I don’t think I would have a very good first impression of Canada.

 Alexcia Reid

Job Developer

YMCA of Greater Toronto

I don’t believe these children should be held in the detention center. They are being isolated during a traumatizing time and held as if prisoners for a crime they have not committed. These actions could have lasting effects on these children. By “criminalizing” them, they are not being protected- they are being punished. There must be other holistic methods that can be used. I understand that deportation is a serious issue. However, the child’s best interest should be taken into consideration.