The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO), in partnership with Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), has produced a new resource titled, “Mental Illness, Criminal Offences & Deportation: Tips for front-line workers. This resource is intended for front-line workers and advocates who are working with individuals with mental health conditions who are not Canadian citizens and have been charged or convicted of a crime in Canada. It was developed based on findings from SSO’s discussion paper “Double Jeopardy: Deportation of the Criminalized Mentally Ill”.
The resource examines the issues of non-citizens with mental health conditions who come into contact with the criminal justice system and often face deportation. When someone who is not a Canadian citizen is charged with a crime, the police pass this information on to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the agency responsible for enforcing immigration law. If the individual is convicted of the crime, CBSA may prepare a report, which may lead to a deportation order or an “admissibility hearing” before the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). The IRB hearing can result in a deportation order. A criminal charge or conviction can also affect an individual’s eligibility to become a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen.
These complex immigration-related issues can negatively impact individuals with mental health conditions. As the resource states, people with mental illnesses come into conflict with the law in disproportionate numbers, and if they are not Canadian citizens, this places them at risk of being removed from Canada.
To access “Mental Illness, Criminal Offences & Deportation: Tips for front-line workers”, visit www.cleo.on.ca.
To order copies of this resource free of charge, visit www.cleo.on.ca.
For more information about the SSO discussion paper “Double Jeopardy: Deportation of the Criminalized Mentally Ill”, visit www.schizophrenia.on.ca.