WATCH: A Coroner’s jury hands down more than 50 recommendations in the death of a Mexican woman at the Vancouver Airport. Catherine Urquhart reports.
VANCOUVER – The jury has made their recommendations in the case of Lucia Jimenez, the Mexican national who committed suicide while awaiting deportation at YVR last December.
Their job was to make recommendations that could prevent future deaths at the facility but the jury cannot lay blame on anyone or find anyone fault.
READ MORE: Video shows 40 minute gap before Lucia Jimenez found hanging in YVR holding cell
Among the recommendations to the CBSA, they should create a dedicated Holding Centre for immigration detainees, which should be staffed by CBSA employees.
Detainees must also have access to legal counsel, medical services, NGO’s, spiritual and family visits, along with monitored Internet access. Telephones should also be readily available and should include local calls and international calling cards.
The jury would also like to see suicide prevention training be made mandatory for all CBSA and subcontracted security companies, along with mental health courses.
On Wednesday morning, the CBSA issued a statement into the Jimenez Inquest.
“Today, our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the deceased.
CBSA is currently reviewing the verdict and recommendations in this case.
Pre-removal risk assessments and recourse to the courts are part of the extensive due process afforded to every person ordered removed from Canada.
Canada is a welcoming country with a world-class refugee determination system.
Once a decision is made, the CBSA is mandated to remove those who violate Canada’s immigration laws as soon as possible.”
The coroner’s inquest into Jimenez’s death began last week.
The inquest heard up until two months ago, 70 per cent of the checks were not being done at the detention facility due to under staffing.
Last week, a powerful video was presented at the inquest showing Jimenez walking out of her cell with a yellow sheet or a towel draped over her arm. She then goes into the bathroom towards the back of the room and never comes back out.
More than 40 minutes go by, with no one checking on Jimenez, even though the policy is that the Genesis security guards were supposed to be checking on the immigration detainees every 30 minutes.
The jury recommends that at a minimum, legal counsel and NGO’s must be allowed access to the YVR Holding Centre and self-harm proofing of bathrooms and sleeping rooms should be completed immediately.
The recommendations also state that the CBSA needs to reassess their use of restraints and handcuffing and shackling should only be used when absolutely necessary.
Neil Chantler, the lawyer for the BC Civil Liberties Association, said they are pretty happy with the recommendations.
“Our primary recommendations that we put forward were to have the YVR detention centre closed, it’s unfit for even short-term duration detentions, it doesn’t meet Canada’s international standards, there’s no access to fresh air or light or any of that, the jury’s clearly recognized that.”
“They’ve called for a purpose-built detention centre for immigrant detainees,” added Chantler. “We also wanted to see the CBSA properly staff these facilities and not rely on private contractors. We’ve heard a lot of problems with Genesis Security monitoring the cells when Miss. Lucia Jimenez killed herself. The jury has clearly recognized that.”
A representative for CBSA read a statement after the inquest wrapped up, saying in part that they will carefully review all findings and recommendations from the findings.
– With files from Yuliya Talmazan
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