Border agents on the lookout for parental abductions during holiday season

‘Good year or bad year, in Quebec we’re talking about 100 or so cases,’ said Pina Arcamone

Canadian border officials say they’re on the lookout for parental abductions, which are statistically shown to rise during the holiday travel season.

It’s a phenomenon that’s become familiar to border service agents and the Missing Children’s Network, which is often called to help, especially if the child is brought across an international border.

“Good year or bad year, in Quebec we’re talking about 100 or so cases,” said Pina Arcamone, the director general of the Missing Children’s Network.

“Currently, there are as many mothers as fathers who decide to leave or to return to their native country, for example, without the consent of the other parent.”

Arcamone notes that parental abduction is the most common form of kidnapping in Canada, and it becomes more common at certain times of the year, including spring break, Easter, before back-to-school or during the holidays.

The scenario is almost always the same, she said: a parent who is unsatisfied with their custody arrangement takes matters into their own hands, taking their child on a trip and not coming back on the scheduled date.

“Every year, we find missing children,” said Veronique Lalime, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency. She said agents have learned to pay attention.

“When they see children, they pay particular attention to the custody conditions when it comes to travelling,” she said.

Fortunately, most children are brought home safely, Arcamone said, although the period can be very stressful for the other parent.

“I’d say that in the majority of cases, the children are found,” she said. “It can take several hours, but sometimes it takes days and months in certain cases.”

The CBSA is stressing the importance for parents to have all the necessary paperwork in order before they head to an airport or border crossing with their child.

“When people have shared custody, it’s important that they have the legal documents and letters of consent from the other parent if both parents aren’t travelling with the child,” Lalime said. “It’s something that needs to be kept in mind.”

Helen Moka, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo’s Rocky Point

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

City of Nanaimo and RDN re-opening playgrounds

Playgrounds will be back open on Wednesday, June 3, with health guidelines in effect

Nanaimo CAO named president of Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators

Jake Rudolph elected as CAMA president during association’s virtual AGM Tuesday

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read