Border agents on the lookout for parental abductions during holiday season

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

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

The most recent information from the BCCDC shows four more cases of COVID-19 in the North Thompson local health area, which stretches from just north of Little Fort to south of Valemount. The map is updated every Wednesday with the previous week's numbers. (BCCDC)
Four more cases in North Thompson health area

The North Thompson local health area stretches from just south of Blackpool to south of Valemount.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read