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

Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Sean Ramsay comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards during a game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on May 1, 2021. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Three wins in a row for Cowichan Capitals

BCHL team enjoying best stretch of the season

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account for the family of Dorothy Littau, who was diagnosed with colon cancer last month. (Submitted)
GoFundMe campaign set up ‘ever-present force in South Cowichan schools’

Dorothy Littau was diagnosed with colon cancer in April

Peter and Wayne Richmond and 49th Parallel Grocery won the award for Business Achievement 20+ Employees at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Black Tie Awards on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Submitted)
Black Tie winners announced during virtual awards event

Recipients gave speeches by phone while being live-streamed on YouTube

Cobble Hill’s Bob Collins (left) and reservist Keenan Hayes stand at attention at Cobble Hill Cenotaph in this photo taken on Oct. 22, 2019, to honour members of the Canadian military who died in Canada in non-combat roles. (File photo)
MacGregor seeks to honour armed services members who died on Canadian soil

MP introduces bill to mark Oct. 22 as “Canadian Armed Forces Members’ Day”

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read