Question Period Note: Repatriation of Canadian Extremist Travellers


Reference number:
Date received:
Oct 25, 2022
Public Safety Canada
Name of Minister:
Mendicino, Marco (Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Minister of Public Safety


Repatriation of two Canadian Extremist Travellers from North-eastern Syria.

Suggested Response:

• Due to the unique nature of the complex cases of Canadians in north-eastern Syria, the Government of Canada adopted a Policy Framework on the provision of extraordinary assistance, including repatriating an individual to Canada, to Canadian citizens, or presumed Canadians, detained in north-eastern Syria.

• Following a thorough assessment, the Government of Canada provided extraordinary assistance to Canadian citizens who were detained in north-eastern Syria to help them return to Canada.

• The safety and security of Canadians always remain the utmost priority for the government of Canada.

• Due to privacy considerations, the Government of Canada cannot comment on specific cases.

• The Government of Canada takes the threat posed by Canadian extremist travelers and returnees seriously and has a robust approach in place to address the issue.

• Law enforcement conducts criminal investigations to the fullest extent that they are able, with a view to supporting criminal charges and prosecutions of Canadian extremist travelers and returnees.

• When charges cannot be laid, a number of other tools are considered, including: surveillance and monitoring; terrorism peace bonds; no-fly listings; refusals, cancellations or revocation of passports; and, other threat reduction measures.

• The RCMP’s approach to any given case is driven by the assessed level of threat, and the available evidence. Working closely with the Public Prosecution Service Canada (PPSC), the RCMP will carefully consider which charges are in the public interest to pursue, in order to most effectively mitigate the threat an individual may pose to Canada and to Canadians.


Pursuant to the Policy Framework to Evaluate the Provision of Extraordinary Assistance – Consular Cases in North-eastern Syria (the Framework), Mrs. Kimberley Polman and Ms. Oumaima Chouay (and her two children) are being repatriated from a camp located in North East Syria (NES). Global Affairs triggered the Framework on April 20, 20221, based on information suggesting the health of both CETs was deteriorating and could not be treated in NES. Working in cooperation with the United States, a CONOP was developed by Global Affairs that provided ‘full service’ support to repatriate the individuals.

The Framework sets out a principles-based approach to guide the Government of Canada’s decision-making regarding the potential extension of extraordinary assistance, on a case-by-case basis, to Canadian citizens and those who may have a claim to Canadian citizenship who are currently in detention in North-eastern Syria. As per the Framework, the Government will consider providing extraordinary assistance only where the circumstances of the individual meet one or more the following threshold criteria:

1) The individual is a child who is unaccompanied;
2) Extraordinary circumstances make it necessary for a child who is accompanied to be separated from their parent(s) leaving the child in a de facto unaccompanied state; and/or
3) The Government of Canada has received credible information indicating that the individual’s situation has changed significantly since the adoption of this Policy Framework.

A Terrorism Peace Bond under the Criminal Code for Ms. Polman and a charge package for Ms. Chouay have been approved.

Additional Information: