The Canada Border Services Agency arrested 31 people it says were working illegally at Ottawa-area shopping malls.

Officials from the agency raided several shops and malls in the area with the assistance of Ottawa and Gatineau police forces.

The employees, most of them from Israel, were working at kiosks in malls including Carlingwood, St. Laurent, Bayshore and Les Galeries du Hull.

CBSA spokesman Darren Frank said he wouldn't comment on whether the workers were hired by one employer.

"These were individuals that were working illegally in Canada and these are jobs that could be for Canadians in that capacity," said Frank.

All are currently detained under the Immigration Act pending a court appearance in Montreal Thursday.

If found guilty, they may be deported and excluded from returning to Canada for a year.



  • An earlier version of this story said Ottawa and Gatineau police made the arrests. In fact, it was the Canada Border Services Agency that made the arrests.
    Dec 20, 2011 5:09 AM ET