Safe Third Country Agreement Canada

Canada has recently come under scrutiny for its Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the United States. This agreement, which was signed in 2002, restricts refugees from making asylum claims at the Canadian border if they have already passed through the U.S. as a “safe” third country. This means that anyone who wishes to seek asylum in Canada must do so from their country of origin or the first country they arrive in.

The STCA is based on the idea that both Canada and the U.S. are safe countries that offer similar legal protections and should therefore share the responsibility of processing refugee claims. However, critics of the agreement argue that this is not the case, as the U.S. has implemented policies that make it difficult for refugees to seek asylum there.

For example, the U.S. has implemented a policy known as “metering”, which limits the number of asylum seekers who can enter the country each day. This has led to long wait times at the border and has resulted in many refugees being turned away. The U.S. has also adopted a policy that allows for the detention of refugee children, which has been widely criticized by human rights organizations.

Critics of the STCA argue that the agreement puts refugees at risk by forcing them to make dangerous journeys in order to seek protection. They also argue that the agreement violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as it denies refugees the right to seek asylum in Canada.

In 2017, the Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International, and the Canadian Council of Churches filed a legal challenge to the STCA. They argued that the agreement violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and puts refugees at risk. The case was dismissed by the Federal Court of Canada, but it is currently being appealed.

It is important to note that the STCA only applies to refugees who arrive at official border crossings. This means that those who cross the border between ports of entry are still eligible to make asylum claims in Canada.

While the STCA remains controversial, there are those who argue that it serves an important purpose. Proponents of the agreement argue that it helps to prevent “asylum shopping,” where refugees move from country to country in order to find the best possible outcome for their case. They also argue that the agreement helps to prevent the smuggling of refugees across the border.

In conclusion, the Safe Third Country Agreement is a controversial issue in Canada that is still being debated. While both critics and supporters have valid points, it is important to consider the welfare of refugees and ensure that their rights are protected. As the legal challenge to the STCA continues, it remains to be seen what changes, if any, will be made to the agreement.

15 Jan 2023


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