Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, in effect since December 2004, Canada and the US each declare the other country safe for refugees and close the door on most refugee claimants at the US-Canada border.
The Canadian Council for Refugees strenuously opposes the Agreement, because the US is not a safe country for all refugees. The CCR also denounces the purpose and effect of reducing the number of refugees who can seek Canada’s protection.
The CCR continues to call on the Canadian government to withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement. The CCR participated in a legal challenge of the designation of the US as a safe third country shortly after it came into effect. The Federal Court ruled that the US is not a safe third country, but the decision was overturned on appeal, on technical grounds (see here for more information).
In July 2017, the CCR joined with others in a new legal challenge.
On July 22, 2020 the Federal Court ruled that sending refugee claimants back to the USA under the Safe Third Country Agreement violates their right to liberty and security protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court therefore determined that the Canadian legislation designating the US as a safe third country is of no force or effect. However, the Court ordered that its decision will only take effect after six months, in other words on January 22, 2021.
The CCR is asking the government to:
- Immediately stop sending refugee claimants back to the United States and suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement.
- Accept the Court’s judgement and refrain from pursuing a further appeal.
We invite other organizations and individuals to support our request.
Frequently Asked Questions
To understand more about the impact of the Safe Third Country Agreement on refugee claimants entering from the US, see this page.
For practical information for refugee claimants entering from USA, see this resource
For more information about the origins of the Safe Third Country Agreement and the first legal challenge, see this page.