Thursday, October 6, 2022

In an op-ed published by the Vancouver Sun on Oct 5, Professor Audrey Macklin, Rebecca Cook Chair in Human Rights Law, and Efrat Arbel, an associate professor at UBC's Peter A. Allard School of Law, write that getting rid of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) will help restore safe, orderly and humane management of our refugee protection system:

The Supreme Court of Canada is poised to hear a constitutional challenge to the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. The STCA requires asylum seekers to seek refugee protection in the first country of arrival — either Canada or the United States. It only applies at official ports of entry along the land border. Since its implementation in 2004, the STCA has blocked thousands of asylum seekers from lawfully seeking protection in Canada.

Few Canadians realize that the STCA was implemented for the specific purpose of preventing asylum seekers from accessing refugee protection in Canada. The STCA does so by leveraging Canada’s geographical remoteness from most of the world’s conflict zones. Asylum seekers trying to reach Canada overland have to pass through the United States, whereas asylum seekers trying to reach the United States do not need to pass through Canada en route. Requiring asylum seekers to claim protection in the first country of arrival means that under the STCA, Canada will receive fewer asylum seekers and the United States will receive more.

Read the full opinion in the Vancouver Sun

Read How U of T's Downtown Legal Services helped refugees strike down the Safe Third Country Agreement in a federal court