Federal Judge Ann Marie McDonald ruled that the agreement violated part of the Canadian Charter of Rights that states that laws or actions of the state that encroached on life, liberty and security must be consistent with the principles of fundamental justice. Under the Safe-Third Country (STCA) agreement, asylum seekers arriving in an official Canada-U.S.-U.S. crossing point, which goes both directions, is returned and invited to seek asylum in the first country they arrived in. On Monday, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled in Ottawa`s favour and set the January 22 deadline set by the first instance to overturn the Safe-Third Country agreement. The merits of the government`s appeal process can be heard at a full hearing a month later, in February. Organizations have asked the Federal Court of Appeal to dismiss the federal government`s request to stay its decision to repeal legislation on the implementation of the Safe-Third-Country agreement. The Canadian Refugee Council strongly opposes this agreement because the United States is not a safe country for all refugees. The CCR also denounces the objective and impact of reducing the number of refugees who can seek refuge in Canada. Under the Third Country Security Agreement, in effect since December 2004, Canada and the United States declare the other country safe for refugees and close the door to most refugees at the U.S.-Canada border.
At the recent hearing before Stratas J., counsel for this group argued that the government`s assertion that there would be an “increase” in new asylum seekers at the border if the agreement was struck down was “speculative” and “hypothetical”. Persons who have been convicted of a serious criminal past are prohibited from seeking the protection of refugees, regardless of how they enter the country. The agreement, which allows any country to deport asylum seekers trying to apply for refugees at official border crossings, was declared unconstitutional by the Federal Court of Justice in July. Canada has tried to stem the flow of asylum seekers who have flocked to the country since 2016, after Trump promised to take tough measures against illegal immigration. If the government wins its appeal, which will probably be heard in late February or early March, the border agreement will almost certainly remain intact. If the government loses its appeal, it is likely that the agreement will be permanently abolished, unless the government decides to challenge the loss in the Supreme Court. The government appealed McDonald`s decision and argued that there would be “irreparable harm” to the rule of law and the common good if the border agreement were overturned. Refugee supporters expressed disappointment with the Court of Appeal`s decision. However, under the agreement, the applicants decided to travel to Canada at unknown border crossings to enter the Canadian refugee system.
OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) – A Canadian court on Wednesday struck down a bilateral pact that requires asylum seekers who want to enter Canada through the U.S. border to first seek instability in the United States. “Canada has a long and proud tradition of providing protection to those who need it most by providing refuge to the world`s most vulnerable people, and the Government of Canada remains firmly committed to maintaining a compassionate, equitable and orderly refugee protection system.