June 16 (Audio) – The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the constitutionality of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between Canada and the United States, giving the Government of Canada a legal victory. First signed in 2004, the STCA designates both Canada and the United States as “safe” countries for immigrants and requires asylum seekers to seek asylum in their first country of arrival. Under this agreement, asylum seekers arrive at a formal land port of entry. Immigration from the United States to Canada is considered ineligible for refugee protection.
Advocacy groups argue that the STCA violates Article 7 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects people’s rights to life, liberty and security. They argue that refugees are being repatriated to the United States indiscriminately without regard to their safety or the conditions of US detention facilities. But the Supreme Court dismissed those claims, saying the agreement contained waivers and safety valves to protect the interests of claimants.
The court upheld the constitutionality of the STCA, but also suggested it could be sympathetic to refugee groups’ claims that the policy violates Article 15 of the Charter, which guarantees equality before the law. The case was remanded to federal court for policy review in light of equality concerns.
The STCA is an important aspect of Canada’s immigration policy and its constitutionality has been the subject of legal and political debate. The ruling strengthens the government’s ability to continue the repatriation of refugees who attempt to enter Canada from the United States and underscores the importance of Canada-US relations in the management of asylum seekers.
https://weeklyvoice.com/supreme-court-upholds-constitutionality-of-canada-u-s-agreement-allowing-refugee-returns/ Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of Canada-US pact allowing refugees to return