Canadian Council for Refugees, et al. v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, et al

CLAIHR intervenes in case concerning Refugee Rights

CLAIHR and the Canadian Center for Victims of Torture have been granted leave to intervene before the Supreme Court of Canada in a case concerning the constitutionality of the ‘Safe Third Country Agreement’ –  an agreement that designates the United States as a ‘safe’ country for refugees. As a result of this designation, almost all refugees who enter Canada over land from the United States are deemed ineligible to make a refugee claim, and are subject to deportation and imprisonment in the United States. There are also significant barriers to individuals pursuing refugee protection in the United States, making it more likely that refugee claimants will be denied protection in the US and deported to persecution and/or death.

The Federal Court of Appeal found that the Safe Third Country Agreement unjustifiably infringed the right to life, liberty and security of the person as protected under s. 7 of the Charter. The Federal Court of Appeal overturned that ruling, and the case is now scheduled to be heard at the Supreme Court.

CLAIHR’s submissions focus on whether the implementation and ongoing application of
the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States violates the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s obligations under international
treaties and conventions to which Canada is a signatory.

CLAIHR thanks Lorne Waldman, Audrey Macklin and Steven Blakey, who provided pro bono assistance on this matter.