Protest, Peter Noteboom

Important update on the Safe Third Country Agreement

OTTAWA – The Safe Third Country Agreement will be back in court on Feb. 23 and 24, as the Canadian government seeks to overturn a decision that the US-Canada refugee pact is unconstitutional.

Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Canadian Council of Churches, will once again join individual litigants in arguing the agreement is harmful to those seeking protection north of the US-Canada border.

In July 2020, the Federal Court ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement is unconstitutional, as it violates the s. 7 Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person. Civil society groups and refugees have long maintained that the agreement violates human rights, because many refugee claimants returned to the US are arbitrarily held in appalling conditions in immigration detention centres or county jails, and are not eligible for the same legal protections that are available in Canada.

Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, most refugee claimants who arrive at an official border post seeking protection in Canada are denied entry and turned back to the United States. Because the agreement only applies at official border crossings, many refugees have crossed the border in between ports of entry, sometimes in perilous conditions.

Date: Tuesday, February 23 and Wednesday, February 24

Time: 9:30 a.m.

How to access the hearing: Journalists and members of the public wishing to access a remote hearing should email and provide the following information in relation to the hearing that they would like to view remotely: case name (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration v Canadian Council for Refugees et al), case number (A-204-20) and hearing date (23 and 24 February). Instructions on how to join the remote hearing will be sent by email.

Media contacts:

Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-853-2142,

Andréa Viens, Communications Coordinator, Canadian Council for Refugees,

Dr. Nicole Roccas, Communications Coordinator, The Canadian Council of Churches, 416-972-9494,

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