No need to review ruling on Safe Third Country refugee pact, feds tell Supreme Court

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OTTAWA — The federal government is telling the Supreme Court of Canada there is no need to review a decision that affirmed the constitutionality of a pact between Ottawa and Washington on asylum seekers.

In a submission to the high court, federal lawyers say the Federal Court of Appeal correctly interpreted the law, leaving no issue of importance to clarify or resolve concerning the Safe Third Country Agreement.

Refugee claimants and their advocates want the court to review the case, saying it raises “foundational questions of constitutional law” concerning access to remedies for violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Under the refugee agreement, which took effect in 2004, Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection.

It means Canada can turn back potential refugees who arrive at land ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border on the basis they must pursue their claims in the U.S., the country where they first arrived.

Canadian refugee advocates have steadfastly fought the asylum agreement, arguing the U.S. is not always a safe country for people fleeing persecution.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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