Commission on Justice and Peace Document Archives

Dear Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers,

We write regarding last week’s Federal Court ruling in which Justice Ann Marie McDonald concluded that the Canada/US Safe Third Country Agreement violates liberty and security of the person rights in section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her judgement is based on extensive and compelling concerns about the prevalence, arbitrariness, and cruel and inhumane conditions associated with immigration detention in the United States, which she finds to be an “immediate and automatic” punishment for refugee claimants denied entry into Canada under the STCA.

As we note in greater detail in the attached briefing note, this judgement provides a crucial opportunity for the government to act decisively and live up to its responsibility to bring to an end years of grave violations of the rights of refugee claimants seeking protection at official land border posts between Canada and the United States. We urgently implore the government to:

  • immediately stop sending refugee claimants back to the United States and suspend the STCA; and
  • refrain from pursuing an appeal of this decision.

We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you and your officials on an urgent basis to discuss these recommendations further.


Dorota Blumczynska President
Canadian Council for Refugees

Alex Neve
Secretary General
Amnesty International Canada

Reverend Stephen Kendall President
Canadian Council of Churches

cc. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Official Opposition Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Québécois
Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada Elizabeth May, Parliamentary Leader, Green Party of Canada

File Type: pdf
Categories: English, Refugees
Tags: refugee rights, Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA)
Author: President of the Canadian Council for Refugees (Dorota Blumczynska), President of The Canadian Council of Churches (Stephen Kendall), Secretary General - Amnesty International Canada (Alex Neve)