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Document Type

Article

Abstract

This article analyzes the effect that the Canadian Government’s use of emergency powers during the COVID-19 global pandemic has had on the right to seek asylum in Canada. The article suggests that that the federal government has taken advantage of a public health crisis to make a contentious political problem—the entry of asylum seekers between land ports of entry (such as at Roxham Road)—go away. It details how the Quarantine Act and various Orders in Council have been used to temporarily extend the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States (STCA) across the entire length of the Canada-US border. It then details how this de facto extension of the STCA, which previously applied only at official land ports of entry, violates international refugee law and overviews several ways in which the global pandemic has made the United States even less “safe” for refugees. The article concludes by urging the federal government to champion asylum seekers’ rights by suspending the STCA and by recognizing that crossing the border to seek asylum is amongst the most “essential” forms of international travel that there is.

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