Migrants’ situation in Canada

A Canadian federal court ruled that the country’s asylum deal with the United States in 2004 is invalid because the United States violates the human rights of refugees. Under the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), asylum seekers are required to submit their application in the first safe country of their arrival, crossing the border at official land border crossing points, by train or by plane. However, Canadian judge Ann Marie McDonald found the agreement inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – part of the Canadian constitution – due to the likelihood that immigrants in the US could end up in prison. Thus, the Canadian authorities no longer recognize the United States as a safe third country. The judge suspended the execution of the ruling until January 22, 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the mistreatment of migrant farmworkers in Canada, who are left without proper legal protection and federal oversight and compliance with health and safety at work. For example, in Ontario province, more than 1,000 agricultural migrant workers tested positive for the coronavirus (three of them died). The Canadian government has provided employers with $ 50 million to cover the costs of the compulsory 14-day quarantine for employees coming to work for the first time. However, human rights activists argue that money is financial aid to employers and does not directly benefit workers.

For over 50 years, Canada has allowed farmers to employ people, including those from Mexico, Guatemala and Jamaica. Around 60 thousand employees come to Canada every year, and their number is continuously growing.