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Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement

The Canada‒United States Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is a treaty between Canada and the United States. It sets out the rules of refugee/asylum claims. This agreement stipulates that a refugee must claim asylum in the first country in which they arrive, either Canada or the US. This generally prevents refugee claimants’ entry into the neighbouring country. (See Canadian Refugee Policy.)

Several challenges have been raised against the agreement. This was particularly the case after the election of President Donald Trump and his executive orders on immigration. Critics raised concerns about human rights protections in the US. In July 2020, a Canadian federal court judge ruled that the STCA is in violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and therefore unconstitutional. The decision was later overturned in April 2021 by the Federal Court of Appeal. (See Court System in Canada.)

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Refugees to Canada

Refugees are migrants who fled their countries of origin to escape persecution or danger and have found asylum in another country. Over time, Canada has been the landing ground for many migrants seeking refuge from all over the world. However, discriminatory immigration policies have also prevented some asylum seekers in need of protection from entering Canada (see Canadian Refugee Policy).

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Canadian Refugee Policy

Canadian Refugee policy refers to the way the Canadian government seeks to manage groups of asylum seekers looking for refuge in Canada. Refugee policy is shaped by domestic laws and regulations as well as international treaties. Refugee migration is often very political and influenced by public opinion.

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Irregular Immigration and Canada

The term “irregular immigration” has no clear legal definition. (See also Immigration to Canada.) An irregular immigrant can refer to an individual crossing a country’s border without proper authority. It can also apply to those who violate residency conditions after entering a country. Many irregular immigrants come to Canada to seek asylum and apply for refugee status. (See Refugees to Canada; Canadian Refugee Policy.) With no reliable published statistics in Canada, estimates of this cohort range from 200,000 to 400,000. The majority of these individuals likely live in Toronto and other large urban centres.

See also Immigration Policy in Canada; Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement.

Article

Joe Schlesinger

Josef Schlesinger, CM, journalist, foreign correspondent (born 11 May 1928 in Vienna, Austria; died 11 February 2019 in Toronto, ON). Joe Schlesinger was a globe-trotting journalist who immigrated to Canada after fleeing Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. As a long-time correspondent for the CBC, he covered some of the major world events of the 20th century, including the Vietnam War, the Iranian Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall. A Member of the Order of Canada, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Journalism Foundation and was inducted into the CBC News Hall of Fame.

timeline event

Canada Evacuates 3,700 People from Afghanistan

The Canadian military completed its evacuation of Afghanistan. 3,700 people — a combination of Canadian citizens, foreign nationals and Afghan refugees — were taken out of the country since 4 August. This followed the rapid deterioration of the country and the rise of the Taliban after US military began to withdraw from the war-torn country in July after a 20-year occupation. The US military completed its withdrawal on 30 August. (See also Afghan Canadians; Canada and the War in Afghanistan.)

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German Canadians

German Canadians — that is, Canadians who report their ethnic origin as solely or partly from Germany or of German ancestry — are one of Canada's largest ethnic categories of European origin. At the time of the British Conquest of New France, nearly 200 families living in the St. Lawrence Valley were of German origin. British North America, and then Canada, would receive six waves of immigration throughout their history, the most recent of which consisted of displaced people at the end of the Second World War. In the 2016 Canadian Census, 3,322,405 Canadians (nearly 10 per cent of the population) reported German origins, and 404,745 people in the country reported German as their mother tongue. A large proportion of these respondents lived in Ontario or central Canada.

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Immigration to Canada

The movement of individuals of one country into another for the purpose of resettlement is central to Canadian history. The story of Canadian immigration is not one of orderly population growth; instead, it has been — and remains one — about economic development as well as Canadian attitudes and values. It has often been unashamedly economically self-serving and ethnically or racially discriminatory despite contributing to creating a multicultural society (see Immigration Policy in CanadaRefugees to Canada). Immigration has also contributed to dispossessing Indigenous peoples of their ancestral lands.

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Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Boyle Davies, soccer player (born 2 November 2000 in Buduburam, Ghana). Alphonso Davies is one of the world’s most promising young soccer stars. The youngest player ever on Team Canada, he was named the Canadian Men’s Player of the Year in 2018 and 2020. After being named an MLS All-Star and the Player of the Year with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2018, he signed a six-year contract with FC Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga in 2019. He was named the Bundesliga Rookie of the Season in 2019–20 and became the first Canadian men’s international to play on a team that won the Champions League. In 2020, he received the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada’s top male athlete and was a co-winner, with football player Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

timeline event

Federal Government Apologizes for MS St. Louis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a formal apology in the House of Commons for the government’s decision in 1939 to turn away 907 Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis, 254 of whom eventually died in the Holocaust. Noting Canada’s anti-semitic immigration policies at the time, Trudeau said, “We apologize to the 907 German Jews aboard the MS St. Louis, as well as their families. We are sorry for the callousness of Canada’s response. And we are sorry for not apologizing sooner.” 

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Immigration Policy in Canada

Immigration policy is the way the government controls via laws and regulations who gets to come and settle in Canada. Since Confederation, immigration policy has been tailored to grow the population, settle the land, and provide labour and financial capital for the economy. Immigration policy also tends to reflect the racial attitudes or national security concerns of the time which has also led to discriminatory restrictions on certain migrant groups. (See also Canadian Refugee Policy.)

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MS St. Louis

​On 7 June 1939, 907 Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis were denied entry to Canada. The ship returned its passengers to safe harbour in four European countries. Sadly, 254 of its passengers later perished in the Holocaust.

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Grand Duchess Olga

Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia, watercolour artist and farmer (born 13 June 1882 in St. Petersburg, Russia; died 24 November 1960 in Toronto, Ontario). Grand Duchess Olga was the sister of the last czar of Russia. She and her family fled to Denmark following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then to Canada after the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of Russians immigrated to Canada in the first half of the 20th century. They included industrial and agricultural workers and members of the former Russian aristocracy.

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Canada and the Holocaust

The Holocaust is defined as the systematic persecution and murder of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews, including Roma and Sinti, Poles, political opponents, LGBTQ people and Soviet prisoners of war (POWs), by Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. Jews were the only group targeted for complete destruction. Nazi racial ideology considered them subhuman. Though Jewish Canadians did not experience the Holocaust directly, the majority endured anti-Semitism in Canada. Jewish Canadians were only one generation removed from lands under German occupation from 1933 to 1945. They maintained close ties to Jewish relatives in those lands. These ties affected the community’s response to the Holocaust. There was, for instance, a disproportionate representation of Jews in the Canadian armed forces. Jewish Canadians were also heavily involved in postwar relief efforts for displaced persons and Holocaust survivors in Europe.