Joyce Murray

Your member of parliament for


Vancouver Quadra

Joyce Murray

Your member of parliament for


Vancouver Quadra

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On the refugee situation

Dear constituents,

Due to an overwhelming number of questions and concerns about the status of refugees and those affected by the recent executive order in the US, we have created this page in order to keep everyone updated on the most frequently discussed topics.

We hope you will find the below information helpful. If you do have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us via email – joyce.murray@parl.gc.ca.

US-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement

  • The U.S. Executive Order passed last week focuses on resettled refugees, such as those who are brought to the United States from refugee camps around the world, or the 40,000 Syrian refugees brought to Canada by this Government. It does not comment on the U.S. asylum program, which is focused on asylum seekers, those who arrive at American borders seeking protection on their own.‎
  • The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is largely about this domestic asylum system (i.e, asylum claims made directly in the two countries) and what each country does to determine claims for people seeking asylum.
  • The STCA is premised on the principle, accepted by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that individuals should seek asylum in the first country they arrive in.
  • U.S. compliance with treaty obligations is overseen by an independent judiciary whose decisions are not subject to direction by the U.S. Executive Order.
  • The STCA remains an important tool for Canada and the U.S. to work together on the orderly handling of refugee claims made in our countries.
  • The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act requires the continual review of all countries designated as safe third countries to ensure that the conditions that led to the designation as a safe third country continue to be met.
  • Our Government has no indication that the Executive Order has any impact on the American asylum system, but we will continue to monitor the situation.

Privately Sponsored Refugees:

  • Due to the generosity of Canadians the queue for Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSR’s) has grown to 50,000 people — well over Canada’s planned level of 16,000 PSR’s for 2017. With this in mind, our Government has capped new applications in order to significantly reduce long wait times and is working to land sponsored refugees in Canada sooner.
  • Beyond seeking to reduce the wait time for PSR’s already waiting to come to Canada, ‎we also recognize that there are refugees in many other parts of the world who are in need of Canada’s protection.
  • To this end a 1,000-person cap was established for new applications in 2017 specifically for PSR’s from Syria and Iraq and specifically by community groups.‎
  • Community sponsors, such as Groups of Five, are one avenue for PSR’s, including Syrians and Iraqis, to come to Canada – but not the only one.
  • In 2017, Canada will welcome 25,000 refugees from overseas, which includes 16,000 privately sponsored refugees.
  • This doubles the number of resettled refugees and triples the number of PSR’s from the Conservative Government.
  • Planned admissions of resettled refugees and protected persons (asylum seekers) are 40,000 for 2017.