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Refugee Rights Day in Canada

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

How Can You Help?

April 4 is celebrated in Canada as Refugee's Rights day, as this day is the anniversary of the 'Singh Decision', made on this day in 1985.

In this decision the Supreme Court confirmed that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights of refugees. The Court included refugee claimants in the sentence: ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.’

In Canada, this means refugee claimants are entitled to a hearing, in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and international law.

However, Amnesty International is noting that Canada is moving backwards in its view of refugees, with this country's expansion last month of the Safe Third Country agreement. Amnesty is calling for the rescinding of this agreement, noting that it will only encourage refugees to seek more remote, and therefore more dangerous, crossings into Canada.

What can you do to speak out for refugee rights in this country?

Lions Bay has a history of supporting refugees. The photo accompanying this article depicts the family of Syrian refugees Amal and Agid, celebrating Nowruz this year, in a Burnaby park. This family were sponsored to come to Canada by a group of Lions Bay residents in 2016, and Alison Dudley and her fellow residents have plans for further action this year. Stay tuned to The Watershed for more information regarding local refugee initiatives as they become available.

You can also support Amnesty's drive to withdraw the Safe Third Country agreement by writing a letter to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship HERE.

Have an opinion on refugee rights in Canada? The Watershed wants to hear it. Share your thoughts in the comment section below, or write to The Watershed at

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