The Canadian Association of Social Workers Stands with the United States’ National Association of Social Workers and Calls for the End of the Safe Third Country Agreement

The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) stands in solidarity with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) seeking to support and amplify their message of deep distress over recent developments in immigration policies in the United States. Furthermore, CASW calls on the Government of Canada to immediately repeal the Safe Third Country Agreement (STPA).  

 “We support NASW’s positon that the Muslim Ban is a terrible blow to protections against religious discrimination in the United States, and serves to encourage racism and xenophobia,” stated CASW President, Jan Christianson-Wood. “For our part, CASW called on the Canadian Government to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement when the travel ban was first announced, and we now re-double this advocacy in calling for its immediate repeal.”

The STPA stipulates that Canada acknowledge the United States as a ‘safe haven’ for migrants, meaning no one should have cause to flee the U.S. as a refugee. However, in light of the current United States Supreme Court Decision to uphold an order halting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, CASW believes the United States can no longer qualify as a safe place for migrants.

Furthermore, though an Executive Order has been signed that promises to end the appalling practice of separating migrant children from their families in the United States, the President’s stated disregard for due process – advocating for a so-called ‘zero-tolerance’ stance on migrants – contributes to undermining trust that this change will be implemented swiftly. 

“What is perhaps most troubling in this dialogue is the President’s willingness – eagerness, even – to disregard due process for migrants. Generations of people fought hard for these fundamental rights, which now risk being undone by the wave of a hand, by a social media post,” added Christianson-Wood.

CASW commits to supporting NASW in any way possible as they seek to hold their government accountable to social and legal architecture meant to protect and uphold human rights – and human compassion – in their country.

“When one piece of due process can be pushed aside, where is the line? Why not others? These are frightening questions indeed,” said Christianson-Wood “We stand by NASW as they remain vigilant in the face of these deeply troubling events that have international consequences.”  


For more information: