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No. 1 (2021)

Canada - A Long Way To Go: The Designated Country of Origin Policy and Refugee Protection

May 24, 2021


The Designated Country of Origin (DCO) policy was a political response to unwanted migration in Canada. Adapted from Europe, Harper took a liking to the EU’s SCO policy after Canada received a large influx of Middle Eastern and Balkan refugees seeking asylum. He adapted it in Canada, renaming it Designated Country of Origin (DCO). Under the DCO, the government of Canada would decide if a refugee's country of origin was dangerous enough to be considered for asylum. If the asylum seekers country is determined as safe, that person would be disregarded and sent back to their country of origin. Many refugees who had already settled in Canada had their files reopened and were told to return to their country of origin. The DCO policy became an integral part of the refugee status determination process in Canada to which some regarded as faulty, inefficient, and unjust. In 2019, the SCO was deemed unconstitutional and violated The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, wanted to create an asylum system that was considered fair and efficient. While it is important for an asylum seeker to prove they are truthful about the facts of their case, the DCO policy represents a climate of hostility towards migrants in Canada. In this piece, it will be argued that the DCO policy is a discriminatory migration tool used to “weed out” what the government deems as fake migrants. This policy could deny international protection to those who are genuinely in need. The DCO proves that the nation has a misleading reputation of being welcoming to all who come. The DCO threatened the human rights of asylum seekers who sought refuge in Canada. 


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