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Promised path to residency for "Guardian Angel" asylum seekers yet to open

Last Updated Oct 22, 2020 at 4:24 pm EST

OTTAWA — A much-heralded program that would give permanent residency to asylum seekers working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to open. 

Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino unveiled the program in August in response to public pressure that the so-called “Guardian Angels” be recognized for their work in the health-care sector. 

While a set of criteria for who is eligible was released at the time, the government is still ironing out the details and will only say it will open for applications “in the coming months.” 

Many of the asylum seekers who could apply are among the thousands who’ve requested refuge in Canada after irregularly crossing the border from the U.S. 

They’ve done so due to a loophole in a legal agreement that prohibits refugee claims from being filed at land crossings at the Canada-U.S. border.

The Safe Third Country Agreement is currently under legal scrutiny, with hearings in court tomorrow related to a Federal Court decision from earlier this year that struck down parts of the agreement as unconstitutional. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2020.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press