Skip to main content


Shifting Up and Back

Article metrics

  • 508 Accesses

  • 2 Citations


During the last decade, Canada’s immigration and citizenship policies have been radically transformed. Hardly any aspect has been left untouched. That humanitarian migration has also been restricted and transformed has generally been linked to the worldwide “securitization” of migration. This paper argues that the timing and character of a number of key changes also represent a European turn of Canada’s refugee policy, which has seen Canada change from a policy innovator and humanitarian leader to a student, follower and adaptor of a key set of restrictionist asylum policies practiced in Europe.


  1. Abell, N. A. (1997). Safe Country Provisions in Canada and in the European Union: A Critical Assessment. International Migration Review, 31(3): 569–590.

  2. Abu-Laban, Y. (1998). Welcome/STAY OUT: The Contradiction of Canadian Integration and Immigration Policies at the Millennium. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 20(3): 190–211.

  3. Alboim, N., & Cohl, K. (October 2012). Shaping the Future: Canada’s Rapidly Changing Immigration Policies. Toronto: Maytree Foundation.

  4. Anderson, C. G. (2010). Restricting Rights, Losing Control: The Politics of Control over Asylum Seekers in Liberal-Democratic States — Lessons from the Canadian Case, 1951–1989. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 43(4): 937–959.

  5. Arbel, E. (2013). Shifting Borders and the Boundaries of Rights: Examining the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States. International Journal of Refugee Law, 25 (1): forthcoming.

  6. Brunet-Jailly, E. (2006). Security and Border Security Policies: Perimeter or Smart Border? A Comparison of the European Union and Canadian-American Border Security Regimes. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 21(1): 3–21.

  7. Canada, C. a. I. (2006). Canada-United States Safe Third Country Agreement Review: A Partnership for Protection, Year One Review.

  8. Carrera, S., De Somer, M., & Petkova, B. (2012). The Court of Justice of the European Union as a Fundamental Rights Tribunal: Challenges for the Effective Delivery of Fundamental Rights in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. CEPS Paper in Liberty and Security in Europe, No. 49 (August).

  9. Clarkson, S. (2008). Does North America Exist? Governing the Continent After NAFTA and 9/11. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

  10. Costello, C. (2005). The Asylum Procedures Directive and the Proliferation of Safe Country Practices: Deterrence, Deflection and the Dismantling of International Protection? European journal of Migration and Law, 7: 35–69.

  11. Dauvergne, C. (2005). Humanitarianism, Identity and Nation: Migration Laws of Canada and Australia. Vancouver: UBC Press.

  12. Dauvergne, C. (2008). Making People Illegal: What Globalization Means for Migration and Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  13. Dirks, G. E. (1995). Controversy and Complexity: Canadian Immigration Policy During the 1980s. Montreal, Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

  14. Dobrowolsky, A. (2011). The Intended and Unintended Effects of a New Immigration Strategy: Insights from Nova Scotia’s Provincial Nominee Program. Studies in Political Economy, 87 (Spring): 109–142.

  15. Forest, J. J. F. (Ed.) (2006). Homeland Security: Protecting America’s Targets (Vol. 1), Westport, CT: Praeger.

  16. Garnier, A. (2010). Are States in Control of their Borders? Testing the Venue-Shopping Approach in the Australian Context, Working Paper Series: Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Science of the Research Academy Leipzig.

  17. Graziano, P., & Vink, M. (Eds.). (2007). Europeanization: New Research Agendas Basingstoke: Palgrave

  18. Guild, E. (2006). The Europeanisation of Europe’s Asylum Policy. International Journal of Refugee Law, 18: 630–651.

  19. Guiraudon, V. (2000). European Integration and Migration Policy: Vertical Policy-making as Venue Shopping. Journal of Common Market Studies, 38(2): 251–271.

  20. Guiraudon, V. (2001). Weak Weapons of the Weak? Transnational Mobilization around Migration in the European Union. In D. Imig & S. Tarrow (Eds.), Contentious Europeans: Protest and Politics in an Emerging Polity. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield.

  21. Gurzu, A. (2012). Safe Country of Origin List at the EU Level: the Bargaining Process and the Implications. Journal of European and Russian Affairs, 7(1): 1–14.

  22. Irvine, J. A. S. (2011). Canadian Refugee Policy: Understanding the Role of International Bureaucratic Networks in Domestic Paradigm Change. In G. Skogstad (Ed.), Policy Paradigms, Transnationalism and Domestic Politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

  23. Jimenez, E., & Crépeau, F. (2002). The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Horizons: Policy Research Initiative, 5(2): 18–20.

  24. Kaunert, C., & Léonard, S. (2012). The Development of the EU Asylum Policy: Venue-Shopping in Perspective. Journal of European Public Policy, 19(9): 1396–1413.

  25. Kelley, N., & Trebilcock, M. (1998). The Making of the Mosaic: a History of Canada’s Immigration Policy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

  26. Kernerman, G. (2008). Refugee Interdiction at Heaven’s Gate. Government and Opposition, 43(2): 230–248.

  27. Krikorian, J. D. (2012). International Trade Law and Domestic Policy: Canada, the United States and the WTO. Vancouver: UBC Press.

  28. Lavenex, S. (1999). Safe Third Countries: Extending the EU Asylum and Immigration Policies to East and Central Europe. Budapest: Central European University Press.

  29. Lavenex, S. (2001). The Europeanization of Refugee Policies: Normative Challenges and Institutional Legacies. Journal of Common Market Studies, 39(5): 851–874.

  30. Macklin, A. (2005). Disappearing Refugees: Reflections of the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 36: 365–426.

  31. Moravcsik, A. (1998). The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

  32. Olsen, J. P. (2002). The Many Faces of Europeanization. Journal of Common Market Studies, 49 (5).

  33. Peers, S. (2011). EU Justice and Home Affairs Law (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  34. Pierson, P. (2000). Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics. American Political Science Review, 94(2): 251–267.

  35. Review, I. L. (1997). Not Just Numbers: A Canadian Framework for Future Immigration. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

  36. Salter, M. B. (2007). Canadian Post 9/11 Border Security and Spillover Securitization: Smart, Safe, Sovereign? In M. Orsini & M. Smith (Eds.), Critical Policy Studies. Vancouver: UBC Press.

  37. Shachar, A. (2006). Race for Talent: Highly Skilled Migrants and Competitive Immigration Regimes. New York University Law Review, 81: 148–206.

  38. Soennecken, D. (2013a). Extending Hospitality: History, Courts and the Executive. Studies in Law, Politics and Society, 60: 85–109.

  39. Soennecken, D. (2013b). The Managerialization of Refugee Determinations in Canada. Droit et Societé, 84(2): 291–311.

  40. Stoffman, D. (2002). Who Gets In: What’s Wrong with Canada’s Immigration Program — and How to Fix It. Toronto: Macfarlane Walter and Ross.

  41. Thouez, C., & Channac, F. (2006). Shaping International Migration Policy: The Role of Regional Consultative Processes. West European Politics, 29(2): 370–387.

  42. Varsanyi, M. W. (2008). Rescaling the “Alien,” Rescaled Personhood: Neoliberalism, Immigration and the State. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 98(4): 877–896.

  43. Watson, S. (2009). The Securitisation of Humanitiarian Migration: Digging Moats and Sinking Boats. London: Routledge.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Dagmar Soennecken.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark


  • refugee determinations
  • Canada
  • Europe
  • Europeanization
  • venue shopping
  • safe third country
  • safe country of origin