Environmental Migrants and Canada’s Refugee Policy

Sheila Murray


Canada is among the world’s foremost refugee resettlement
countries and is signatory to international agreements that
affirm its commitment to the protection of refugee rights.
Asylum seekers come to Canada from around the globe.
But as climate change continues to affect growing regions
of the world—threatening to create as many as 200 million
environmental migrants by the year 2050—Canada
has not yet begun to address the issue of climate change
migration. In an era defined by a neo-liberal approach to
migration issues, and until international actors determine
the status of environmental migrants, Canada’s policy
response to the looming crisis may be conjectured from
an historical review of its refugee policy. This provides an
understanding of the various factors, both domestic and
international, that may have the greatest influence on
Canada’s future refugee policy.

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