A safe third country is a country in which a person crossing that country could have applied for refugee protection. In Canada, section 102, paragraph 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act sets out the criteria for designating a country as a safe third country. The agreement was signed on December 5, 2002 in Washington, D.C. by Bertin Cété (Deputy Head of Mission, Canadian Embassy) and Arthur E. Dewey (Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, United States). The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requires ongoing review of all countries designated as safe third countries. The purpose of the review procedure is to ensure that the conditions that led to deportation as a safe third country remain met. Conventions on safe third-country nationals are not explicitly mentioned in the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees. Rather, their legitimacy derives from Article 31 of the 1951 Convention, which states that a refugee should not be punished for illegal entry into a country if he arrives directly from a country where he is threatened. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has itself warned against over-interpreting safe third country agreements, although it acknowledges that they may be acceptable in certain circumstances.  Such ambiguities have prompted some Canadian legal experts to question the legality of the Canada-U.S. safe third country agreement.  The agreement helps both governments better manage access to the refugee system in each country for people crossing the land border between Canada and the United States.
The two countries signed the agreement on 5 December 2002 and came into force on 29 December 2004. The agreement does not apply to U.S. citizens or ordinary U.S. residents who are not nationals of a country (“stateless”). As of February 2017, more and more refugees have begun to cross the Canadian border at locations other than official border checkpoints. To avoid the effects of the agreement, all refugees at a border crossing would be automatically repatriated to the United States, in accordance with the CAB provisions.  Since it is not illegal to cross the border outside a port of entry under the Immigration and Refugee Act or the rules associated with it, as long as the person immediately reports to a Canada Border Services Agency official and st.c.a. does not apply to rights outside a port of entry, these are persons who otherwise are not entitled to assert their rights after an irregular crossing. Possible.  In some cases, these refugees have been amputated by frostbite and concerns have been expressed that some refugees may freeze to death while crossing the border.  The Safe Third Country Agreement applies to refugee claimants wishing to travel to Canada or the United States at Canada-U.S. border crossings (including rail).