In the third episode, we speak with Loly Rico of the FCJ Refugee Centre and Rachel Bryce, from the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers about the multiple issues facing those fleeing poverty, destabilization, the borderless crises of conflict and climate change and the responsibility of Canada to provide asylum. 

“Refugee is defined as someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted on five grounds. Those grounds are: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. But as you so rightly point out, climate is not one of those,” says Rachel Bryce.

“I think that Canada being a signatory country is violating the Refugee Convention. Because the convention says that anyone who shows up at your borders, you must provide access for protection. And with the Safe Third Country Agreement, they don’t provide that. They just limited the access for protection to too many people,” says Loly Rico.

About today’s guest: 

Loly Rico is executive director of the FCJ Refugee Center in Toronto, which she co-founded with her husband, human rights activist Francisco Rico-Martinez, who sadly passed away last year. From her own experience as both a refugee to Canada from El Salvador through her work, including as past president of OCASI, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and the Canadian Council for Refugees, she is a steadfast and powerful voice on anti-trafficking and refugee rights and status. 

Rachel Bryce is the co-chair of the Climate Migration Working Group for the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers or CARL. She has worked at landings, LLP, a leading immigration refugee and human rights law firm in Toronto since January, 2021. And before that in the international migration law unit of the UN migration agency in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as the International Development law organization in the Hague, the Netherlands. She holds a Juris Doctorate, Masters of Global Affairs joint degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. CARL Climate Migration Report. 

The Courage My Friends podcast series is a co-production between The Tommy Douglas Institute (at George Brown College),, with the support of the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation. 

Transcript of this episode can be accessed at or here.

Image: Loly Rico and Rachel Bryce / Used with permission.

Excerpt from “Home” by Warsan Shire

Music: Ang Kahora. Lynne, Bjorn. Rights Purchased

Intro Voices: Chandra Budhu (General Intro./Outro.), Nayocka Allen, Nicolas Echeverri Parra, Doreen Kajumba (Street Voices); Bob Luker (Tommy Douglas quote)

Courage My Friends Podcast Organizing Committee: Resh Budhu, Breanne Doyle (for, Chandra Budhu and Ashley Booth. 

Produced by: Resh Budhu, Tommy Douglas Institute and Breanne Doyle,

Host: Resh Budhu

Needs No Introduction

A series of speeches and lectures from the finest minds of our time. Fresh ideas from speakers of note.