The Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre (GTEC) of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), GTA Region, has issued a directive to all its officers, stating:
1. When conducting a road investigation, officers will not enter shelters or other spaces designated as resources for women fleeing/experiencing violence.
2. Officers are not to wait outside or approach the above-noted spaces and will maintain a reasonable distance.
3. Officers are not to approach the above-noted spaces to make any inquiries into the identity of women who may be the subject of an immigration investigation. This includes inquiries made to the staff, volunteers and other residents.
After 2 years of grassroots organizing with migrant women and trans activists, residents and users of anti-violence against women agencies and anti-violence against women service providers the Shelter|Sanctuary|Status campaign has successfully pushed immigration officers out of spaces for women surviving violence and abuse. To see video of the April 2010 SSS delegation to GTEC, click here. To see the chronology of the campaign, click here
Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney have proposed a new Immigration Act, Bill C-49. It would allow the Minister of Public Safety to declare any group of migrants coming in to Canada, a 'smuggling incident'. There is no definition of a 'smuggler' in this Act.
For the asylum seekers who are declared part of an incident (which could be anyone making a refugee claim in a groups of 2 or more), the Conservative government wants to:
Jail them for a minimum of one year
Deny access to health services
Deny monthly detention reviews, allowing migrants in jail a chance to gain freedom only once every 6 months
Be able to revoke people's refugee status after it has been granted by the refugee determination process
Ban applications for permanent residence for five years after gaining refugee status
Bar people from reuniting with their families for five years after gaining refugee status
Stop people from leaving Canada for five years after gaining refugee status
Deny the right of appeal to a rejected refugee claim
Put in an ex-CSIS director and the man responsible for police brutality during the G20 as a special advisor on human migration
This is an absolute outrage. This Act is now at second reading in Parliament and must be stopped.
It is imperative that people across Canada are aware of this bill and its implications. Please call, fax and email your Member of Parliament (details follow) and ask your friends and colleagues to do the same.
Sponsored by No One Is Illegal-Toronto and the Ontario Coalition Against PovertyMayor Ford: Respect People!
On December 1, Rob Ford becomes Mayor of Toronto. In his campaign speeches and his public statements, Ford has called for cuts to fair wages, a dismantling of the already inaccessible public transit system, supported Toronto's police brutality during the G20, and repeatedly expressed racist anti-immigrant sentiments and outright hatred for poor people.
While claiming to speak on behalf of the 'majority', Ford actually believes in a Toronto for the few. He believes in a Toronto divided into suburbs and the downtown. A Toronto divided into streetcar riders, bikers and drivers. A Toronto divided into immigrants, refugees and citizens. A Toronto where the homeless are driven out of sight as social housing is sold off to developers. A Toronto where police budgets grow and cops act with impunity. A Toronto that is open for business, but closed for the public.
This is not our Toronto. Our Toronto is about justice, dignity, and respect for immigrants, precarious workers, poor people and unions.
On December 1, at 12noon, a public, family friendly demonstration is being called outside City Hall as Rob Ford becomes Mayor to remind him what the people of this city need, expect and demand.
This fall the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) - the largest school board in Canada - provided its 558 schools with a full colour poster stating that "All children living in our community, including those without immigration status in Canada, are entitled to admission to our schools"(attached)
Accompanying this poster was a tip sheet with guidelines for office administrators to ensure that no student is denied access to elementary or secondary school. [Download the document below]. If adhered to fully, this means that the TDSB could become a model school board for the principle of 'access without fear' as well as a major pillar of the ongoing campaign to build a Sanctuary/Solidarity City here in Toronto. For Kimberly and Gerald, for Matthew and Rawad, and for all the others without status who have had to fight for their right to education - we dedicate this victory to you.
please participate in a Community-Labour discussion hosted by No One Is Illegal – Toronto
November 4, 2010
6:00pm – 8:00pm
OPSEU Union Hall, 31 Wellesley Street
(across from Wellesley Subway Station)
supported by: Justicia for Migrant Workers, Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario, OPSEU Workers of Color, Caregiver Action Centre, Labor Education Centre, Workers Action Centre, Health for All, Latin American Trade Unionist Coalition
FRANCA IACOVETTA is Professor of History and author of “Such Hardworking People: Italian Immigrants in Postwar Toronto” that focused on the Hoggs Hollow disaster.
TZAZNA MIRANDA LEAL is an organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers
MOHAN MISHRA is an organizer with No One Is Illegal – Toronto
On Sunday October 10, 2010 migrant agriculture workers, accompanied by allies from across Ontario participated in a grueling 50 km walk, from Leamington to Windsor Ontario. Organized by Justicia for Migrant Workers, the march was a grassroots effort led by migrant workers.
Beginning at 7am, the exuberant and historic "Pilgrimage to Freedom" demanded immigration status for all, an end to exorbitant recruitment fees, better housing, safe working conditions and an end to racism and sexism in the workplace.
Making stops at local politicians offices and the Canadian Border Services Agency, the march ended nearly over 12 hours later at the Underground Railroad Memorial in Windsor to mark, honor and be inspired by the resilience of migrant and indentured workers that have slaved in exploitative conditions over the centuries, yet have still fought back, and have still survived.