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Shelter Sanctuary Status

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Safe shelter for women and trans people

Even if one person in a family is undocumented, the entire family is unable to access subsidized housing in Ontario. Women and trans survivors are sometimes turned away from shelters. Immigration enforcement has been known to go into shelter inquiring about the identity of undocumented women.

From 2008 to 2010, we organized a campaign to ensure that undocumented women are not turned away from shelters, and immigration enforcement is barred from entering them. We won a police, that was then later reneged. In the end, Canada Border Services Agency agreed to only enter sites that serve survivors of violence if they have direct permission from the staff to do so.

End Violence Against Women! Stop Deportations! Rally to Condemn CBSA Policy

Mar/08/2011 - 1:00 pm

March 8th, International Women’s Day
1pm. Immigration and Refugee Board – 74 Victoria Street

Join us on International Women’s Day to demand immigration enforcement stop stalking non-status women.

On Friday, February 11, Canada Border Services Agency issued a national policy ordering its officers to enter and wait outside anti-violence against women spaces to detain and deport women survivors of violence. Immigration Enforcement has also been given instructions to follow women survivors of violence on their way to and from spaces where they may seek support. We condemn this policy and all actions of the CBSA to detain and deport women fleeing violence.

Emergency Public Meeting: Immigration Enforcement Supports Abusers, Targets Survivors!

Feb/16/2011 - 3:00 pm

16 February 2011
3 - 5pm
519 Community Centre (at 519 Church Street, north of Wellesley)

In a stunning move, the Canadian Border Services Agency issued a national policy late Friday afternoon ordering its officers to enter and wait outside anti-violence against women spaces to detain and deport women survivors of violence. Immigration Enforcement has also been given instructions to follow women survivors of violence on their way to and from spaces where they may seek support.

In passing this policy, Immigration Enforcement has declared that it supports abusers, and is willing to deport women to places of grave danger. This new policy forces survivors of abuse and violence to live with the added fear of deportation. Immigration Enforcement is sending a clear message to women survivors of violence that for undocumented women, no space is safe from the violence of deportation.

Remembering Our Sisters - 6th Annual Rally & March

Feb/14/2011 - 5:00 pm

February 14 National Day of Action
Toronto’s 6th Annual Rally & March for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
Monday, February 14, 2011 @ **5 pm** (NOTE THE NEW TIME)
Rally at Police HQ, 40 College St at Bay
March to the Coroner’s Office, 26 Grenville St.

Gathering with food following rally & march (6:30-8pm); a bus will be available to transport participants to the gathering. TTC tokens will be available for those attending by public transit.

According to research conducted under the Native Women Association of Canada’s (NWAC) Sisters in Spirit project, over 580 Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing, most of them over the last 30 years. Despite the clear evidence that this is an ongoing issue, the federal government decided in Fall of 2010 to end funding to Sisters in Spirit. In a move to detract attention from this cut, Rona Ambrose announced a $10 million fund to be put primarily towards creating a central RCMP missing person centre. It is evident that few of those in power have a genuine interest in ending the violence against Indigenous women. On February 14th, we come together in solidarity with the women who started this vigil in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and with the marches and rallies that will be taking place across this land. We stand in defense of our lives and to demonstrate against the complicity of the state in the ongoing genocide of Indigenous women and the impunity of state institutions and actors (police, RCMP, coroners’ offices, the courts, and an indifferent federal government) that prevents justice for all Indigenous Peoples.

Canadian Border Services Agency and immigration enforcement officials barred from Toronto women's shelters

John Bonnar
November 26, 2010

A grassroots campaign scored a major victory last month when the Canadian Border Services Agency issued a directive to enforcement officers telling them to stay away from shelters or other spaces for women who are escaping domestic violence.

In October, the Director of Inland Immigration Enforcement, GTA Region, for the Canadian Border Services Agency told his officers that women who leave an abusive situation to the safety of a shelter or other community service have a right to confidentiality and access to support services.

“When conducting a road investigation, officers will not enter shelters or other spaces designated as resources for women fleeing/experiencing violence,” said Reg Williams, in his letter of October 29.

Immigration officers barred from women’s shelters

The Toronto Star
November 24, 2010
Jayme Poisson

Women fleeing domestic violence will be able to use shelters in the GTA without worry of being targeted by immigration officers, a Toronto activist group says.

The Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre, a branch of the Canada Border Services Agency, will issue a directive barring officers from entering or waiting outside facilities serving women surviving violence, says Fariah Chowdhury, a spokeswoman for NoOneIsIllegal.

The CBSA declined requests for confirmation Wednesday night.

Chowdhury said rape crisis centres, women’s shelters or any community organization helping survivors of violence will now be off limits.

“For us, this is one small step in part of a broader campaign to make the city safe for women and for people with precarious status,” said Chowdhury.

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