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Shelter Sanctuary Status

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Homeless shelters should be safe sanctuary, activists say

Nicholas Keung
The Toronto Star
March 8, 2010

Women’s and refugee rights groups are demanding homeless shelters be declared safe sanctuary from removal enforcement officials, who recently entered a Toronto shelter looking for a Ghanaian woman in hiding.

Shelter workers, residents and advocates worry that the February 27 incident at Beatrice House, a downtown shelter for women and children, would scare non-status women in need from seeking help in order to avoid potential arrests and deportation.

They will gather Monday morning, on the International Women’s Day, at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre on Phoebe St. to condemn the action by the Canada Border Services Agency.

“We have heard of the CBSA waiting outside of shelters, looking to apprehend women without status. But I have never heard of officers actually walking into a shelter to look for women,” said Eileen Morrow of the Ontario Association for Interval and Transition Houses.

A Declaration. An Invitation.

International Women’s Day 2010

In the face of war, occupation, economic deprivation and domestic and sexual abuse, migrant women, transpeople and children have travelled to Canada.

These women, children and transpeople work in precarious jobs as temporary workers and immigrants. Many live without access to basic food, shelter, healthcare, job protection, justice or dignity when they are unable to gain full status.

In the past year, we have heard of numerous families arrested in spaces where they sought to rebuild their lives – in shelters, outside anti-violence against women organization and in community gardens.

Forcing women to places with little personal security or economic opportunity and away from communities they have created is Violence. Detentions and Deportations are Violence Against Women.

Enraged, the Women's Movement has risen to demand Status for All!

It is our responsibility to ensure that women, transpeople and children in our communities do not live in daily fear of detention and deportation, especially when seeking support.


For Immediate Release
08 March, 2010

Emergency Community Assembly and Press Conference

March 8
17 Phoebe Street, Toronto Rape Crisis Centre

TORONTO – On March 3rd, the Shelter | Sanctuary | Status campaign sent out a mass notice informing women and anti-violence against women organizations about Immigration Enforcement raiding Beatrice House in mid-February to arrest Jane, a single mother from Ghana. Since then, numerous women have decided to break the silence and spoken out about other raids that have been taking place.


Mar/08/2010 - 10:00 am

Emergency Community Meeting
March 8 (International Women's Day)
17 Phoebe Street, Toronto Rape Crisis Centre
10:00am Sharp

The Shelter | Sanctuary | Status Campaign invites shelter workers, residents, managers, counselors and anti-violence against women advocates and activists to attend an urgent community meeting on March 8th.

It has come to our attention, that the Canada Border Services Agency invaded a shelter for women - on February 27, looking to track down Jane, a single mom and survivor of violence from Ghana.

“It’s so scary,” Jane says, who wishes to keep her real name anonymous but is willing to speak to the media. “I thought the shelter was supposed to be a safe space for me and my baby. I’m scared not just for myself, but for non-status women in shelters everywhere who are facing the same fear,” she continued.

Shelter Sanctuary Status: An Evening of Resistance

Nov/25/2009 - 6:00 pm



WED, NOV 25, 2009
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
6pm Registration, 6:30-8:30pm
Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave.)
Speakers, Theatre, Poetry, Music and more...

Every year, tens of thousands of women and trans-people travel across borders and check-points, empty their savings and make the difficult journey to Canada, leaving behind homes, families and sometimes children in search of safety. For economic security. For refuge. Often entering a system of temporary, exploitative work. Live-In Care-Givers and other migrant workers are being treated like disposable commodities by Canada. Women fighting back against violence are being denied status. Working for years. Unable to bring their families. Unable to unionize.

Enraged by this treatment and inspired by the victories of the DADT campaign in Toronto schools, the Women's Movement has risen up to demand Status for All. Shelters have opened their doors further to non-status women. Rape/Trauma Crisis Centres, Group Counseling Homes, Anti-VAW Shelters, Agencies and Community Organizations have organized to provide basic and essential support services to survivors of violence while mobilizing and advocating for a full regularization program.

Take Back the Night!

Sep/12/2009 - 5:30 pm
Sep/12/2009 - 8:00 pm

Join the Shelter | Sanctuary | Status Contingent at Take Back the Night

Saturday Sept.12, 2009
5 p.m.- Community Fair
6 p.m.- Rally
8 p.m.- March
Davenport Perth Neighborhood Centre
1900 Davenport Ave. TTC: North of Lansdowne Subway station.

Take Back the Night brings visibility to the impact of sexual violence in women's lives.

Nights hide assaults, rapes, workplace raids and deportation. Nights make our struggles invisible. Nights make us invisible.

Take Back the Night of every act of violence against women in our communities. Take Back the Night to demand status for all!

BECAUSE women seeking asylum are told they're liars
BECAUSE migrant women are arrested at work on factory floors & farms
BECAUSE police deny non-status women protection & report them to immigration
BECAUSE everyday sisters are dragged from our communities and deported


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