Introduction: The “sanctuary city” movement is a grassroots, human rights-based response to increased numbers of non-status migrants living and working in global cities (Faraday 2012; Sawchuk & Kempf 2008; Bhuyan 2012; OCASI 2012). Nonstatus migrants live in situations of extreme precariousness — they are subject to detention and deportation if identified by federal authorities; often work in poor conditions; are socially isolated; face poverty, abuse, and exploitation; and are unable to safely access essential social services, including those related to healthcare, education, labour, shelters, food banks, and police services (Gibney 2000; De Giorgi 2010; Noll 2010). In February 2013, Toronto became the first “sanctuary city” in Canada, which is currently styled “Access T.O.” Hamilton and Vancouver followed suit in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The primary objective of Access T.O. is to ensure that all residents are able to access municipal and police services, regardless of immigration status. The policy directs city officials not to: 1) inquire into immigration status when providing select services, 2) deny non-status residents access to services to which they are entitled, and 3) share personal or identifying information with federal authorities, unless required to do so by federal or provincial law (City of Toronto 2013).
Hudson, G., Atak, I., Manocchi, M., & Hannan, C. A. (2017). (No) Access T.O.: A pilot study on sanctuary city policy in Toronto, Canada. RCIS Working Paper No. 1. Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement.