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Hudson, Graham and Atak, Idil and Manocchi, Michele and Hannan, Charity-Ann
(No) Access T.O.: A Pilot Study on Sanctuary City Policy in Toronto, Canada
November 10, 2016
Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement Working Paper Series, 2017/1
Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2897016


The “Sanctuary City” movement is a grassroots, human rights-based response to increased numbers of non-status migrants living and working in global cities. This paper shares the results of a one-year pilot study on Sanctuary City policy in Toronto, Canada. Styled Access T.O., Toronto’s Sanctuary City policy is meant to provide non-status residents access to municipal and police services without fear of being detained or deported. Recent reports indicate that the policy is faltering. Based on interviews with city staff and politicians, Community Service Organizations, NGOs, professionals (e.g. doctors, lawyers), and non-status migrants, we identify barriers to the implementation of the policy. We argue that Access T.O. will fail unless City Council provides the funding and mandate for: more comprehensive training tailored to specific City Divisions, dedicated Access T.O. portfolios within many (if not all) City Divisions, “service integration” geared towards better community engagement and capacity-building, and revisiting the City’s position on the collection and protection of demographic data.

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