TORONTO, February 22 2013 – Members of Health for All Toronto are applauding the City of Toronto’s passage of a Sanctuary City motion, saying that it could vastly improve access to health services in the city.
“Undocumented people in Toronto avoid city services because of fear of debt, denial of service, detention and deportation,” said Brendan Bailey, a nursing student and member of Health for All. “The passage of this policy means more people will feel comfortable accessing services that will keep them healthy, and out of hospital.”
Motion 18.5 , passed on February 21st, calls for training of front-line staff to ensure undocumented residents are not asked about their immigration status when accessing city services, the establishment of a complaints protocol, and a media blitz to ensure the policy is publicized among city residents.
Accessibility to City of Toronto services such as emergency shelters and hostels, parks and recreation programs, and public health services in particular, are expected to improve the health and wellbeing of undocumented residents.
“We’re very enthused that the City took this step, however, the actualization of this policy requires front-line workers and community members to act to ensure their workplaces and sites of service are visibly accessible,” added Bailey. “We’re urging health and social service workers as well as community members to connect with the Solidarity City Network to actively participate in ensuring this policy comes alive on the ground.”
Health for All Toronto is a migrant justice organization comprised of migrants, health providers, students and allies. We are a member organization of the Solidarity City Network, the umbrella group behind the Solidarity City campaign. More information about the struggle for Solidarity City is available here: http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/node/779.