Support growing to make Victoria a sanctuary city

Support is growing in the community to make Victoria a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants in Canada.

Support is growing in the community to make Victoria a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants in Canada.

Last week, Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday facilitated a public forum with community groups and residents about the benefits and potential barriers of Victoria becoming Canada’s next sanctuary city, behind Hamilton, Ont.

In a sanctuary city, municipal employees don’t enforce federal immigration laws, usually by not allowing police or municipal employees to inquire about an individual’s immigration status or reporting them to the Canada Border Services Agency.

More than 130 people attended the first discussion at city hall, including members from the Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria, the Greater Victoria Public Library, the school board and Victoria police, many of whom were in favour of the idea.

“A lot of this discussion is new in Victoria, but it has been picking up steam quickly,” said Loveday, adding there was another discussion a few days later on the same topic.

“This issue of sanctuary cities is a way to look at our local community and see what we can do here, not for people who are coming from other countries, but people who have already come from other countries and are already in our community and may not be able to access the same services that their neighbours are able to.”

The idea of a sanctuary city benefits people who have had their paperwork lapse or people coming to the country applying for refugee status, rather than new refugees being brought into Canada who already have documentation and a permanent resident status.

“The motivation and intent is to provide some safeguards for people who are here and their documentation has gone out of date and that can happen for a whole number of reasons,” said David Lau, executive director of the Victoria Immigration and Refugee Centre. “They could not be good with paperwork or they’re in a situation where they’re unable to have their documentation updated.”

However, there were questions during the meeting about how the idea could be properly implemented across various jurisdictions, especially across all 13 municipalities in the Capital Regional District.

The next steps are to compile the information collected during the meeting and do a debrief with members of the community.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Victoria and Nanaimo

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

Sam Liu, an assistant professor of kinesiology at UVic, has found extroverts, particularly people who are very active and social, are experiencing higher levels of distress throughout the pandemic. (Provided by UVic Photo Services)
University of Victoria study finds extroverts experiencing higher stress levels during pandemic

Degree of extroversion influences individual perception of stress during the pandemic

The 1946 building in Sooke known as the Tin Grotto, located at 2076 Otter Point Rd, is set to be demolished. Council awarded the demolition contract to Maple Ridge-based T&T Demolition. (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke approves demolition for dilapidated downtown building

‘Tin Grotto’ to be reduced to rubble in weeks

Police continue to investigate a break-and-enter in this Sidney jewelry store in the 2500-block of Beacon Avenue. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Thieves hit Sidney jewelry store

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP says incident is not part of a larger trend

This house in the 600-block of Linden Avenue in Fairfield has a Día de Muertos theme for 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Haunted Oak Bay

Residents spookify houses

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Most Read