Re: The continued involvement of Toronto Police in immigration enforcement

To all members of the Toronto Police Services Board,

The Toronto Police Service claims publicly that it is not in violation of Toronto’s landmark “Sanctuary City” policy, formally known as Council Motion CD 18.5 “Undocumented Workers In Toronto” (2013). This policy, overwhelmingly supported by City Council, guaranteed all services provided by city agencies - including the Toronto Police Service - be made accessible to all residents of Toronto, regardless of their immigration status.

While the City has been slow to implement the Sanctuary City policy to its full extent in other service areas, the agency that most egregiously and routinely violates this policy is the Toronto Police Service. This is something Toronto residents, particularly racialized members of our community without full immigration status, already know to be the case - through racial profiling, Toronto Police will routinely ask for immigration status without compelling legal grounds to do so. This was made even more clear to community researchers after recent Access to Information Requests found that Toronto police call the Canada Border Service Agency nearly 100 times a week to check on the immigration status of our community members. The overwhelming majority of these calls are to perform “status checks” (which mean no immigration warrant was connected to these calls), and were based on “suspicion” (which is a tired, unsubtle code for racial profiling).

The Toronto Police Service needs must comply with the unambiguous city policy that was delivered to them. No federal or provincial laws require the type of collaboration that they have demonstrated in separating our community members from their families and lives in Toronto. The Toronto Police Services Board has the power to demand that:

The Toronto Police Service develop a clear and unambiguous Access Without Fear policy that guarantees they will not step beyond their mandate in doing the work of federal immigration enforcement.

This entails not just an expansion of the existing partial Don’t Ask policy to include all encounters residents have with police and a Don’t Tell mandate but setting out clear guidelines and procedures that prevent Police officers from racially profiling people and calling CBSA with their names, circumventing the Don’t Ask.

This is an extremely urgent consideration for the TPSB in the coming year. We enthusiastically await a policy response from this board, and expect action in the immediate future. If the TPSB cannot hold the police to the explicit democratic will of the public it serves, it has ceased to serve its stated function.


No One Is Illegal (Toronto)
OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (Debbie Douglas)
Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)
Nigel Barriffe, President Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Justicia for Migrant Workers
Educators for Peace and Justice
D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Refugee Centre (Joanne Ruberto)
Workers' Action Centre (Deena Ladd)
Workers United Canada Council
IAVGO Community Legal Clinic
West Scarborough Community Legal Services (Regini David)
Immigration Legal Committee of Law Union of Ontario
Antonia Baker, Lawyer
Jade Wallace, Lawyer
Gary Newhouse, Lawyer
Solidarity Across Borders (Rosalind Wong)
Luin Goldring, Sociologist, YorkU
Denise Hammond, President CESAR - Continuing Education Students' Association of Ryerson
Belia Berrocal, Community Legal Worker
Put Food in the Budget (Sharon Anderson)
Elin Goulden, Anglican Diocese of Toronto
Unite HERE! Local 75 (Daniel Bastien)
Community Action Resource Centre
Idalia Gonzalez
Asha Mohamoud
Mert Coskan, Carleton University
Jason Kunin, Teacher (TDSB)
Emmeruth Pineda, Youth Without Shelter
Kathryn Danielle Meraz Alvarez
Pedro Malone
Alexander Whitlock
Tristan Del Sole
George Hope-Fraser
Natalie Escalante
Nick White
Emily Chan
Chris Conrad

Please review the City’s Sanctuary Motion here:

And please see recent research on Toronto police collaboration with federal immigration enforcement:

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