Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “Migrant rights group Sanctuary Health has found that most services in the city still require migrants to show their immigration status in order to gain access, indicating a failure to implement Vancouver’s Access Without Fear policy.”
On Wednesday the group released their audit of parks and recreation, libraries, and shelter services and found that the policy, passed in 2016, has largely not been implemented.
“The results are very shocking,” said Byron Cruz, outreach worker with Sanctuary Health. “There’s a lot of fear [from migrants] to come forward and talk to the staff at the Vancouver public library, community centres, Vancouver police and so on.”
The AWF policy ensures that city services do not ask for information on immigration status, or share that information to other institutions or levels of government, unless required by law. The city has pledged to support police, parks and library services to adopt their own AWF policies.
But Sanctuary Health’s audit showed that this promise was not fully kept, as many of these services still require some form of identification or confirmation of immigration status, and the majority are simply not aware of the policy at all. Additionally, the city has not yet worked with the Vancouver Police Department to develop their own policy.
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