Wednesday 18 October 2023

Vigil to Support Families Turned Away from Coquitlam School District; Renew Call for a Sanctuary School Policy

See Media Coverage of the vigil here: 

Coquitlam, BC: On October 17th, 2023, members of the Tri-Cities Amnesty International group and the Sanctuary Health collective organized a candlelight vigil for the Right to Education outside the Coquitlam School Board’s next meeting. The vigil was to support families turned away from the Coquitlam School District like Priscila Hurtado’s family.

 The Tri-Cities Amnesty International group first reached out to the Coquitlam School Board about the need to establish a Sanctuary Schools policy in October 2019. They most recently presented to the Coquitlam School Board in May 2023 and are disappointed and frustrated that families are still facing the same experiences. 


  • New Westminster (SD40) adopted its Sanctuary Schools Policy on May 30 2017. The Central Okanagan School District (SD23) passed a Sanctuary Schools Policy on October 13 2022. Vancouver (SD39) in 2021 and Surrey (SD36) in 2023 changed their registration procedures so that children do not have to provide information about their citizenship/immigration status to register in schools. On September 25 2023, Greater Victoria School District (SD61) passed their Sanctuary Schools Policy
  •  On April 23 2022, the BC School Trustees Association (BCTSA) nearly unanimously passed a motion that the BCSTA develop a template to help Boards of Education remove barriers to registration for students with precarious or no immigration status in their Districts; and that the BCSTA calls on the BC Ministry of Education to remove barriers for students with precarious or no immigration status. 
  • On September 2 2022, the Deputy Minister of Education remitted directives to school districts that “When reporting students for operating grant funding, boards are not to exclude students of families who are B.C. residents and may have unresolved federal immigration status. Districts should not be putting up unnecessary barriers for undocumented families, particularly onerous requests for documentation that might prevent a family from enrolling their child.” 

Friday 15 September 2023

Vancouver to Join Thousands of Migrants & Supporters Marching in 15 Cities on Eve of Parliament’s Return For Equal Rights

Permanent resident status for all migrants will ensure a fair society and help everyone in Canada thrive. 

WHEN: September 17, 4pm
WHERE: Outside the Canada Border Services Agency office at 300 West Georgia Street
WHAT/VISUALS: Rally including signs, speeches, banners and a piƱata

Vancouver, September 17- The eve of Parliament’s return will be marked by a weekend of massive demonstrations and actions in 8 provinces to call on Prime Minister Trudeau to implement his promise of equality and fairness in the upcoming Parliamentary session. All migrants, including undocumented people, migrant workers, students, refugees, and families, must have permanent resident status. These actions are coming shortly after the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery called Canada’s temporary migration streams a “breeding ground” for exploitation. 

Hundreds of thousands of people in Canada suffer from poverty, fear, and exploitation because they are denied permanent resident status. Migrants care for parents and children, work in factories, keep our hospitals running, and build homes, but they are excluded from the same rights that others in Canada take for granted. Prime Minister Trudeau promised change when he mandated permanent resident status for migrant students and workers; as well as undocumented people (termed regularization) in December 2021. No program has been implemented in the 20 months since. 

Permanent resident status for all will add billions of dollars to the public purse per year through contributions by employers who currently don’t pay taxes when they hire undocumented people; improve overall health outcomes as hundreds of thousands of people will access primary care and not end up in emergency rooms; and end the downward pressure on wages and working conditions caused by employer exploitation of migrants. It will also allow migrants to lay down deeper roots, participate more fully in society, and gain labour mobility to fill jobs in industries and regions where workers are needed. 

Details of Migrant Rights Network Actions in Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Montreal, Ottawa, St Catharines, St Johns, Sudbury, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse and Winnipeg: 


  • Migrant Rights Network’s proposal for a comprehensive regularization program that is uncapped will grant permanent resident status (not temporary permits) and will not exclude anyone: 
  • All migrant-led organizations in Canada, as well as over 500 civil society, labour and environmental organizations, are calling for full and permanent immigration status for all migrants in the country and permanent resident status for all on arrival in the future.
  • Over 33,000 people have sent messages to the Cabinet in support of permanent resident status for all:
  • These actions are endorsed by over 200 organizations including major labour bodies like Unifor and Ontario Federation of Labour; environmental groups like Climate Action Network and David Suzuki Foundation, faith bodies like the United Church of Canada and civil society groups like Oxfam Canada. 


Monday 27 March 2023

Campaign Against the Three Month Wait In The Media

 Momentum against BC's dangerous and costly wait period for health care is building with two detailed articles coming out in March. Sign the petition here:

'A huge barrier for newcomers': Universality of B.C.'s health care questioned Gordon McIntyre 14 Mar 2023 Vancouver Sun

“The wait-coverage period is a huge barrier for newcomers. People often have been struggling for a long time to get status in Canada, and finally they get status and then end up without an MSP number.
“That leads to people being afraid to contact or access health-care providers, avoiding seeking coverage until their conditions have worsened to the point where they’re ending up in our emergency rooms."
“(B.C.’s three-month wait period) in a way is a privatization of the system, forcing people to get private insurance during this time. It definitely undermines universality.

How Medical Bills Can Slam a Newcomer to BC Moira Wyton 22 Mar 2023 

“Pregnancy can’t wait, and there is an abundance of evidence that this policy isn’t working and is actually harming racialized women in particular,” said Dr. Shira Goldenberg, director of research education with the Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity - CGSHE. “But the government is still relying on these fear-based tropes about migration and resources.”
Having to wait or pay for care “can be jarring for people when Canada has a reputation for universal health care,” said Dr. Mei-ling Wiedmeyer, a family doctor and reproductive health researcher. “But anyone who works on the ground can see that’s not the case in reality.”