Toronto city council has accepted a recommendation that calls for a review of the access to city services for undocumented workers – a recommendation opponents called redundant, though advocates said it makes Toronto a “sanctuary city.”
The recommendation, approved Thursday night, calls for a report to be submitted by the third quarter of 2013 to review opportunities to improve access to services for undocumented workers. It also recommends training for front-line staff who deal with such workers.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday noted the city has offered services to residents regardless of their legal status for years. He handed out an information sheet that said it is city practice not to ask residents their immigration status.
Councillor Joe Mihevc, however, said Thursday’s vote means the practice would become policy.
When asked what specifically would change for undocumented workers, he said they would feel more secure when accessing city services.
Nonetheless, Mr. Mihevc – who was joined by several undocumented workers and advocates – told reporters the vote was an historic moment.
“We are saying that we are a sanctuary city,” he said.
City council also recommended asking the federal government to establish a "regularization program" for undocumented residents, and asking the provincial government to review its policies on such residents.