Building a Solidarity City : A conference on access to services for non-status migrants

An invitation from Solidarity Across Borders …
Building a Solidarity City : A conference on access to services for non-status migrants

Solidarity Across Borders is organizing a day-long conference to discuss and share strategies about access to services (health care, schooling, food banks, housing, etc) for non-status migrants. We’re inviting local community organizers and activists, health care workers, researchers and all people interested in this topic to participate in this conference in order to reinforce our links of solidarity and mutual aid.

WHEN : Saturday, October 1st, 2011, from 9am-5pm
WHERE : Hall Building at Concordia University, 7th floor
1455 de Maisonneuve West, métro Guy-Concordia

* Childcare and kids activities on-site (free)
* Whisper translation (English, French, Spanish)
* Wheelchair accessible
* Snacks and free lunch available on-site
* Please confirm your participation ( / 514-848-7583)


For thousands of undocumented immigrants across the country, cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are sweatshops. Immigrants and refugees work the most precarious and dangerous jobs. The Canadian economy cannot survive without this work force that is exploited due to the lack of permanent status and the threat of forced removal. These undocumented people are our neighbors, our colleagues, our classmates and our friends. They are people whose only “crime” was to migrate in the search for a better life for themselves and their family.

Too often non-status migrants do not have access to essential services such as health care, education or social services. Or, they might never dare entering a hospital, clinic or food bank for fear that their status be revealed to the authorities.

In 2009, Solidarity Across Borders launched the “Solidarity City” campaign. Inspired by “Sanctuary City” movements and by the “Right to City” principle, Solidarity City aims to make Montreal a city where essential services are truly available to everyone, regardless of their immigration status. We undertake this campaign in the context of the larger goal of putting into place a regularization program for all non-status persons living in Canada.

In the current context of a re-elected Conservative majority government, the Solidarity City campaign constitutes a response to austerity measures and the repressive policies of the Canadian state. We are not waiting for this government to give us presents: we choose instead to organize on our own basis, according to principles that have guided migrant justice struggles in Montreal: mutual aid, building networks of support that break isolation and fear, solidarity between different social justice struggles, direct action and the organization of campaigns based on the lived realities of migrants.

We invite allied groups and local community organizers and activists to join us on October 1, 2011 to discuss together the issues linked to access to essential services by non-status persons, and to share our experiences and strategies so that together we can building a Solidarity City.

Proposed Agenda (October 1, 2011):

9am-10am: Breakfast and Coffee

10am-12pm: Discussion – Education For All!
How do we organize to ensure access to public education by non-status children? How can we make links with the movement for accessible education?

10am-12pm: Discussion – Health Care For All!
How do ensure real and universal access to the health care system?

12pm-1:30pm: Lunch

1:30pm-3:30pm: Discussion – Community Services (food and housing)
What are the issues related to access to food banks and other community resources by non-status people? How do we make the link between migrant struggles and the struggle for accessible and affordable housing?

1:30pm-3:30pm: Discussion – Women/Trans Shelters and Services
How can we create a situation where immigration agents cannot enter womens/trans shelters?

4pm-5pm : Closing Plenary

You can attend the discussions that directly interest you, or the entire day. The discussions will be organized to share strategies between participants. We are hoping that concrete projects will emerge from this day.

Please confirm your attendance (and if possible, which workshops you are interested in attending). We will be organizing information tables, so please let us know if you want to share informational materials.

Working groups are organizing each of the conference discussions. If you want to contribute to the organization of one of these discussions, please let us know as soons as possible at

The conference is fully wheelchair accessible. For other accessibility needs, please get in touch at

We will also be offering free childcare and kids activities on-site. Please contact us (at least 48 hours in advance, if possible) to request childcare. We will also have free bus/metro tickets available.

INFO: / 514-848-7583