The SPVM still on the trail of undocumented migrants
Police officers from the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) are the ones who carry out the greatest number of status checks in the country, according to data obtained under the < em> Access to Information Law .
According to these data, the SPVM carried out 2015 status checks in 2020, when there had been 3,135 in 2019. By comparison, the country's largest municipal police force, Toronto, carried out 1,677 checks in 2020 and 2,751 in 2019.
The decrease recorded in 2020 could be a consequence of the pandemic rather than of measures put in place in Montreal. In fact, the number of calls made to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) dropped across the country between 2019 and 2020.
Montreal, a “responsible and committed city”?
In 2018, the City of Montreal announced its action plan for the integration of immigrants in which it defines itself as a “responsible and committed city”. It dropped the name “Sanctuary City” almost two years after the declaration was unanimously adopted.
The plan included several measures targeting undocumented immigrants and, in 2019, a new policy of 'fearless' access to City services was adopted.
“We must ensure that people do not need to give an address when they do not have one, so that they have access to services without fear of being identified, ”explained the director of the Office for the Integration of Newcomers in Montreal (BINAM), Marie-Christine Ladouceur-Girard. “We want to see which services have priority and the obstacles to access to them, by documenting the phenomenon.”
Sensitization with the SPVM
Currently, the administration indicates that it is working to sensitize and train all the agents of the SPVM and other officials in order to better integrate the policy into its service offering to citizens.
“Remember that since the end of 2019, the SPVM has implemented a new double filter mechanism for calls from its agents, which has reduced [by 64%] the number of calls sent to the Agency. of the Canadian border services (CBSA) to verify the status of undocumented migrants (MSP), ”emphasizes Mélanie Gagné.
However, the SPVM indicates that it has not received any directives in connection with the verifications of immigrant status. Métro received a negative response following an access to information request.
At the same time, the City said it had produced various communications, held several meetings of & rsquo; information to its various administrative units and to have offered training to its employees and managers in order to sensitize them to the policy.
In addition, to help undocumented immigrants to certify their identity as well as their residence, and facilitate their access to public municipal services (libraries, swimming pools, recreation services, summer camps for children, food aid, school registration), the City has established a partnership with Médecins du Monde Canada, which issues them a map, says the Plante administration.