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NOII Toronto's Year in Review

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Canada's largest immigration detainee strike took place in Lindsay. Photo by NOII-Toronto
Canada's largest immigration detainee strike took place in Lindsay. Photo by NOII-Toronto

This article is reposted from NOII-Toronto's year in review. Check out NOII's website for photos and ways to support! 

2013 in Review: Sanctuary City declared, migrants on strike, Mahjoub struggles on and more

The turning of the calendar gives us an opportunity to reflect on our struggles, and prepare for the work ahead. Here is a brief report of our activities.

Toronto Declared A Sanctuary City

On February 21st, 2013, after over a decade of work involving organizations acrosss the city, No One Is Illegal – Toronto made a major breakthrough as Toronto was declared Canada’s first Sanctuary City. See a partial history of that struggle by clicking here. Check out a report by the Solidarity City Network on the next steps that Toronto must take.

Canada’s largest immigration detainee strike

Since September 17, 2013, nearly 200 migrants have been on strike in Lindsay, ON. Though strike participants have faced deportation, segregation and violence, their actions have continued. Over 2,500 people have signed petitions, hundreds of us have protested, and the mainstream media has begun to question the unfairness of immigration detention. See the campaign website at

Justice and Status for Mohammad Mahjoub

2013 was a tumultuous year for security certificate detainee Mohammad Mahjoub. His restrictive and arbitrary conditions of release were eased at the beginning of the year, but by year’s end the Federal Court upheld his security certificate while simultaneously ruling that his right to a fair trial had not been met. In essence, the Federal Court passed the buck, kicking the ball to the Supreme Court and condemning Mahjoub to more years of arbitrary detention. See the campaign site at

Struggling alongside undocumented people

In 2013, in addition to the migrant detainees and their families we are now supporting, we worked directly with 51 undocumented families, getting them services, and fighting against their removals. At the tail-end of 2013, we connected with friends and families of the Walji family where some members of the family chose to end their lives rather than show up for their deportation. We responded with  a vigil, and asked how many more must die at the hands of immigration enforcement.

Supporting Indigenous resistance

2013 will remain the year of Idle No More kicking into high gear. This year we continued to support actions by Grass Narrows Indigenous Nations in Toronto (, actions against Line 9 (watch Kahsatstenhsera: Indigenous Resistance to Tar Sands Pipelines), and strengthen relationships with  front-line Indigenous land defenders.

Also, here is a list of 25 stories of indigenous resistance compiled by Intercontinental Cry.

Resources for migrants and service providers

This last year, we released tools for undocumented peoples on their rights when coming into contact with immigration enforcement, and collaborated on resources for service providers to serve undocumented people.

Migrant Workers’ Rising

We continue to support grassroots migrant worker organizing as members of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. See statements by migrant workers on new anti-recruiter legislation proposed in Ontario.

Building communities and cultures of resistance

In 2013, we were voted in as best social justice organization by NOW Toronto readers for the second year in a row. Though we don’t believe there is such a thing as best social justice group, this award is an indication of growing support for migrant justice analysis and politics. Similarly check out this Toronto Star article on our role in reducing the use of the word illegal.

Last year, we continued our tradition of May Days of Action, collaborating with many grassroots organizations in the city under the banner ‘Building a Solidarity City’. Check out videos and pictures here, and the poster series here. We were also proud to co-host an art exhibition with the JustSeeds collective and support an art experiment on ‘mass arrival’ on the streets of Toronto. We also hosted an important conversation on Whose Borders and supported the launch of Harsha Walia’s new book, Undoing Border Imperialism.

Also, check out this compilation of organizing victories by Jessica Bell at Tools for Change (of which NOII-TO is a supporter)









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