School for All is a campaign to ensure that all students, regardless of their immigration status, can access public schools in British Columbia.
We are a broad group of teachers, community members, parents, union members, and activists who believe that education is a basic human right.
All children in Canada are legally required to begin school between the ages of 4 to 5, and continue to receive an education until the age of 15 or 16, depending on the province or territory in which the child lives. Canada has also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that “all children have the right to a primary education.”
However, provincial and school district practices have created situations in which certain children – particularly those without full immigration status – are excluded from accessing public education.
In March 2014, the BC Teachers’ Federation Executive Committee approved the following motion: “That the BCTF encourage locals to work with school boards to adopt a ‘Sanctuary School’ policy.”
This decision was inspired by the Education not Deportation campaign in Toronto. On May 16th, 2007, the Toronto School Board issued the “Students Without Legal Immigration Status” policy:
“All children who are qualified to be resident pupils of the Board, including those without immigration status in Canada, shall be entitled to admission to school. All children shall be welcome, regardless of immigration status, and information about them or their families shall not be shared with immigration authorities”.
(TDSB Policy P.061 May 2007)
It is important to maintain and extend our principles of inclusivity and safety to some of the most vulnerable students in our communities. We encourage you to join us in ensuring that all students who reside in the province, on unceded and treaty Indigenous lands, are able to access public schools in British Columbia.