Sanctuary City Policy

Ensuring all New West residents and visitors have access to City
facilities, programs and services, regardless of immigration status.

What is a sanctuary city?

In a sanctuary city, all community members can access City services without being asked about their immigration status.

In New Westminster, the municipal government is responsible for areas such as fire protection, libraries, community centres, parks, recreation, and parking.

Some people in New Westminster may be afraid of being stopped and deported by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and may not use City services in case someone asks about their immigration status. The Sanctuary City policy tells everyone they are welcome to join in everything offered by the City of New Westminster without being questioned about immigration status by City staff.


How will the City of New Westminster apply this policy?

  1. We will communicate to the public about the policy using print, online campaigns and video.
  2. We will educate and train City staff how to apply the policy in their day-to-day jobs.
  3. City staff are being trained under the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Framework that supports the Sanctuary City policy. This framework guides future and ongoing anti-racism training for staff.
  4. The Welcome Centre at New Westminster Secondary School is a key place for information about the policy and a central access point to the City.

who does it apply to?

Our region is home to many immigrants and refugees. This is true in New Westminster too. Some people are undocumented migrants.

There are various reasons why people are undocumented. Work permits for temporary foreign workers may expire. Marital breakdown can leave a person without sponsorship. Students may overstay their study or work permits. People may lose their status or have their refugee claims denied. Some people may have been victims of human traffickers. These are just a few examples of what can happen.

How does it affect me?

The policy does not affect New Westminster residents with recognized immigration and citizenship status. The policy simply means that everyone, no matter what their immigration status, can use City facilities, programs and services without City staff asking questions about their status.

Fees and processes apply to all participants. There are no financial supports for this policy. All residents can apply to for the Parks & Recreation Financial Assistance Program and will not be asked for immigration status if they do. The City is committed to reducing barriers to participation.


*This policy applies to facilities, programs, and services provided by the City of New Westminster. It does not apply directly to the New Westminster Police Department. They have their own guidelines in support of the objectives of this policy, approved by the Police Board.
The Sanctuary City policy is an important part of the City’s promise to create a more inclusive community.

More information

For more information on the Sanctuary City process, visit the Be Heard New West engagement page.