A fair society is only possible when everyone has equal rights; and equal rights are only possible if everyone has the same immigration status.
Toronto – Hundreds of migrants including undocumented people, farmworkers, domestic workers, current and former international students and refugees will be joined by supporters outside the Hamilton Convention Centre in Ontario at noon on Monday, January 23, 2023 where the winter federal Cabinet Ministers retreat is taking place. Migrants are gathering to demonstrate support for a life-altering uncapped and inclusive regularization program through which an estimated half a million undocumented people and their families will get permanent resident status; as well as calling for permanent resident status for all migrants.
Prime Minister Trudeau promised regularization of undocumented people and permanent resident status for migrant workers and international students on December 16, 2021 following decades of mobilization by migrants, but Cabinet has still not made a final decision. Exploitation, abuse and deportation continues in the meantime.
TORONTO – 10am, Monday, January 23, 2023, 720 Spadina Avenue.
HAMILTON – 12pm, Monday, January 23, 2023, Outside Hamilton Convention Centre, Meet at Hamilton City Hall
- VISUALS: Buses departing from Toronto and arriving in Hamilton; large banners; migrants, families and supporters
WHO: Migrants, including those facing deportation, community leaders and organizers will be available for comment
- Migrant Rights Network proposal for regularization: https://migrantrights.ca/resources/regularization-in-canada/
- Comprehensive regularization (a program that includes all 500,000 undocumented people without caps or exclusions) will address a historic wrong; improve working conditions by giving migrants the power to protect themselves; guarantee public health; and add at least $1.1 billion dollars to the public purse through contributions by employers who currently don’t pay taxes.
- While statistics have not been released, migrant organizations have all reported a sharp increase in detentions and deportations in 2022. In fiscal year 2020-2021, Canada deported an average of 31 people each day. An undocumented migrant died in Surrey immigration prison on Christmas Day.
- 2022 is set to become the year with the highest number of temporary work and study permits, without any increase in access to permanent rights for low-waged migrants. Over 853,000 work and study permits were issued January – September, 2022.
- There are at least 1.2 million people in Canada on temporary work, study or refugee claimant permits issued in Canada each year. Those in low-waged work in particular have no access to permanent residency so eventually they are forced to either leave or stay in the country undocumented. As a result, there are over 500,000 undocumented people in the country.
- That is, there are at least 1.7 million migrants – 1 in 23 residents in Canada – who do not have equal rights.
- Migrants are excluded from healthcare and social services and cannot unite with their families. Lack of permanent resident status makes it difficult, and often impossible, for migrants to speak up for their rights at work or access services, including those they may be eligible for, because of a well-founded fear of reprisals, termination, eviction and deportation.
- Migrants – mostly low-waged, racialized, working class people – are deemed essential but are excluded from rights. Thousands of migrants lost their lives and livelihoods in COVID-19 while working in farms, long-term care homes, construction, cleaning, and delivery work.
- Every migrant-led organization in Canada, as well as over 480 civil society organizations, are jointly calling for full and permanent immigration status for all migrants in the country, as well as permanent resident status for all on arrival in future.
- Canada recently announced an immigration target of 465,000 for permanent resident status in 2023, but less than 8,000 of those are available for low-waged migrants like seasonal agricultural workers and careworkers. In addition to low numbers, program requirements make it impossible for most to apply.
- Over 24,000 people have sent messages to Cabinet in support of permanent resident status for all: www.StatusforAll.ca
Media contact: Syed Hussan, 416-453-3632, hussan@migrantworkersalliance.