David Suzuki, Labour, Health, Refugee and Climate Organizations Unite to Call for Status for All

When Parliament returns Trudeau must deliver on his promise

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over 200 organizations representing millions of people in Canada have joined forces behind migrant and undocumented actions taking place in 15 cities across Canada this weekend on the eve of Parliament’s return (details for each action below). The groups are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to deliver on his promise to provide permanent status and equal rights for all migrants in Canada. It has been twenty months since Prime Minister Trudeau gave mandate letter instructions to provide permanent resident status for undocumented people, migrant workers, students, and families. This commitment has since been reiterated repeatedly by multiple elected officials and civil servants in government media statements, in Parliamentary committees and in meetings with migrant-led movements. Hundreds of thousands of people in Canada suffer from poverty, fear, and exploitation because they are denied permanent resident status. Migrants care for grandparents and children, work in factories, keep our hospitals running, and build homes, but they are excluded from the same rights that others in Canada take for granted.

This weekend’s actions are endorsed by over 200 organizations including major labour bodies like Unifor and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE); environmental groups like Climate Action Network, Greenpeace and David Suzuki Foundation; faith bodies like the United Church of Canada; health organizations like Canadian Doctors for Medicare and Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and human rights groups like Oxfam Canada and dozens of immigrant and refugee rights organizations.

“We live in fear. We are hopeless sometimes. I have been spat at, pushed, abused and denied fairness at work but I can’t leave because I am undocumented and no one else will hire me. I am a personal support, I worked to save so many people in COVID-19. My mother is sick, I haven’t seen her in six years, and I think I may never see her again unless we get permanent resident status for all like prime minister Justin Trudeau promised twenty months ago. We want status for all so we can all live a complete and equal life.”
Jane, undocumented, Migrant Rights Network

"The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) will continue fighting for fairness and justice for migrants. These workers and their families contribute greatly to the economy and society and deserve pathways to security and permanency. Many live and work in fear of detection, detainment and deportation. Their status also makes them vulnerable to workplace exploitation and abuse. Today, the CLC expresses its continued support for migrants in the fight for their rights and freedoms."
Siobhán Vipond, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress

"The people of The United Church of Canada hold the belief that we are called to love and show hospitality to everyone in our midst. We believe in the dignity of creation and of God's loving grace and its equitable expressions. We also believe that love for the whole community of creation is a universal value, shared by all peoples of the world. It is these beliefs that drive us to call on Canada to ensure equal rights for all by extending permanent residence to 1.7 million migrants, including 500,000 undocumented migrants who bring their whole selves and skills to their new lives on this land. Status for All will benefit Canada greatly, enhance the diversity of our country and ensure that all people in our country are able to live with dignity and access their inherent human rights."
Rev. Dr. Jennifer Henry, Executive Minister, The United Church of Canada

"The Canadian Health Coalition supports regularizing the immigration status of a half million people because it would lift up Canada's public health care system in three important ways. First, so many temporary and undocumented residents are trained health care professionals who want to fill the staffing shortages from home care to hospital emergency rooms in our communities. Not having permanent residency status restricts where people can work. Second, not having permanent residency status denies migrants the right to health care. Nell Tousssaint, who lost her status to stay in the country after experiencing employer abuse, brought Canada to court for denying her essential health care because of her status. She died far too young due to not having timely access to health care. Finally, by denying public health care to certain groups of people, we further kick open the door to privatization when we should be shutting it. Let's regularize the immigration status of people to stop private interests from profiting from vulnerable populations. It supports Canada's dream of Medicare to give all of us accessible and comprehensive public health care."
Steve Staples, National Director, Canadian Health Coalition

“As a grandson of immigrants, I know the sting of discrimination as my Canadian born parents and I were denied all rights of citizenship during World War II, incarcerated for three years then expelled from British Columbia at war’s end. The exploitation of migrants today is simply a consequence of the continuing racism on which this nation was founded. I am ashamed that the county hasn’t been able to transcend this legacy.”
David Suzuki

“The federal government committed almost two years ago to regularize the status of a range of vulnerable migrant populations who are living, working and contributing to Canadian society without access to permanent residence —from seasonal workers to caregivers to those fleeing persecution and exploitation. The silence on this file is now deafening. Our 200 members see how every day of continued precarity for these individuals perpetuates a two-tiered society and leaves many migrants —generally racialized and largely women— without access to their rights. It’s past time for status for all.”
Gauri Sreenivasan, Co-Executive Director, Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR)

"This summer's accelerating climate disasters have taken an especially heavy toll on migrants - who play an essential role to feed us, take care of us, and, most importantly, are valued members of our communities. As Canada continues to pour fuel on the fire of the global climate crisis, which is displacing more and more people from their homes, Status for All is a matter of climate justice. Politicians have waited long enough. The moment to act on a historic and pragmatic opportunity to better thousands of lives is now."
Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada

Migrant Rights Network Actions in Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Montreal, Ottawa, St Catharines, St Johns, Sudbury, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse and Winnipeg.

EDMONTON, AB: September 17, 1:00 PM, Alberta Legislature
Media Contact: Clarizze Truscott, Migrante Alberta, 780-716-5284

HALIFAX, NS: September 15, 11:30am, MP Andy Fillmore’s office, 1888 Brunswick Street
Media Contact: Stacey Gomez, No one is illegal - Nova Scotia, (902) 329-9595

HAMILTON, ON: September 17, 1:30pm, MP Filomena Tassi's Office, 1686 Main St W
Media Contact: Monika Dutt, Justice for Workers - Hamilton, 905-818-5978

KINGSTON, ON: September 17, 11am, MP Gerretsen’s office, 841 Princess Street
Media Contact: Sayyida Jaffer, Migrant Justice YGK, (613) 539-8594

LONDON, ON: September 17, 1pm, Victoria Park - North-West entrance
Media Contacts: Sam Kaplun, Democratic Socialists of Canada, (416) 312-2671; David Heap, People for Peace London, (519) 859-3579.

MONTREAL, QC: September 17, 2pm, Minister Millers’ office, 3175 Rue Saint-Jacques
Media Contact: Solidarity Across Borders, 514-809-0773

OTTAWA, ON: September 16, 11am, Parliament Hill
Media Contact: Emilio Rodriguez, Citizens for Public Justice, 343-996-4199

ST CATHARINES, ON: September 17, 2pm, MP Chris Bittle's Office, 61 Geneva Street
Media Contact: David Tulloch, 905-380-6133, Justice for Workers - Niagara

ST JOHN’S, NL: September 24, 4pm, Harbourside Park
Media Contact: Adi Khaitan, Migrant Action Centre, 709-693-6032

SUDBURY, ON: September 17, 1pm, Memorial Park
Media Contact: Scott Florence, Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre, 705-470-3323

TORONTO, ON: September 17, 2pm, Bloor & Yonge
Media Contact: Rajean Hoilett, Migrant Right Network - Ontario, 289-923-3534

VANCOUVER, BC: September 17, 4pm, CBSA HQ, 300 West Georgia Street
Media Contact: Byron Cruz, Sanctuary Health Vancouver Collective (SH), (604) 315-7725, Julie Diesta, Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights (CDWCR), (778) 881-8345, WeiChun Kua, Migrant Students United at SFU, (778) 887-4936

VICTORIA, BC: September 17, 11am, BC Legislature
Media Contact: Pamela Charron, Worker Solidarity Network, 705-698-6380

WHITEHORSE, YT: September 15, 12-3pm, 308 Hanson St, Whitehorse
Media Contact: Jess Dorward, Yukon Status of Women Council, 867-332-5541

WINNIPEG: September 17, 3pm, City Hall
Media Contact: Damon, No One Is Illegal Treaty One, 431-293-6534

About Migrant Rights Network
Migrant Rights Network is Canada’s largest coalition of migrant-led organizations, with nearly 40 members in 8 provinces and territories. To see our list of members, please visit www,migrantrights.ca/about

Cross-Country Media Contact:
Syed Hussan, Migrant Rights Network Secretariat, 416-453-3632, hussan@migrantworkersalliance.org