Migrants call on PM Trudeau to Unite Families, Welcome Migrants & Refugees on World Refugee Day & Fathers’ Day

Toronto, CANADA


MIGRANT RIGHTS NETWORK
MEDIA RELEASE

TORONTO, June 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Migrants, including refugees, care workers, farm workers, undocumented people and international students, are organizing rallies and celebrations in Vancouver, Toronto, Sudbury, Winnipeg and online today - World Refugee Day and Fathers’ Day - to call for full immigration status for all and family reunification.

COVID-19 has exposed long-standing problems with the immigration system with deadly consequences. 1 in 23 people in the country do not have permanent resident status and are therefore denied equal rights and protections. Despite repeated calls and promises for immediate action, the federal government continues to respond to this crisis with partial, piecemeal and inadequate policies that shut most migrants out, including refugees, undocumented people and migrants in essential sectors.

“Despite talk of being a ‘welcoming’ country and wanting to improve rights for migrant workers, Canada only accepted 25,000 refugees in 2020, a 50% reduction from the previous year. Existing ‘pathways’ and new temporary programs recently announced by the government continue to deny permanent status to the majority of migrants, particularly undocumented residents,” says Sarom Rho, organizer at the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change in Toronto. “We’ve had enough of PM Trudeau’s broken promises - migrants need full and permanent immigration status for all so that they can protect themselves.”

“Farm workers keep being applauded for the essential work they do, yet this government continues to exclude them from the full rights and protections they need and deserve. At least 13 farm workers have died already in 2021, the majority of them in federally regulated quarantine, and the government has done nothing to prevent these avoidable deaths. Families are being torn apart and the death toll is rising - when will the government act?” says Byron Cruz of Sanctuary Health in Vancouver.

“Migrant care workers continue to face abuse, job loss, and years-long waits for responses to their PR applications,” says Julie Diesta of the Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights. “The government’s ‘pathway’ programs, with their unfair language, education and work requirements, are traps that force care workers to stay with exploitative employers and leave them in limbo, separated from their families, for years. We are done waiting - we need full and permanent immigration status for all migrants now.”   

Details of actions

National media contact: Syed Hussan, hussan@migrantworkersalliance.org, 416-453-3632.

TORONTO: June 20, 2021, 1pm EST, 74 Victoria Street (Immigration and Refugee Board). Organized by Migrant Rights Network - Ontario.
Media contact: Rajean Hoilett, rajean@workersactioncentre.org, 289-923-3534

VANCOUVER: June 20, 2021, 10am PST, CBC Plaza (across from Immigration Enforcement offices). Organized by BC Migrants.
Media contact: Julie Diesta, Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights (CDWCR), 778-881-8345, cdwcr.org@gmail.com; Byron Cruz, Sanctuary Health Collective Vancouver, 604-315-7725, sanctuaryhealthvancouver@gmail.com

SUDBURY: June 20, 2021, 1pm EST, MP Marc Serrée Constituency office. 2914 Hwy 69 N, Unit 1, Val Caron. Organized by Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC).
Media contact: deMarie Bah Jean, education@sudburyworkerscentre.ca, 647-718-3464.

WINNIPEG: June 20, 2021, 4pm, Drive-by rally starting at the Legislative Grounds, 450 Broadway.

BACKGROUND

  • At least 1 in 23 people in Canada are migrants with temporary status and without full rights.
  • Migrants include people on various study, work or humanitarian permits, or without documentation at all.
  • Many migrants are excluded from healthcare, income support, and basic workplace protections. Many are separated from their families.
  • COVID-19 has shown that migrants cannot fully protect themselves because they cannot afford to lose their jobs and because speaking out about unsafe work, exploitation and poor housing conditions can result in deportation.
  • Canada has shut its doors to refugees during COVID-19. Only 18,500 people were able to apply in 2020 because of border closures, less than a third of the previous year’s total of 58,378 applications. The situation is worse in 2021, with only 2,245 people able to apply in the first three months of this year.
  • Canada jailed about half of all immigration detainees in maximum security provincial jails during COVID-19, up from about a fifth of detainees prior to the pandemic.
  • The newly announced TR to PR program denies migrants without work, who can’t qualify with English exams and don’t have temporary status thus excluding the majority: https://migrantrights.ca/disappointmentchaosreportpr/
  • Over 400 organizations, and tens of thousands of people have joined Migrant Rights Network’s call for full and permanent immigration status for all migrants: https://migrantrights.ca/status-for-all/.