The Canadian government recently announced it would be increasing immigration targets to help speed Canada’s economic recovery. While that may seem like good news to some, it ignores that we are going through an immigration crisis that is a result of our unfair and discriminatory immigration laws. COVID-19 has made the existing situation even worse.
At least 1 in 23 people in Canada (over 1.6 million) are non-permanent residents. Thousands of migrants have gotten COVID-19, many have died because they are excluded from universal healthcare, access to emergency income supports, and decent work. Many are separated from their families.
Behind Closed Doors: Exposing Migrant Care Worker Exploitation During COVID19 is an explosive new report created by The Caregivers’ Action Centre, The Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights, Caregiver Connections, Education and Support Organization, and The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.
The report highlights the injustice in the system, and documents and reveals the truth about migrants workers who are unable to fully protect themselves during COVID-19 because of lack of emergency support, and because speaking out about unsafe work and housing conditions can result in deportation, homelessness, or not being able to return. Undocumented workers are still being exploited and forced to work during the pandemic by their employer and not even being paid for the extra hours. Those who were able to keep their job, are keeping and being controlled at home by their employer outside of the workday. Most of those who lost their job are afraid to leave the country to go back to their family because of the fear of not being able to come back and lose their temporary status. On top of all that, they are denied or barely have access to basic healthcare due to either lack of money or lack of time cause.
We can’t ignore the government efforts to solve the issue, but the only way we can fix the matter once and for all is: STATUS FOR ALL! This includes:
- Healthcare for all (regardless of valid health card)
- Ensure family Unity (Spouses, children and other close family members should be allowed to come to Canada to accompany workers, with open work and study permits of their own)
- Labour rights (increase of living wage, paid sick days, Remove the requirement for a valid SIN for emergency income support, etc.)
The Migrant Workers Networks also recommended the creation of the Federal Workers Program, an organization that, among other mission, would “support a proactive, systematic approach to delivering quality care through a new National Care Strategy developed by all levels of government to deliver public, universal, accessible, licensed, dignified child care, elder care and care for people with disabilities”
To call attention to the report, the Migrant Rights Network co-ordinate a cross-country day of action regarding Migrant Workers situation this past November 1. Actions were held in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Niagara, Sherbrooke, Halifax, and right here in Sudbury. In the wet and the snow, sleet and the wind, brave souls stood together in Bell Park to share stories of personal injustices, systemic issues, and to call for Status for All.
The conversation is not over. Join us on Thursday, November 5th at 6:30pm, for our upcoming webinar Know Your Rights at Work- Newcomer and Migrant Workers Edition. Whether you are here on a work permit, as a refugee, or as an international student, you need to know about your rights at work. Join us to learn how to protect yourself, and more importantly, learn that you are not alone. We stand with all our migrant workers in support and solidarity. Together we will win!
Registration required for the event: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4786698993159211791
deMarie Bah Jean