18 December 2017
International Migrants Day: Calling for access to permanent residence and family unity
This International Migrant’s Day, migrant workers in Canada are still waiting for the federal government to take action to protect their basic rights. With only temporary status in Canada, and legally tied to a specific employer, migrant workers are frequently subject to abuse and exploitation, and in several appalling cases, human trafficking.
The CCR recommends access to permanent residence for all migrant workers. Despite ongoing and long-term demand for these workers, participants in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program still have no access to permanent residence at the federal level. Precarious immigration status is at the root of their vulnerability to abuse. Increasingly, employer and industry groups have joined the calls for workers to have access to permanent residence.
Workers of all skill levels and their families are of value not only to the Canadian economy, but also to Canadian society. The Canadian government should stop the unfair and discriminatory practice of promoting temporary labour migration to fill permanent low-skilled positions, while those coming in “high-skilled” occupations have access to permanent residence and are not separated from their families.
The CCR recommends family unity. Workers participating in these programs are separated from their families for years at a time, since they are prohibited from bringing their families with them to Canada. This results in serious mental health challenges, and has lasting impacts on many families. All families have equal value, and no families should be torn apart by government policy.
Following the spring 2016 parliamentary review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the CCR looked forward to reforms of the program, which are overdue. The CCR welcomes the consultations that were carried out recently by Employment and Social Development Canada, and calls on the government to move quickly to introduce real and substantive changes to protect the rights of migrant workers in Canada.
For more information: ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-workers