Trudeau Government Must Grant Status to Asylum Seekers and Migrant Health Care Workers

In a video posted online on May 6, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau saluted the Haitian community, saying "throughout Quebec, doctors, nurses, orderlies and many other health care workers of Haitian origin are standing up, day and night, bravely fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.... We are working to protect you, just as you are working to protect us."

On May 7, Haitian Dialogue for Migrants (CHPM) and the organization Stand Up for Dignity sent two open letters to the Trudeau government in which they stress that the first thing that is needed to protect these workers is to regularize the status of many of them. It is well known that many people of Haitian origin, along with others, work as care attendants in very difficult conditions. Moreover, the fact that many of them are refugees makes them more vulnerable to blackmail and threats. "These people bring us their skills, dedication and dignity in exceptional conditions to help us fight this pandemic while risking their own health and that of their families. Many of them have been near death and have lost colleagues. It is hard to imagine that our guardian angels could be deported from the country as soon as the battle is won," says the CHPM, adding that a special immigration program could be set up to regularize the status of these workers and their families.

Stand Up for Dignity notes, "These refugees are a gold mine for rapacious employment agencies. They are the cannon fodder for our health care system in this pandemic context. ...Why should they continue to live with the uncertainty of their precarious status? Why should their children continue to be excluded from subsidized child care? Why can they not have the same protections as other workers when they are injured on the job?"

On May 9, the organization posted an online petition in support of migrants and refugees working in the health care field, calling on the Trudeau government "to end their torment by granting them permanent residency as they respond with their presence and their heart to this call for humanity for COVID-19 patients. We call on the Prime Minister to show humanity towards these humanitarian workers by concretely recognizing their contribution by regularizing their migratory status, which will facilitate their de facto inclusion and integration."

The petition can be signed here.

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 17 - May 16, 2020

Article Link:
Trudeau Government Must Grant Status to Asylum Seekers and Migrant Health Care Workers


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