Actions Affirm Rights of Migrant Workers on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Edmonton, March 19, 2023
On the weekend of March 18-19, hundreds of migrant workers, refugees and undocumented workers and their allies took part in actions across Canada to demand Status for All Without Exceptions! Rallies and marches were held in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara, Sudbury, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. The actions were organized by the Migrant Rights Network.
The focus of the rallies and marches was to get the Trudeau government to make good on its 2021 promise in the mandate letter to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser in 2021 to "further explore ways of regularizing status for undocumented workers who are contributing to Canadian communities," and to do so before Parliament recesses for the summer.
Migrant workers and workers without status, including many who have lived here for years, addressed the rallies and provided testimony highlighting the daily hardships they face as a result of having no status in Canada. Migrant workers spoke of their exploitation and abuse at the hands of unscrupulous employers who force them to work long hours for low wages and without benefits. They spoke about the daily terror of having the threat of deportation hanging over their heads. They decried the living and working conditions to which they and their families are subjected because of Canada's racist immigration policy that denies them basic health care and other social benefits, and treats them as disposable.
Over and over the point was made that
migrant workers are essential workers in Canada, part of the Canadian
working class, and it is not acceptable that there be a hierarchy of
rights. Everyone must have the right to health care, education,
security at work and protection against super-exploitation by
employers. They affirmed the rights that belong to them by virtue of
being human, that Canada is duty bound to uphold, and that it must
regularize the status of all migrant workers now.
(Photos: WF, MRN, Migrante Alberta, Solidaires sans Frontières)
This article was published in
Number 18 - April 3, 2023