In the News
Migrant Workers Take Action
Extend Permanent Residency Status to All Those Who Grow Our Food
– National Farmers Union –
On January 12, Canada’s National Farmers Union (NFU) issued a statement saying it stands “in solidarity with all migrant workers” and calls upon the Canadian government to “extend permanent residency status to all those who grow our food.”
The NFU recalls the federal government’s Temporary Policy announced in April 2021 to enable up to 90,000 essential workers already in Canada to apply for permanent residency under a streamlined set of eligibility requirements.
“Agricultural workers were eligible to apply under Stream B, with an intake cap of 30,000, along with 94 other non-health care ‘essential’ occupation categories. The cap accounted for only half of the 60,000 temporary foreign workers who arrive every year to perform skilled labour in Canada’s agricultural sector. Overwhelming demand meant that within two months the quota for Stream B was met and the application period closed.”
The NFU states that requiring migrant agricultural workers to compete with the thousands of others who lack permanent resident status “is divisive and unjust.”
The barriers migrant workers face with regard to eligibility and access to the government’s temporary permanent residency policy are listed in the statement. These include the equivalent of one year of full-time work experience within the last three years; completed English/French Language proficiency tests; and the minimum of $1,135 in application fees.
“As war, climate change, and economic policies continue to displace millions around the globe, Canada needs to ensure its immigration and citizenship policies are timely, equitable, fair, and just,” the NFU points out.
“We should definitely be meeting or exceeding the government’s goal of welcoming 411,000 new immigrants in 2022. But why not start by welcoming the estimated one in 23 people in Canada who lack permanent status but who already learn, live, and work in the country?” it asks.
Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser is called upon “to go beyond last spring’s temporary policy and create a permanent residency program that grants basic rights of citizenship to all migrant farm workers.”
“Rather than have different types of workers compete for limited permanent residency spots, we urge the recently re-elected government to create a permanent, designated pathway for National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes specific to farming. Hailed as heroes during the pandemic, migrant farm workers should not be treated as expendable and replaceable by our immigration policies,” the NFU’s statement concludes.
To read the full statement, click here.
1. For information on other eligible essential occupations listed in federal government’s policy click here.
(Workers’ Forum, posted January 26, 2022)