Friends and colleagues at migrant rights organizations are calling again on the Liberals to agree to a broad and inclusive regularization program. I and my colleagues fully support this call.
Regularization provides individuals who don’t have a recognized immigration status with legal status again.
More and more workers in Canada have temporary and precarious immigration status. In 2000, there were 111,000 people holding work permits, and in 2021 there were 777,000. This is seven times as many and this is not acceptable.
Temporary and precarious immigration status make workers vulnerable to exploitation by employers. In many cases, workers are tied to a single employer who has power over the worker’s ability to stay in Canada.
Those with a temporary status often lose their status for minor reasons. Here are some that I have seen happen in our community in Winnipeg Centre:
- Submitting an application to renew a work permit missing one document or paying the wrong fee amount.
- Being unable to renew a foreign passport during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Having a mental health crisis during post-secondary studies and being unable to maintain a full-time course load.
Although some people are able to restore their status, it often means many months without income, which has serious long-term financial impacts. Others are never able to regain their status.
There are also those who have made refugee claims that aren’t accepted but have become part of our community for many years. They have children in schools in our community, they work and volunteer here, yet they are at risk of being deported to their home countries, even after making significant positive contributions.
Without status, people are unable to live in dignity and to access their rights, including essential health care. These rights are affirmed in both domestic and international law. Children of those without status don’t receive the Canada Child Benefit, even when those children are Canadian citizens. Leaving children in poverty because of their or their parents’ immigration status is wrong.
Granting permanent resident status for all will help all workers in Canada, by lifting the floor on low-wage work.
I call on the Liberals to fulfill the mandate to regularize undocumented people in Canada and leave no-one behind. #statusforall