Become a member

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC) is an organization for and by migrants. We are uniting to win rights at work and immigration justice. 

By becoming a member, you will learn more about your rights as a worker, have access to support, build your leadership skills and be part of our movement to ensure rights and justice for all. Members participate in monthly meetings, as well as online and in-person activities and become part of a supportive community of workers & friends. 

Members believe in building our collective power and being in solidarity with workers speaking up for justice anywhere in the world. See below for the list of responsibilities and benefits of becoming a member!

Membership Form

Member Responsibilities

  • Attend at least 6 out of 12 meetings per year (either in-person or online);
  • Receive regular communication and respond to them 
  • Participate in regular trainings, events and activities; 
  • Outreach to other workers, and invite them to be part of our movement; and 
  • Represent the collective voice of migrants and Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

Member Benefits

  • You join a community of migrant leaders fighting for change;
  • Get invited to special events and receive support from others in a similar situation;
  • Opportunities to speak to elected officials, decision-makers and the media;
  • Get priority support (attention) if you are facing problem or if you are being treated unfairly; 
  • Get free workshops and training on topics such as workplace rights; immigration issues; taxes and Employment Insurance; accessing health care and social support systems; and collective organizing 101.

Fund Migrant Worker Wage Theft Fightback

Every year, migrant farm and fishery workers face a grave injustice – tens of thousands of dollars in wages stolen by bad bosses. Trapped in a system of indentureship where speaking up means risking homelessness, poverty, deportation, and a ban from returning, workers rarely fight back. When they do – they are often denied their rights because they don’t have “evidence”.

Our Solution: Worker Rights Hand Book

We’re launching a Worker Rights Handbook and Video Series for migrants to know their rights, and gather evidence of exploitation.

Where your contribution will go

  • Legal Consultation: Ensuring workers have the best legal support when they speak up.
  • Video Development: Creating informative and empowering content,
  • Handbook Design: A comprehensive way to learn rights and track hours and wages.
  • Translation: Making our handbook available in many languages.
  • Distribution: Directly to migrants workers in farms and fish plants in rural communities across Canada.

Every dollar matters

  • $20,000: We will create and distribute the handbook with videos in English and Spanish to over 4,000 workers.
  • $40,000: We will add Thai, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Indigenous languages, and create additional videos.
  • $60,000: We will turn the handbook into an app that workers can use to gather evidence, learn their rights and connect with others.

To contribute

  • Via credit card: On this page
  • Interac: info@migrantworkersalliance.org
  • Cheque: Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, 720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 223, Toronto, ON M5S 2T9

Migrant Workers – You may be able to study now!

This information is up to date as for June 27, 2023. Please check back for updates

What was announced?
Temporary foreign workers with a “work permit” (see below for who may be excluded) that is valid on June 7, 2023, or temporary foreign workers with an expired work permit but who applied for an extension June 7, 2023, may be able to study for up to three years without a study permit.

What changed exactly? 
Until now, if you were on a work permit, you could only study for a course of up to 6 months. For courses  longer than 6 months, you would have to apply for a study permit. Now you will be able to study without a study permit until your work permit expires.

Does this change apply to refugees, post-graduate work permit holders or humanitarian applicants with valid work permits? 
It is not clear at this time. Please fill in your information below and we will let you know when more information is provided by the federal government.

Can I study full-time?
Yes, you are allowed to study full time. 

But the work experience you get while studying full time cannot be used for future immigration applications under Express Entry programs. If you study part-time, you will be able to count the full time work for your Express Entry applications. 

If you are applying under the HCCP or HSWP or for the Agri-Food Immigraiton Pilot, it is not clear if you can count work while you are studying full time (but you can count work while you are studying part time). Please fill in your information below and we will let you know when more information is provided by the federal government.

What is part-time study?
Schools have different definitions. Usually anything less than 4 or 5 courses per semester is considered part-time. Check with the school before enrolling. 

Can I start a full-year course if my work permit expires during the course?
We don’t know if you can start a course in September for one year (until September 2024), if your work permit expires in the middle (for example in November 2023). Please fill in your information below and we will let you know when more information is provided by the federal government.

Can I get accreditation for high-school equivalency or one-year post-secondary education in this way without applying for a study permit? 
It is possible. However, you must make sure that the school you are applying to will provide you a certification that you can use. You must make sure that you choose part-time or full-time based on whether you need to count the work experience, and when your work permit expires. 

Can I study online?
Yes, you can study online. 

  • For Post-Secondary education: The post-secondary education must be a “Designated Learning Institute”. Check here to see if the school is registered. Be careful, there are many “private colleges” that are not listed so make sure you check this list even if the school is large and you know other people that attend. 
  • For high-school accreditation: Make sure it is a provincial organization. For example, in Ontario, click here.

Do I have to pay international tuition fees?
Yes, you will have to pay international tuition fees, which is 3-4 times higher than domestic tuition fees.

What are the requirements to enroll at a college or university or to get a high school diploma?
Every college and university has different requirements. You should read their websites carefully to apply. Only trust the information that you read yourself. Do not trust the advice of education agents without checking yourself. 

Fill Out This Form For More Information

Migrant Caregivers Mother’s Day Picnic

Come and join other care workers like you in celebrating Mothers Day on Sunday, May 14 from 12 – 4pm at High Park for an afternoon filled with fun. Let share stories of struggles and make plans while sharing food, drinks and music. Bring your care worker friends. You can also bring your favorite food to share. We have a back-up location in case of rain.
When: Sunday, May 14, Mother’s Day
Location & Time: High Park @12 – 4 PM.

Bring your caregiver friends
Snacks, Games, Conversations
Let us know you will be there!

Migrant Care Workers: What is your main concern right now?

Are you a migrant care worker in Canada? We want to know what your current struggle is. We are gathering information to determine  what care worker issues to voice out to the government.

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (Formerly Caregivers Action Centre) is an organization that is led by current and former migrant care workers like you  and other migrants workers in farms, healthcare, fisheries and migrant students. We will use this information to learn how to better support migrant care workers in their demands . Personal details  you share is private and confidential and will not be shared to the government or employers.

This survey is only complete when you click “submit” at the bottom of the page. Please share this survey with your friends and other care workers. Call, text, or Whatsapp us if you have any questions at 416- 897-4388! 

Migrant Children Sketchbook of Drawings for #StatusForAll

We have created a sketchbook of evocative drawings by over 100 children of migrants separated from their families for decades, and from those fearing family separation because of possible deportations. We urge you to look carefully at the drawings. Share it with your family, friends and colleagues. Imagine the love that went into each drawing. Imagine the birthdays, the funerals, the anniversaries missed. Imagine the immense change that you can help create when you support regularization for all undocumented people and permanent resident status for all migrants. A fair society is only possible with equal rights; and equal rights are only possible if everyone has the same immigration status. Add your name to our petition at www.StatusForAll.ca

Read the press release from the pop-up art exhibition launch

All the answers: Changes to Caregiver Program Requirements

Program details will be announced closer to April 30, 2023. Enter your information and questions below and we will email you updates.

On February 10, 2023, Minister Sean Fraser announced that the amount of work experience in Canada required for a caregiver to qualify for permanent residence is being reduced from 24 months to 12 months.

In addition, some spaces under the existing caregiver pathways have been reserved for caregivers who already have work experience in Canada from a previous work permit so that they are able to apply for permanent residence.

The change will be effective as of April 30, 2023, and will be retrospective for caregivers who have already applied.

Enter your contact information and questions below and we will be in touch.

Petition: Stop mass deportations of Somali refugee youth

We are Qalid, Kaif, Hamza and Jamal. We are four of at least 100 young Somali refugees who are in crisis. We have been ruthlessly stripped of our Canadian permanent residency and citizenship. But we have an opportunity right now! Prime Minister Trudeau is creating a program called “regularization” for undocumented people like us. We need your support to make sure we are included. Read our story below and enter your information to send it as an email to all federal Ministers.

Stop Abu’s Deportation!

We can’t lose our people. Abu won his case on December 31, just hours before he was set to be deported. But he doesn’t have permanent resident status yet. Let’s continue the fight for Abu, and the 1.7 million migrant farmworkers, careworkers, current and former international students, refugees and undocumented people in the country who are denied equal rights. Sign the petition for PR status for all: https://migrantrights.ca/take-action/permanent-resident-status/

Please scroll below the first paragraph and wait a moment for the petition to load.

My name is Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal. I’m a former international student and I am facing deportation on January 1st because I couldn’t pay my high tuition fees. Please support me by sending a message to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. You can read more of my story below.

Abu’s story

I came to Canada when I was 19 years old from Bangladesh, as a migrant student to study in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I was not able to renew my study permit because of high international tuition fees. Tuition fees have increased over the pandemic, and when migrant students like me can’t pay, we get punished.

As a migrant student, I had to take jobs with bad working conditions, but couldn’t speak up because of my status. Employers didn’t pay me my wages and I got unfairly treated at work. I feel like we’re on a leash, like we are disposable human beings with an expired date. 

I applied for permanent residency 18 months ago, but it still has not been processed. Immigration Canada approved me for temporary status, but I am still facing deportation. 

Because of this crisis, I had to rely on a local church and I wasn’t sure where my next meal was coming from. I am now 23 years old, it feels like my life is on hold.

But I have not been quiet. On November 14, 2022, I drove 15 hours to go to Ottawa from Thunder Bay to meet with Immigration Minister Sean Fraser. I reminded the Minister that Prime Minister Trudeau promised to give status to all undocumented people. Prime Minister Trudeau must deliver on his promise, he must deliver a regularization program without caps and without exclusions, and status for all, without delay. 

Please add your name to my petition calling for a stop to my deportation, and full and permanent immigration status for all migrant and undocumented people. 

You can read more about me in the Toronto Star here: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2022/11/12/this-is-our-only-hope-undocumented-migrants-risk-arrest-to-make-their-case-in-ottawa.html 

Family open work permits for spouses & kids

This is the most updated information we have about family work permits written for migrants in Canada.

Not all the rules have been announced. Immigration Canada is supposed to release the rules (called the public policy) – we will update this page when that information is released. 

Here’s what we know as of 5pm on Wednesday, February 8, 2023. You must meet the qualifications in ALL of the sections below.

This program is for OPEN WORK PERMITS only for SPOUSES/COMMON LAW PARTNERS and WORKING AGE CHILDREN who are dependents. 

(1) PERMIT LENGTH AND VALIDITY

  • You may be able to apply for a work permit for a spouse or a common law partner, and dependent children if you have a valid work permit or authorization to work that is valid for six (6) more months when you apply for a family work permit. 
  • Note that study permit holders can apply for their families to join them if they are studying at a public post-secondary institution. Click here for details. 

(2) TYPES OF WORK PERMITS OR IMMIGRATION STATUS THAT ARE ELIGIBLE

You may be able to apply on the basis of a work permit, if you fit in ONE of the categories listed here:

  1. You have a valid work permit in the high-waged worker stream of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (to see if you are high-waged or low-waged, you must check your Labour Market Impact Assessment). 
  2. You have an open work permit that was issued because you applied for permanent resident status as 
    1. federal skilled worker class (FSWC)
    2. Canadian experience class (CEC)
    3. federal skilled trades class (FSTC)
    4. caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class IF YOU APPLIED BEFORE June 18, 2019
    5. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) for applicants for whom there are no employer restrictions on nominations
    6. Agri-Food Pilot (AFP)
    7. Quebec skilled worker class (QSWC)

(3) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

You must additionally meet ALL of the the following requirements:

  1. You are living or plan to live in Canada while working.
  2. You can prove that you are in a genuine relationship with your spouse or common law partner for at least 1 year. 
  3. If you are sponsoring your children, you must prove that they are your dependents
  4. If you are sponsoring your children they must be of working age in the province or territory (check provincial Ministry of Labour website). 
  5. If your spouse or children are in Canada, they either 
    1. Have a valid temporary resident status.
    2. Have applied to extend your status before it expired (maintained status).
    3. Or are eligible to restore your status.

WHO IS EXCLUDED? AND WHAT DO WE NOT KNOW? 

Information updated at 5:30pm on Monday, January 30, 2023 changed the information that was provided as of January 29, 2023. As of 5pm on February 8, 2023, the following people are excluded:

  • Seasonal Agricultural Workers (8 month contracts or less) and other workers in the Primary Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (1+ year contracts). 
  • All low-wage workers in the Temporary Foreign Workers Program are excluded unless:
    • You have a work permit issued because you applied for PR in the Economic Streams (see point 2Bd above)
  • Refugee claimants or refused refugee claimants who have a work permit issued under R206 exemption from an LMIA.
  • All migrants without a valid work permit are excluded.

Migrant fishery workers, care workers, and others are therefore excluded. This is different from the information provided on January 29, 2023.

We still do not know if the following migrants are included or excluded:

  • Open work permits for vulnerable workers
  • Low-wage stream workers but who are now in a high-wage job (TEER 1, 2, or 3). 

We must immediately and quickly organize and speak up to say that all families are equal, and that all migrants must be with our families. The government has said they will do a consultation about migrant agricultural workers, but they have not said anything about low-wage workers like fishery workers and care workers. 

SEND US A MESSAGE NOW IF YOU WANT TO ORGANIZE AND TAKE ACTION! 

  • Migrant Care Workers/ Health Care Workers: 647-782-6633
  • Migrant Students: 647-858-2854
  • Migrant Fishery Workers: 506-251-7467
  • Migrant Farm Workers: 905-324-2840

HOW TO APPLY

You must apply for your open work permit online, unless you are in one of the following categories. The applications are different based on if you are inside Canada or not. Click here to create an account and start your application.

In addition, you must also provide the following information: 

  • If you are sponsoring spouses and common-law partners
    • a copy of your marriage certificate
    • a declaration of your common-law relationship
  • If you are sponsoring dependents:
    • a birth certificate
    • adoption papers
  • A copy of your work permit OR the visitor record with expiry date showing that you’re authorized to work without a work permit with expiry date (for 6 months after the date of application)
  • Proof that the principal foreign worker can work in Canada for 6 months after the date that the family member submits their work permit
    • a copy of the work permit with expiry date
    • a copy of a the visitor record with expiry date showing that you’re authorized to work without a work permit
  • Proof of work 
    • A letter or contract from your current employer (for open work permit holders, such as PGWP or International Experience Canada)

You will have to upload multiple documents in the same field online. Click here to see how


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We will be updating this section all day. If you have questions, please contact us on our hotlines. 

  1. So what’s changed?
    • Post graduate work permit holders or other work permit holders through International Experience Canada can now apply for open work permits for their spouses even if they do not have a high-wage job in TEER 1, 2 or 3. 
    • High-wage temporary foreign workers, and those with open work permits under HCCP/HSWP were already able to apply for work or study permits for their families.
  2. Who are dependent children? 
    • Dependent children are those under 22 years old (on the date of application) and do not have a spouse or partner
    • Children who are 22 or older can qualify as dependents if they have depended on their parents for financial support since before they were 22 AND can’t financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition
  3. My permit was initially for longer than 6 months, but is now currently less than 6 months until it expires. Can I apply?
    • As per the information only released at 5:30pm on January 30, 2023, you will not be able to apply.
  4. What is the processing time? 
    • It varies by country and whether you are applying from outside or inside Canada. To check times, click here
  5. What will the length of the permit be issued to family members? 
    • We don’t know yet.
  6. Can you apply for small children-as old as 3 years old and how?
    • You cannot apply for a work permit for children as old as 3 years old, but you can apply for a visitor’s visa to unite with family members here.  
    • If you have children who are under 18 or 19 years old (depending on the province), and you have a valid study or work permit, you may be able to apply for a study permit for them as long as you meet the requirements. Click here for more details.
  7. What if I have implied status? 
    • Your work permit must be valid for six more months. So implied status is excluded. 

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is an organization of migrants. We are not part of the government, and we are not immigration consultants or agencies. You will not be charged any fees for this information, and your information will not be be shared with anyone.

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