‘Immigration Not Deportation’ – Migrant Worker Solidarity Picket

banner image immig not deporOn Thursday, June 19th, join us at 12pm at 316 Bloor West (Bloor and Spadina) at the headquarters of the Canada Food and Restaurants Association, an employer lobby group, to demand immigration not deportation for migrant workers. Actions are taking place at government and employer offices in Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and across Ontario.

Over the past few months, we have seen migrant workers increasingly vilified and painted as job stealers. Organizations from all stripes speak of migrant workers as a ‘short-term labour solution’ thus dehumanizing our friends and family members. Migrants and unemployed citizens are pitted against each other. The federal government, employers and their lobby associations work as one to keep workers’ lives difficult and dangerous. At the same time, the entire immigration system lurches towards temporariness.

An unjust ban has been placed on food sector workers, further taking away workers’ abilities to change jobs when faced with a bad employer. Migrants at the end of their contract, or those attempting to come to Canada and may have paid thousands of dollars to recruiters, are excluded.

We offer an alternate vision. Of permanent status, not temporary and dangerous work. Of higher wages, and equal rights and protections for all workers. We oppose federal panic policy making by press release. We oppose exploitative employer lobbies who paint themselves as defending the rights of migrant workers. The CFRA has been advocating against an increase in the minimum wage, and has been silent on increased provincial and federal protections for migrant workers.

As migrants and allies, we insist on the following three part solution:

* Short-term: The federal and provincial governments must ensure that migrant workers can exert their rights at work and have equal access to services. This means: open work permits, TFW specific anti-reprisal protections, no exclusion to social entitlements on the basis of citizenship and stronger labour legislation for all workers.
* Mid-term: Regularization of immigration status for all migrants in Canada.
* Long-term: Access to permanent residency for all migrants coming in to Canada, including workers in low-skilled occupations and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

This national day of action is coordinated by migrant justice groups across the country and organized in Toronto by the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC).