March 4th. 1pm.
MP Joe Oliver’s Office. 511 Lawrence Ave. West.
Toronto – Migrant worker groups across Canada are speaking out against arbitrary time limits on low-waged workers. Mass deportations are expected as controversial regulations passed in 2011 start their impact on April 1st, 2015. Temporary Foreign Workers and Live-In Caregivers in low-waged jobs that have worked in Canada for four years will no longer be able to extend their permits and have to leave; those that stay will become undocumented.
“These regulations impose an artificial deadline on worker’s lives and relationships in Canada and enforce a revolving door immigration system,” says Tzazna Miranda Leal, Migrant Worker Organizer with the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. “The fact that these workers could hold down a job for four years, working 40-60 hours a week, proves that their labor is needed and that their jobs aren’t temporary. They deserve permanent status, not deportation.”
Liza Draman, a Live-In Caregiver organizer with the Caregivers Action Centre adds, “This 4 and 4 rule is a secretive backdoor to excludep Caregivers that are raising Canadian children and taking care of seniors. Its unfair, unjust and cruel.”
Approximately 60,000 caregivers are awaiting their permanent residency because of Immigration Canada’s backlog. As a result, many Caregivers, especially those who may have troubles at work, may not be able to get their open work permits within four years and may face deportation.
Senthil Thevar worked under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program in Canada and is deeply worried about these changes. “Workers like me paid thousands of dollars to come work in Canada. We work long hours, and often don’t even get minimum wage. Now they want to keep us for just four years, and then replace us. We are not chewing gum to be chewed and spat out.”
At least 70,000 workers currently in Canada, and approximately 50,000 entering each year will be impacted.
Deena Ladd from the Workers Action Centre adds, “This is not a solution for workers, employers or the economy. Workers lives will be less stable. Employers will be able to hire a new set of workers every four years who will know less about their rights, and will have to be trained at great cost. Together, this means an economy with greater turn-over, more temporary work and fewer rights.”
Actions are also taking place in Charlottetown, Edmonton, Guelph, Hamilton, Okanagan valley, Vancouver, Victoria. See full list: http://no4and4.tumblr.com/. Over 2,000 people have signed a petition athttps://www.change.org/p/stop-the-mass-deportation-of-thousands-of-immigrants-on-april-1st
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Campaign Against the 4 Year Limit on Migrant Workers is comprised of migrant worker groups and organizations that work directly with migrant workers across Canada. Members as of February 21, 2015 include Fuerza Puwersa (Guelph), Migrant Workers Alliance for Change*, Migrante Alberta, No One Is Illegal – Vancouver, Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (Okanagan Valley) and Sanctuary City Hamilton.
*Migrant Workers Alliance for Change includes Alliance of South Asian Aid Prevention (Toronto), Asian Community Aids Services (Ontario), Caregivers Action Centre (Ontario), Industrial Accident Victims’ Group of Ontario, Justicia for Migrant Workers (Ontario), KAIROS Canada, Legal Assistance of Windsor, Migrante Ontario, No One Is Illegal – Toronto, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Social Planning Toronto, UNIFOR (Canada), United Food and Commercial Workers (Canada), Workers United and the Workers’ Action Centre (Toronto)
Endorsers of Campaign Against the 4 Year Limit on Migrant Workers
- Canadian Labour Congress
- Cooper Institute – PEI
- Council of Canadians
- MigrantWorkerRights – Canada
- OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
- OPIRG – McMaster
- No One Is Illegal – Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories