Newly launched Coalition for Migrant Worker Rights – Canada calls for end to discrimination against migrant workers. Press conferences in:
· Charlottetown – 200 Richmond Street, 11am, Oct 28, 2015.
· Edmonton – 14931 107 Avenue, 3:30pm, Oct 28, 2015.
· Montreal – I.W.C, 4755 Van Horne, 10am, Oct 28, 2015.
· Toronto – Suite 223, 720 Spadina, 11am, Oct 28, 2015.
· Vancouver – 550 W 6th Avenue #100, 9am, Oct 28, 2015.
Online petition at www.migrantrights.ca
October 28, 2015, Canada – Migrant worker groups from across Canada are launching a historic coalition today to call on Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to end the discriminatory practice of tying migrant workers to specific employers and transition towards permanent immigration status upon arrival for migrant workers. The Coalition for Migrant Workers Rights – Canada (CMWRC) is launching MoVE – a campaign for Mobility, Voice and Equality for Migrant Workers to call on Prime Minister Trudeau to keep his campaign promises to undo the harm done by the Harper government and to move towards a single-tier immigration system based on permanency and family reunification to ensure decent work for all.
Low-waged migrant workers are restricted to only working for the specific employer listed on their work permit. Changing employers is extremely difficult. This allows bad bosses to lower salaries and hold workers hostage to poor working conditions and threaten deportation when workers speak out. These practices lower standards for everyone in the labour market. A first step to ending this downward cycle is to untie work permits so workers have the ‘mobility’ to leave employers who exploit them. The next step must be to reorient the system towards secure, permanent immigration that protects ‘voice’ and ‘equality’.
“If we are still under the closed work permit, we feel so small, we are scared. We can’t raise our voice louder,” says Mariyah Fitriyanti, a Live-In Caregiver who recently transitioned from a closed permit to an open permit. “I have an open work permit now. Open work permit is good for us. We can change the employer without them abusing us further. With the open work permit, we feel free.”
“Mr. Trudeau has promised real change, and an immigration system that welcomes and values all of us and that means untied work permits and permanent immigration status upon landing,” adds Senthil Thevar, who was a Temporary Foreign Worker in Ontario.
“Over the past decade, deep changes were made to Canada’s immigration system that bring migrant workers into the country with temporary status under conditions that predictably leave them vulnerable to exploitation by employers and recruiters,” says labour and human rights lawyer Fay Faraday. “Tied work permits, mandatory removal after four years and lack of pathways to permanent status drive real precariousness for migrant workers. There is an opportunity now for a fresh start to rebuild the system on principles of security, decent work and permanence.”
“Workers across Canada are facing precarious, low-wage jobs and tough economic times,” says Naveen Mehta, UFCW Canada’s general counsel, and director of human rights. “Too often we have blamed immigrants for unemployment in these times of economic downturn. Justin Trudeau can put forward a positive decent job agenda that raises standards for all workers, and end the arbitrary exclusion of migrant workers.”
· Regulatory changes to make it easier for migrant workers to move between jobs thereby improving working and living conditions for Canadian born and migrant workers. Specifically:
o Transition from tied work permits to open work permits
o Remove limits on work permits and restrictions on Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) including a 4-year time limit on workers ability to stay.
· Permanent resident immigration status upon arrival for migrant workers.
WHO: Founding members of CMWRC:
● Cooper Institute (PEI)
● Migrant Workers Alliance for Change*
● Migrante Canada
● Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (Okanagan Valley)
● Temporary Foreign Workers Association in Quebec
● Temporary Foreign Workers Coalition in Alberta
● Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregiver Rights
Charlottetown – Josie Baker, Cooper Institute, 902-894-4573
Edmonton – Dhon Mojica, Migrante Canada, 780-716-3809
Montreal – ATTET Quebec <email@example.com>
Vancouver – Jane Ordinario, MIGRANTE-BC, 604-961-7794; Julie Diesta, Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers & Caregivers Rights, 778-881-8345; Natalie Drolet, West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association, 604-445-0661