Liberal TFWP plan not a solution to Tory mess

Toronto – The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC), Canada’s largest migrant worker coalition, believes that the 5-point demands issued by the Liberal Party of Canada on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) fail to respond to the needs of migrant workers or the Canadian labour market. Discussions on the TFWP must include the voices of migrant workers. MWAC calls for the following short, medium and long-term steps:

  • Short term: The Federal and provincial governments must ensure that migrant workers can exert their rights at work. This means: open work permits, TFW specific anti reprisal protections, equal access to social entitlements and strengthening labour legislation for all workers
  • Medium term: Full immigration status for migrant workers in Canada as we justly transition to a long term solution;
  • Long term: Permanent immigration status for all migrants coming into Canada, including workers in low-skilled occupations and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

“The Liberal plan fails to recognize that it is provincial and federal laws together that work to make migrants a second-class category of workers that are then pitted against unemployed citizens and permanent residents,” explains Tzazna Miranda Leal, organizer with Justice for Migrant Workers, member organization of MWAC. “The solution is to simply remove those exclusions from labour protections for all workers, thus making migrant workers and unemployed citizens allies in the fight for better jobs and stronger communities.”

Vinay Sharma, Human Rights Director for UNIFOR, Canada’s largest private sector union and MWAC member adds, “Once the provinces and the feds have cleaned up their act, we need to account for migrants already here. We can’t just get rid of them. Migrant workers in Canada need full immigration status. That’s the next step.”

“The Liberal demands today fail to recognize the expansion of TFWP as part of a dangerous shift in Canadian immigration policy towards temporariness and exclusion,” explains Perry Sorio, member of Migrante Canada, an MWAC member. “Permanency and stability are necessary to build healthy communities. We need to overhaul the entire immigration system and re-institute access to permanent status for immigrants in low-skilled occupations.”

Syed Hussan, MWAC Coordinator agrees. “Our members are a fundamental part of the labour market and economy. To treat them as a separate entity as the Liberals do makes no economic sense, and continues the divisiveness drummed up over the last month. Migrants are our friends and family, not just a market-input brought in when needed. Workers need to be at the table, making joint decisions.”


Media Contact: Syed Hussan, Coordinator, 416 453

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change includes Asian Community AIDS Services, Caregivers Action Centre, Justicia for Migrant Workers, Legal Assistance of Windsor, Migrante-Ontario, No One Is Illegal-Toronto, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Social Planning Toronto, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, UNIFOR, United Food and Commercial Workers, and Workers Action Centre.