Sunday, March 29th, 2pm
Citizenship and Immigration Canada Toronto headquarters
55 St. Clair East.
Toronto – Over a 100 migrant workers and supporters in Toronto will be planting seedlings and food at Immigration Canada headquarters to insist that migrant workers are rooted in communities. The “plant-in”, part of actions taking place in 8 cities across the country, calls for an end to the so-called “4 and 4 rule”, and for permanent immigration status for migrant workers. A live band will accompany the planting on Sunday afternoon.
Over 3,000 people have also signed a petition.
“Many of the people who are being forcibly uprooted on April 1st have lived in the country for longer than 4 years. They have families, friends, and relationships,” says Liza Draman from the Caregivers Action Centre. “Workers already face abuse from employers and recruiters because of bad provincial and federal laws, Pulling them away from their communities on top of that is unjust, inhumane and arbitrary.”
Approximately 70,000 low-waged workers in the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and Live-In Caregiver program are impacted by the 4 and 4 regulations, which bars the renewal of work permits past four years. The clock on the first 4 years started on April 01, 2011, but many workers have been in Canada for years prior to that.
“These laws aren’t good for workers or employers,” says Syed Hussan of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. “It doesn’t serve anyone’s purpose to remove a trained workforce, and replace it with new workers that are less aware of their rights. Why does growing roots in Canada and holding down a job for four years result in deportation? This mass deportation is classic economic mismanagement and is frankly irrational.”
People working low-wage jobs in service, retail, caregiving, manufacturing and agriculture among others are not able to immigrate to Canada permanently under existing federal law. At the same time, the Parliamentary Budget Officer recently noted that the number of Canadian citizens in “low-skilled” jobs has dropped by 26% between 2002 and 2013, highlighting the need for permanents immigrants in these sectors.
The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC) is Canada’s largest migrant worker rights coalition with 15 national and community groups.
MWAC is part of the Campaign Against the 4 Year Limit on Migrant Workers which is made up of 19 organizations across Canada. Its demands have been endorsed by nearly a dozen major national groups.