Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Canada wide migrant worker coalition calls on Trudeau to MoVE for Real Change.

Media Release -- October 28, 2015

Coalition for Migrant Worker Rights - Canada

4755 Van Horne
Montreal, Quebec

Newly launched Coalition for Migrant Worker Rights - Canada calls for end to discrimination against migrant workers.

Canada - Migrant worker groups from across Canada are launching a historic coalition 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 a coalition of organizations representing Canadian born and migrant worker groups from coast to coast to coast, aimed at improving work conditions for all workers. 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 Temporary Foreign Workers, Caregivers and Seasonal Agricultural Workers come to Canada on work permits that restrict them to working for the specific employer listed on their permit. Changing employers is extremely difficult which allows bad bosses to lower salaries and work conditions. This creates pressure to reduce salaries and erode work conditions for all workers. A first step to ending this downward cycle is to untie the permits so workers have the ‘mobility’ to leave employers who exploit them. Next steps must move to reorient the system to secure, permanent immigration that protects ‘voice’ and ‘equality’ for workers.

“We are the only workers who are tied to employers, and can’t change jobs. We come here without immigration status and that puts us at a disadvantage. That’s not fair to us, it’s not fair to Canadian workers and it’s not fair to employers,” says G.T., a seasonal agricultural worker. “Mr. Trudeau has promised real change, and an immigration system that welcomes and values all of us and that means untied work permits and immigration status upon landing.”

“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.” 

MoVE Demands

● 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:

○ Transition from tied work permits to open work permits

○ 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 (Vancouver)

*Migrant Workers Alliance for Change includes Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (Toronto), Asian Community Aids Services (Ontario), Caregivers Action Centre (Ontario), Fuerza Puwersa (Guelph), 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), South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, United Food and Commercial Workers (Canada), Workers United and the Workers’ Action Centre (Toronto).


Media Contacts:

Montreal – Enrique LLanes, Temporary Foreign Workers Association, 514-342-2111