SCRAP PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION
ENSURE STATUS FOR ALL!
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney
Temporary Resident Policy and Programs Director Maia Welbourne
As community, women’s, immigrant rights, faith-based and trade union
organizations we strongly oppose the proposed changes to the Temporary
Foreign Worker Program that entrench a disposable workforce with few
rights. We call on the government to scrap these proposed amendments
immediately and ensure real protection and justice for migrant workers.
Under a smokescreen of protection for workers, the regulatory changes
would limit migrant workers’ time in Canada to four years and bar them
from re-entering Canada for the next six years. Workers could be denied
entry at the border if an immigration officer decides their job offer is
These changes do not strengthen protection for migrant workers. These
changes only make workers even more vulnerable and reinforce the
government’s efforts to build a disposable workforce through the Temporary
Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
The government states it is responding to extensive consultations.
However, our organizations and countless workers have told Immigration
Minister Jason Kenney that, to address systemic violations of workers
rights in the TFWP, fundamental changes are needed, including ensuring
migrant workers have permanent status. Imposing limits on workers’ time in
Canada makes workers status even more precarious and is an unjust and
Giving immigration officers arbitrary powers in denying workers admission
to Canada penalizes migrant workers rather than targeting recruiters and
employers who should be held accountable for the exploitation that workers
The government proposes that abusive employers be banned from hiring
workers for 2 years and their names be made public. However, these changes
do nothing to address the reality that migrant workers who are tied to one
employer and who are denied full immigration status often cannot speak out
against the widespread violations in the TFWP without risking deportation.
This policy change is part of an ongoing trend of exclusion within the
Canadian immigration system where the government has created more
temporary programs and less access to citizenship rights. Today, people
from only 38 professions are able to immigrate to Canada under the Federal
Skilled Worker points system. Refugee acceptance rates have declined
sharply and there is talk of further dismantling the system. Deportations
have increased 50%.
The government’s press release states that these changes “strengthen the
protection of temporary foreign workers.” They do not.
Real protection means enforcing standards on employers and agencies hiring
migrant workers. Real protection means allowing migrant workers to bargain
collectively, with full coverage under labour legislation.
Real protection means access to citizenship benefits and responsibilities.
Real protection means permanent residence on arrival. Real protection
means regularization for all. Real protection means prohibiting fees
migrant workers are forced to pay to find work, a fair appeals process for
repatriations and an end to deportation. Real protection that Canada’s
immigration system has, as yet, failed to ensure.
We call on the government to scrap these proposed amendments and move to
ensure real protection and justice for migrant workers immediately.
Endorsed by (6 November, 2009): Agriculture Workers Alliance, Campaign
2000, Canadian Arab Federation, CAW Canada, Canadian Hispanic Congress,
The Canadian Society of Immigration Practitioners Inc., Caregivers Action
Centre, Caregiver Connections Education and Support Organization, Center
for Philippine Concerns, Centre des Travailleurs et Travailleuses
Immigrants, Chinese Canadian National Council, Coalition for Change,
Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, CUPE National, CUPE Ontario,
CUPE Toronto District Council, CUPE, Law Union of Ontario, Local 3393,
Local 4308, Local 3907, Dignidad Migrante, Fuerza/Puwersa, Interim Place,
Good Jobs for All Coalition, Health for All, Immigrant Workers Centre –
Montreal, Justice for Migrant Workers, Migrante – Ontario, No One Is
Illegal – Toronto, No One Is Illegal – Montreal, Ontario Association of
Interval and Transition Houses, Ontario Federation of Labour, PINAY,
Portuguese National Congress, SEIU Local 2, Sistering – A Woman’s Place,
Social Planning Toronto, Solidarity Across Borders – Montreal, Somali
Canadian Diaspora Alliance, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, Student
Christian Movement of Canada, UFCW Canada, UFCW Canada, Local 175, Local
832, Local 1000a, Local 1118, Local 1400, Local 1518, UNITE-HERE, United
Steelworkers National Office, United Steelworkers Toronto Area Council,
Workers’ Action Centre
Remember! The regulations take effect on December 9, 2009. Unless we stop
WHAT YOU CAN DO
SIGN THE PETITION.INVITE everyone you to know to sign this statement.
STAY INVOLVED! Email firstname.lastname@example.org