The Invisible Canadians 🍁
Aug 20, 2022
As you may remember, one of Untold/Unknown's inaugural themes, Labour of Love, celebrates the work of migrant farmers. For the first time in decades, Canada is considering changing policies that could vastly improve the lives of migrant farmers. Migrant workers across the country are advocating for #StatusForAll.
What is Status for All?
Currently, 'undocumented' migrant workers, contribute economically, socially and culturally to Canada, but have no rights. The only way that these workers will be able to assert their rights at work or access basic healthcare is through Permanent Residency status. Without it, they face discrimination and exploitation because of the well-founded fear of deportation. Status For All would be granting Permanent Residency status to the 500,000 people living in Canada, including families, who need it.
Because of migrant organizing, Prime Minister Trudeau has instructed the federal Minister of Immigration to move ahead with a “regularization programme”, which means giving Permanent Resident status to undocumented migrants.
Sadly, there are many forces, including big business lobbyists, pushing to make these programs as small and exclusionary as possible so that they can continue to profit from migrant worker precarity. This is in line with the trend of Canada's immigration policies that, for at least the last 20 years, have institutionalized systems that lead to exploitation. As per the Canadian Council for Refugees:
“Canada is moving from being a country that considers immigration as a strategy for nation-building to a country that uses “low-skilled” temporary migrants as a source of cheap and disposable labour, rather than recognizing the contributions of all types of work to the Canadian economy and society.”
Regularization of all non-status people will increase labour rights and address the labour shortage crisis. Undocumented people in Canada already live and work here, and if provided with permanent resident status, will be able to move freely to escape abuse and live dignified and safe lives.
This one-hour documentary 'The End of Immigration?' uncovers a trend which is having a major impact on the type of country in which we live, one that relies increasingly on “rent-a-workers” rather than immigrants.
The conditions of temporary visas are often highly restrictive, including tying workers to one specific employer. There’s no quitting to find a safer job, sometimes no access to healthcare or sick leave, and certainly very little room to advocate for one's own wellbeing during a pandemic. Here are 3 personal audio stories.
In this 3-minute video, 7 undocumented migrants bravely step out of the shadows to share their stories of exploitation and resistance and to call for Status for All.