Workers are reeling from the $800 cut to federal income support for workers still unemployed due to COVID-19, the provincial government fails to recover stolen wages, and the exclusion of migrant and undocumented workers continues despite being called heroes during the pandemic. We need your support on these critical issues!
1. Status for All March and Rally
Tomorrow, hundreds of migrant and undocumented people gather in Ottawa to demand full, permanent immigration status for all. We are fed up with pathways to permanent residency that are far too narrow, have major barriers and are closed off too quickly. It only took ten weeks for the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident program to reach its cap of 30,000 applications from essential workers and be closed to over a million migrants.
It is unacceptable for migrant and undocumented people to be left behind when so many fill essential, dangerous jobs and are more vulnerable to exploitation at work. Everyone deserves human rights and access to basic services that only full, permanent immigration status can provide.
Over a hundred Workers’ Action Centre members will join the Ottawa Rally for Status for All this Sunday, July 25 at Major Hill’s Park at 2 pm. If you can’t make it to Ottawa, you can show support online and watch a livestream of the action. Follow the Migrant Rights Network and share their posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #StatusForAll and tagging Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau. Please consider donating to cover the cost of bringing migrants to this historic event!
2. Help Maria Tajon Recover Unpaid Wages
Not having permanent immigration status makes wage theft that much more difficult. Maria Tajon was a live-in caregiver for Harvey and Sylvia Gefen, hired in 2017 to look after their adult son with special needs and do housework. Maria worked up to 85 hours a week, despite her 35-hour-a-week contract, and is now owed almost $28,000 in unpaid wages.
The Ministry of Labour has issued Orders to Pay for these wages but Maria has been waiting over a year and half to recover her stolen wages from wealthy property developer Harvey Gefen. The Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Finance have failed to use the powerful tools they have to collect Maria’s money. Maria told the Toronto Star last month, “I feel sad because there is no empowerment (from) the government” .
Research done for the province found that only 20% of wage claims are fully recovered . It’s time for that to change. Demand Justice for Maria: make a call now to the Gefens and to the Ministries of Labour and Finance. Please share the phone scripts on Facebook.
3. 40% Cut to the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
A week ago on July 17, the federal government went ahead with a 40% cut to CRB. Almost 800,000 people out of work because of COVID must now struggle to survive on $800 less per month. For so many, going from $2,000 to only $1,200 a month is not sustainable as we look for jobs and wait for sectors to open fully. This deep cut leaves mostly racialized and women workers unable to pay rent and crucial bills, and forces many to accept low-wage, unsafe jobs.
To immediately support workers nationwide, one of the most effective moves the government can make right now is to reverse the CRB cut! In the words of Min, an Uber driver who spoke with the Justice for Workers campaign: “It’s not that the $500 per week [from CRB] is a lot of money, [but] it’s my wage, and my wife’s wage [that are] too low” . By lowering income support, the government gives the green light to pay workers less.
Send an email telling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, and your own Member of Parliament to reverse the cut! Standing up against the CRB cut is part of a bigger fight to ensure adequate income support as we move toward post-pandemic recovery. If you want to share your story to show why CRB, Employment Insurance and other income supports are crucial, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.