Too many migrant workers have been left behind during the pandemic, despite doing some of the most essential jobs in our communities. Join the national day of action for Full Immigration Status for All this Sunday, June 14 to help stop the exploitation and exclusion of migrant and undocumented workers. Together, let’s take action to show that granting permanent residency is the only way to empower migrants to access their full worker rights, healthcare, and to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Full status is urgent for all migrants, including farmworkers. Right now, hundreds of migrant farmworkers have caught the deadly virus due to cramped and poor housing as well as lack of access to health services. Read the Unheeded Warnings report released earlier this week by the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, which exposes the true treatment of migrant farmworkers forced to live and work on Canada’s farms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Government inaction is why we now mourn the deaths of Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santos, migrants who were infected with COVID-19 at two different farms. We fear for those still in intensive care and many who will fall sick because of employers’ ongoing refusal to make social distancing possible or provide personal protective equipment.
Migrant farmworkers come mostly from Jamaica and Mexico and work in Canada for 8 months of the year without any access to status. Black and brown migrants, mainly black men, are treated as cheap, disposable labour for the benefit of big agricultural businesses that brought in over $111 billion in 2016. Migrant farmworkers are excluded from much of Ontario’s basic employment standards such as minimum wage. And since their work permits are tied to their employer, speaking out against these injustices means getting deported.
Without full immigration status, migrant farmworkers are subject to the bullying, racism, threats, and isolation that have increased under COVID-19 measures that prevent them from going out to get food and medical care. The Fight for $15 & Fairness will lead a Solidarity Caravan at 9 am on Saturday, June 13 from Toronto to Niagara (share the caravan Facebook event). If you can, join them on the road and in the rally outside the office of a Niagara Member of Parliament (MP). You can also show your support by calling your own MP and inviting your family and friends to the June 14th national day of action.
Prime Minister Trudeau says he’ll “do better” by migrants, but we need to show him that status for all is necessary and urgent. From meat processing plants to long term care homes to farms, workers—predominantly migrants and workers of color—are getting sick. But instead of protecting us, the federal government has just introduced legislation to fine and imprison workers for accessing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) improperly or for refusing to go back to work. The proposed law only serves to scare people into going back to unsafe workplaces with no protection (read the media release). Workers that are just following good public health advice don’t deserve to be treated like criminals.
If you have questions about CERB, unsafe work, or your rights as a migrant worker, please join us online today, Thursday, June 11, at 7 pm for the Workers Rights as Workplaces Reopen workshop (please register for the link and future updates). Come ask your questions and learn more about updates to your rights and income supports.
To survive the pandemic workers need justice! That means Full Immigration Status for ALL! Sign up now to join us on June 14 and find out more about how to take part throughout the day. At 12 pm EST, make sure to join the Mass Digital Rally where we will take action together. Today, take a moment to download posters to spread the word about the national day of action in your community.