On September 18, 2022, thousands of migrants and their supporters held rallies across various Canadian cities calling on the Government to extend permanent status and implement an inclusive regularization program for undocumented migrants. These rallies are apart of a growing movement as more migrants are mobilizing for change.
There is hope that the Government will expand upon their current regularization programs, like the one launched during the COVID-19 pandemic for asylum seekers who worked in the health-care sector. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed interest in expanding the initiative and a mandate letter from December 2021 asked the Immigration and Citizenship Minister to build on existing programs to help regularize status for undocumented workers.
A spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser commented that “the work to deliver on the mandate commitment on regularizing status for undocumented workers is ongoing as the ministry engages with experts and stakeholders.”
Rallies spearheaded by the Migrant Rights Network were held in 13 cities including Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, Fredericton and St. John’s. Supporters called on the Government to extend status for all and many shared their individual stories of struggle. Many of those who are undocumented described their situation as dehumanizing or akin to being held captive. Their situation was further worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic as it highlighted existing inequalities and inaccessibility of essential services.
Syed Hussan, executive director of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, stated that status and regularization would help give undocumented people working in Canada access to better work, study and living conditions, as well as access to health-care.
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