Migrants, including undocumented persons, students, and refugees, marched in cities throughout Canada on Sunday to seek permanent residency status for all before the federal parliament reconvenes on Monday.
In Toronto, migrants and sympathizers marched across downtown, including past the intersection of Yonge and Dundas Streets, causing police to post on social media that traffic had been delayed in the area.
Protesters are urging the government to establish an uncapped program that will offer permanent residence status to all migrants and illegal immigrants, with no exceptions.
The protest comes after a United Nations expert called Canada’s temporary foreign worker program a “breeding ground for contemporary forms of slavery” earlier this month.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Modern Forms of Slavery, Tomoya Obokata, has urged the federal government to provide all temporary foreign workers with a path to longer-term or permanent residency.
According to Sarom Rho, an organizer with the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, the demonstrators are asking the government to develop an unlimited program that would offer permanent residency status to all migrants and undocumented persons without any exclusions.
According to Rho, there are 1.7 million people in Canada with temporary study or work permits without any clear pathway to permanent residency.
She claims they are raising Canada’s food, caring for children, and working in front-line jobs.
Rho said that without permanent resident status, undocumented people face massive exploitation at work, are denied life-saving medical treatments, and live in daily fear of deportation and the agony of family separation.
At the time, a representative for Immigration Minister Marc Miller’s office refused to comment on whether such a permanent pathway would be implemented.
“That’s one in every 23 people, and it hurts all of us when a segment of our society is denied the same rights and protections as everyone else,” Rho explained.
Jane, who has been living in Canada illegally for six years, says she wants permanent status so she can acquire a good job and be treated fairly.
“A fair job where you will not be discriminated against, where you will earn a decent wage, where you will be free to go wherever you want, to reunite with your families,” she continued. “Without status, you can’t do anything in this country.”
“We cannot make predictions about future policies.” “All new policies will be made public,” a spokesman from IRCC told CBC News in an email.
Source: CBC News