One of the places where systemic racism is the most apparent in our immigration system is in its treatment of domestic and migrant workers.

It is my firm belief that if you’re good enough to work, you’re good enough to stay.

For caregivers and domestic workers, justice means PR status upon arrival. Domestic workers, who are mostly women of colour from developing nations, are the only class of economic immigrants who are not given PR status upon arrival. Instead, they must endure precarious working conditions with uncertain immigration status and futures as they navigate pilot program after pilot program. As they care for Canadian families, the lack of PR status separates the workers from their own families.

For temporary migrant workers, it is long known that employer specific work permits put them in highly vulnerable situations where abuse and exploitation by employers are rampant.

The Canadian immigration must treat workers with justice and respect. No more abuse of migrant workers! Landed status now!

MEDIA RELEASE - Migrant workers deserve respect and dignity

People who come here to work deserve dignity and protection. There is no denying that there is a power imbalance in the Temporary Foreign Workers program that has resulted in many migrant workers being exploited, including being subject to wage theft and poor working conditions. We’ve seen the horrors of how TFWs are put in substandard housing, unable to isolate in dense living quarters during the pandemic and unable to speak up until their health was affected. This highlights the ongoing and deep-seated problem with the TFW program.
The findings of a recent damning report by the Auditor General exposed the Liberal government's failure to ensure the health and safety of temporary foreign agricultural workers where Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) provided little assurance that workers were protected during the 2020 and 2021 growing seasons. In fact, even though the Liberals promised they would take action to address this blatant violation of the worker's rights in 2020, the quality of inspections have gotten worse. By adding more TFWs to the system, ESDC will be spread even thinner and struggle even more to ensure the safety of these workers.

ANSARD - Motion 44 adopted Jenny’s amendment to expand economic immigration to include workers of all skill levels and caregivers

ANSARD - Motion 44 adopted Jenny’s amendment to expand economic immigration to include workers of all skill levels and caregivers

I’m so pleased to see that the House has passed Motion 44 to improve Canada’s immigration system.  The Motion has adopted my amendment to expand "the economic immigration to allow workers of all skill levels to meet the full range of labour needs", and adding "caregivers" into specifically considered occupations and essential sectors that are underrepresented in current economic immigration programs.

IN THE NEWS: New Canadian Media - Canada eyes 1.3 million immigrants to overcome labour pains

IN THE NEWS: New Canadian Media - Canada eyes 1.3 million immigrants to overcome labour pains

Jenny Kwan, the Vancouver East MP, who also acts as the NDP Immigration Critic, said the government is actually scaling back the Federal Skilled Workers Program by almost 50 per cent by shifting resources and immigration levels from one stream to another. 

“The immigration levels released today shows that the government is perpetuating the problems they created when they failed to adjust the levels to accommodate the new (temporary to permanent resident pathway) immigration measure,” she said.

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Applicants to Canada’s skilled-worker immigration program will soon face 36-month wait times, documents reveal

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Applicants to Canada’s skilled-worker immigration program will soon face 36-month wait times, documents reveal

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said the skilled worker program is an important immigration stream for Canada and the current pause “will not only put people’s lives in limbo, but result in missed opportunities for Canada, risking that applicants may choose to emigrate to another country that recognizes their talent and experience.”

“Failing to address the backlogs will ultimately create more work for immigration as documents expire and the circumstances of applicants change. It will also fuel additional inquiries by applicants because they are concerned about a lack of progress in their applications. All of this serves only to further tie up the department’s resources.”

IN THE NEWS: Indo-Canadian Voice - NDP urges Liberals to take immediate action to address Canada’s nursing shortage

IN THE NEWS: Indo-Canadian Voice - NDP urges Liberals to take immediate action to address Canada’s nursing shortage

“Nurses are overworked and it is hurting them and their patients. When hospitals don’t have enough nurses, wait times increase and surgeries get delayed,” said Kwan. “Meanwhile, there are qualified internationally educated nurses waiting for their applications to be processed. The Liberals need to recognize that they can fix this crisis, rather than being a roadblock. We are demanding that the government adequately fund IRCC so that qualified health care workers can be granted permanent residence.”

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Advocacy group hints at unexplained immigration policy shift

Activists from the Migrant Rights Network (MRN) say a “secretive policy shift” may be brewing at Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which may explain the unprecedented rate of rejections of permanent residence applications on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds.
Richard Goldman, a lawyer at Montreal City Mission, believes that some policy change may have occurred, but whether this involves the personnel assessing the applications, the training of these personnel or an internal directive is unknown.

“The Humanitarian and Compassionate application system is broken,” says Syed Hussan, who works with the Migrant Rights Network (MRN) secretariat, which organized marches in Montreal and Ottawa this past weekend to demand the government extend residency status to all migrants in order to ensure their equal access to rights. “And as the data we released is showing, it can arbitrarily be changed without oversight or accountability.”

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - Immigration Minister open to raise permanent residency caps

However, migrant groups have criticized the program, saying program exclusions and requirements shut out many refugees, undocumented people and thousands of migrants, with caps in application streams meaning few will be able to get their applications in before spots are filled.
In a statement, NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said Wednesday that the rollout of the new pathways to permanent residency for the 90,000 applicants has been problematic, adding it excludes many essential workers and does not recognize those who have lost status.
Also Wednesday, Mr. Mendicino called for moving toward a paperless immigration system that would offer prospective new Canadians more opportunities to file claims online and even be sworn in virtually.
Ms. Kwan said that while digitizing the immigration application process is “long overdue,” the Liberals have been using this as an excuse to avoid talking about current delays.  “The process to move to a new system could take years and the government has failed to present a plan or provide resources to address current backlogs in a reasonable timeline,” she said.
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