OPEN LETTER to the Prime Minister on regularization of undocumented workers

New Democrats strongly urge you to adopt a broad, comprehensive, and uncapped regularization initiative without delay, so that undocumented workers in Canada have a clear and accessible pathway to permanent residency.

May 26, 2024

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
And Honourable Members of the Canadian Ministry (Cabinet)

Open Letter Re: Regularization

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Members of the Cabinet,

New Democrats strongly urge you to adopt a broad, comprehensive, and uncapped regularization initiative without delay, so that undocumented workers in Canada have a clear and accessible pathway to permanent residency.

In 2021, former Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser was given the mandate of “regularizing status for undocumented workers who are contributing to Canadian communities.” Since that time, Minister Marc Miller has taken up the ministerial role and is expected to deliver on this important priority.

Over the years, the NDP has consistently called on the government to regularize migrant and undocumented workers. We have also continually urged the government to adopt the principle that if you are good enough to study and work here, you are good enough to stay. MP Jenny Kwan, as the NDP Critic on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has had many discussions with successive ministers about the need to move forward on a broad regularization program.

Migrants come to Canada with the expectation that they will be treated fairly as they contribute to Canada’s economic, educational, social, and cultural fabric. They work hard and they pay their taxes. Yet far too many migrant workers work in low-wage or precarious jobs, are subjected to poor working conditions and are vulnerable to exploitation owing to their temporary status.

Many migrants have already called Canada their home for years or even decades. They are our neighbours and colleagues, and are part of our communities and workplaces, contributing significantly to critical sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, caregiving, service and construction. They are the essential workers who care for our loved ones, who look after us when we are sick, who clean our homes and offices, who grow and harvest our food. They fuel our service industries and build critical infrastructure in our communities.

We remind you that during COVID-19, many people in our communities across the county lost their jobs and migrants workers were not exempted from this. Some of their employers had to suspend operations. Others had arrived in Canada just prior to the lockdown and shortly after found that their contracts could not be fulfilled. Some fell into gaps in the system when they were not able to have their permit renewed. Some were impacted by severe backlogs at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Circumstances like these have caused migrants to lose their status in Canada, and become undocumented, often through no fault of their own.

Once undocumented, people face immense challenges including restricted access to healthcare, education, and legal protection for themselves and their families. Their precarious status leads to vulnerability, exploitation, and marginalization as they may not report mistreatment because they fear deportation. On the other hand, employers who are aware of these workers’ precarious status may exploit the power imbalance that irregular status creates to threaten workers with denunciation to authorities.

Undocumented people need permanent residency and regularized status to assert their rights and protect themselves from abuses. Moreover, undocumented migrants are mostly racialized and often women. A broad program of regularization is the action of a feminist government, one committed to dismantling gender inequality and systemic racism that keeps people from participating to the fullest in our Canadian economy and society.

Recognizing that regularization leads to more cohesive societies, the majority of European Union Member States have already implemented regularization programs for undocumented people who met basic residency requirements. It is long overdue that Canada follows their lead.

The time is now for your government’s emphasis on the importance of fair immigration policies to translate into tangible action. New Democrats therefore urge that you act promptly on your government’s commitment to regularize these undocumented workers, bring them into status and provide a clear accessible path to permanent residence.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter and we look forward to decisive action on behalf of your government to ensure the regularization of undocumented residents without exception.


Jagmeet Singh, NDP Leader
MP for Burnaby South

Jenny Kwan
MP for Vancouver

Lisa Marie Barron
MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Laurel Collins
MP for Victoria

Matthew Green
MP for Hamilton Centre

Alistair MacGregor
MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

Rachel Blaney
MP for North Island-Powell River

Blake Desjarlais
MP for Edmonton Griesbach

Lori Idlout
MP for Nunavut

Lindsay Mathyssen
MP for London-Fanshawe

Niki Ashton
MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski

Alexandre Boulerice
MP for Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie

Randall Garrison
MP for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke

Gord Johns
MP for Courtenay-Alberni

Heather McPherson
MP for Edmonton Strathcona

Taylor Bachrach
MP for Skeena—Bulkley Valley

Richard Cannings
MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay

Leah Gazan
MP for Winnipeg Centre

Peter Julian
MP for New Westminster-Burnaby

Bonita Zarrillo
MP for Port Moody-Coquitlam


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