Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 1 June 2023:
Today, thirty-four civil society organizations working on climate and environmental issues from across Canada called on the federal government to support migrants’ rights and establish access to Permanent Resident status for all by the end of this Parliamentary session.
With just over three weeks left before the House of Commons rises for the summer, the groups sent a letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser and Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault to announce a comprehensive, uncapped program that would enable all migrants to become Permanent Residents. Such a move would allow them to access services and stand up for their rights without fear, with the potential to lift half a million people out of poverty.
The signatories also condemned and called on the government to reverse the recent expansion of the Safe Third Country Agreement, which was announced without warning during President Biden’s visit to Canada, noting that it is only forcing families into even more dangerous situations.
“Migrants are valued members of our communities and play essential roles to support our economy, lead innovation and make our culture richer – yet face rights violations, uncertainty, harassment, and dangerous conditions,” said Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada. “As Canada continues to pour fuel on the fire of the global climate crisis, which is displacing more and more people from their homes, Status for All is a matter of climate justice. Politicians have before them a historic and pragmatic opportunity to better thousands of lives: there is no time to lose.”
“Five hundred and thirty-two days ago, Prime Minister Trudeau made a promise to create a regularization program and ensure permanent resident status for migrant students and workers; that’s over 500 days of waiting as migrants continue to have their wages stolen, face discrimination and harassment, are denied life-saving services and are torn from their communities through deportation. The abuse must stop, no more delay: it’s time for the Prime Minister to honour his word,” added Syed Hussan, executive director, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.
“One of the strongest signals the Trudeau government can send to indicate their commitment to real climate action is full regularization of all undocumented peoples in so-called Canada,” said Maya Menezes, Senior Climate Finance Organizer at Stand.earth. “Migrants not only make up a vast segment of the labour force in healthcare, child and senior care, agriculture and more, undocumented peoples are our neighbours, siblings, friends and allies. There is no true path to climate justice until Canada ends tiered citizenship programs, entrenching in policy that all people are deserving of dignity and surviving climate collapse as valued members of our society. That path is clear – full regularization of all undocumented people now, #StatusForAll with no exclusions.”
Salomé Sané, Climate campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, added: “Status for all is a question of justice. Migrants–undocumented and documented–are integral members of our society, contributing to our economy and cultural diversity, yet often face the violence of discrimination, exploitation and exclusion due to the precarious nature of their status. A fair society with equal rights for all is not compatible with Canada’s current tiered citizenship. It is only achievable with the regularisation and a permanent status for all migrants, allowing them to access their social, economic, and political rights in a society they’re already integrated in. Canada has a responsibility, particularly as a major contributor to climate change and beneficiary of globalisation, to ensure the safe arrival of migrants and displaced people, and provide the permanent legal protections and access to basic services they need.”
The groups support the detailed proposals for regularization and status for all created by the Migrant Rights Network. In recent months, dozens of rallies have been held across Canada to press decision-makers to move forward with Status for All.
Read the letter here, with the full list of organizations that have signed on, including major environmental and development organizations; grassroots, faith-based, and mothers’ groups; youth, student, and artist coalitions; and more.
Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 160 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Vicky Coo, Communications Lead
Sarom Rho, Organizer, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
firstname.lastname@example.org | (647) 858-2854
Photo credit: Migrant Rights Network