Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 16 August 2022:
Today, twenty-two climate organizations sent a letter calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser to regularize undocumented people living in Canada and ensure permanent residence for all migrants. In doing so, the climate justice movement in Canada is standing with migrant-led movements.
The call comes after Minister Fraser committed to creating a regularization program and as he prepares to create a program to expand pathways to permanent residency, in response to a unanimous House of Commons motion in May. The Liberal government faces a political choice: to establish a small, exclusionary program that continues to leave people in precarious situations and vulnerable to exploitation – or to seize this moment to correct a historic failure and ensure equal rights for all.
The signatories to the letter endorse the Migrant Rights Network’s proposals to regularize all undocumented people in the country, without exception, and to ensure that all migrants in Canada, particularly those in low-waged jobs, have immediate access to permanent residency.
As the climate crisis forces more and more people from their homes, through disasters, droughts, famines, loss of livelihood, shrinking economic opportunities, and mass impoverishment, ensuring equal rights for migrants is a fundamental part of climate justice. Canada bears responsibility for fuelling this displacement through its disproportionately high emissions and number of resource extraction companies that disrupt land-based ways of life in Global South countries. Ensuring that those who come to Canada have permanent resident status – enabling them to speak up for their rights, access services, and build a more stable, secure life – is a step towards paying off this country’s climate debt.
The COVID-19 pandemic thrust into the spotlight the injustices faced by migrant workers, upon whom Canada’s economy and systems depend. At the height of the pandemic, migrants continued to perform essential work in hospitals, to care for children and the elderly, and to grow and deliver food, all the while facing exploitation, inadequate care, and unsafe working conditions.
“The climate crisis is not just about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions; it’s about how we will come together and care for each other in the face of devastating climate impacts that affect already marginalized communities the most. Will our government seize this moment for transformative policy-making towards climate justice?” said Caroline Brouillette, National Policy Manager at Climate Action Network Canada.
Canada has long sought to establish its image as a welcoming, inclusive place for newcomers, a vision that this government has espoused, but the reality for many migrants is very different. Climate Action Network Canada and the other twenty-one signatories urge Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Fraser to use this moment to show political courage, live up to their words, and correct this long-standing disparity.
Read the full letter. / Lire la lettre en français.
On September 18th, actions across the country will take place in an unprecedented movement for immigrant rights to win equal rights and fairness for all. Find an action near you or organize your own.
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 over 140 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.
Migrant Rights Network is Canada’s largest coalition of migrant-led organizations uniting together to combat racism and fight for migrant justice.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Vicky Coo, Communications Lead, CAN-Rac
Syed Hussan, Migrant Rights Network Secretariat
Photo credit: Migrant Rights Network