In Canada, thousands of migrant workers, mainly racialized workers, harvest the food we eat, care for our children and our elders, and clean our homes and offices, all while separated from their children and families. They work in isolation for low wages, under dangerous conditions. CUPE supports migrant workers and allies seeking justice and organizing to end precarious living and working conditions.

Migrant workers in Canada continue to face racism, exploitation, and abuse. Their work and living conditions are precarious, they are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be deeply impacted by the rising cost of living we are currently experiencing. Hundreds and possibly thousands of workers lost their jobs during the pandemic, and as a result many also lost their immigration status and became “undocumented.”  As the threat of rising unemployment looms, many fear for their future.   

Migrants have relentlessly fought for their rights and are now closer than ever to winning a regularization program in Canada. This program would give undocumented workers permanent residency status and would be a historic moment for migrant rights in this country.

Around the world, 280 million people, including over 26 million refugees, have left their home countries and are migrants. These growing numbers reflect the many injustices at the root of the global migration crisis. These include growing inequality, poverty, unemployment, corruption and foreign intervention, climate change, and war.

International Migrants Day is a day to renew our collective work to build a better world, a world where workers are not forced to leave their homes in search of a job, where everyone has dignity and respect at work and in all aspects of their lives, and where migrants do not face exploitation as workers because of their precarious immigration status.

CUPE calls on the Canadian government to provide permanent residence status and ensure a living wage and income security for all migrant workers. Canada must also invest in programs that migrant workers can count on, including skills training, apprenticeships, strong public services, and robust social programs.

Canada should welcome more immigrants as future citizens, rather than temporary migrant workers. All foreign workers should be granted permanent resident status when they arrive, as part of a strong and progressive immigration program.