CUPE’s National Executive Board (NEB) voted on Sept. 24 to adopt a resolution calling for improvements to Canada’s immigration and refugee policy and to redirect public funds from military aggression to helping refugees.

The National Executive Board noted that Canada is no longer leading the world in receiving refugees, having dropped from fifth to fifteenth place among industrialized countries. They also expressed concern about increase in xenophobia and right-wing propaganda among Canadian citizens and approved action to involve CUPE members in settlement and anti-racism initiatives.

In addition to calling on the federal government for action, including redirecting funds from foreign military intervention to humanitarian assistance, CUPE is donating $25,000 to the Canadian Labour Congress’ fund for the Canadian Council for Refugees. The NEB is also asking CUPE locals and members to get involved in resettlement initiatives in their communities.

The resolution is consistent with CUPE’s longstanding work on issues of global justice, equality, and political action.

Resolution of CUPE’s National Executive Board – September 2015

National Executive Board Meeting
September 23-24, 2015

Re: Migration and Refugees


  • Speak out, alongside refugee rights advocates, to change immigration and refugee policy and reverse the exclusionary, bureaucratic barriers implemented by the Conservative government that deny refugees entry into Canada;
  • Call on the Canadian Government to redirect public funds from foreign military intervention toward humanitarian assistance, refugee resettlement efforts and the full reestablishment of the Interim Federal Health Care Program;
  • Encourage CUPE locals to initiate and support local government efforts to resettle migrants and refugees (i.e. Syrian refugees) into our communities;
  • Provide education and actively engage with CUPE members to combat racism and xenophobia and to counter right-wing propaganda about refugees and migrants.
  • Support and promote the Canadian Labour Congress statement on the Syrian refugee crisis and donate $25,000 to the CLC fund for the Canadian Council for Refugees.  


  • Canada is capable of doing so much more to support the needs of refugees, including welcoming and resettling them to Canada and ceasing military intervention abroad;
  • Between 2010 and 2014, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found that Canada dropped from fifth to fifteenth in the list of refugee-receiving industrialized countries;
  • Since 2012, a large number of restrictive policy changes of concern to refugees were introduced in Canada including changes to the rules governing private sponsorship, cuts to the Refugee Interim Federal Health Care Program, and changes to the refugee claim process;
  • Canada is moving away from supporting a global response to the crisis facing refugees to a focus on admitting only a limited number of refugee populations from a select few countries identified by Canada;
  • Refugees and others seeking protection in Canada are not threats to national security; they are seeking security and protection from us when their own lives are under threat.