JOIN US on June 20th!
Migrant domestic workers have been coming to Canada without full immigration status - which means without full rights - since 1955. Sixty-six years of exclusion and exploitation. And for sixty six years they have been leading the fight for justice.
Today is International Domestic Workers Day - a day to mark decades of organizing to win respect and rights for those who do the in-home labour, and care for children, sick and the elderly.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers of the International Labour Organization (ILO Convention 189). It requires countries to ensure equal rights for domestic workers. Canada refuses to sign this convention or implement it.
And so today we reflect on our histories:
But immigration laws force care workers into abusive jobs. Many careworkers are tied to their employers, dependent on them for healthcare and housing, and separated from their families for years. According to our last survey, 1 in 3 workers we spoke to were laid off during COVID-19 but are not allowed to work anywhere else.
Even those who complete the impossible PR requirements are made to wait years to hear a decision on their applications. Many of us signed petitions and delivered them on May 9th. As a result the government promised to process 6,000 out of 12,000 applications in the backlog by the end of this year. That means half have to wait another year and half, stuck with potentially abusive employers and without open work permits.
Worse still, no new PR applications for childcare workers are being accepted in the regular stream this year. The program’s arbitrary cap of 2,750 applications per year was reached on April 30th, and care workers must now wait until next year to apply.
Those who fall out of status because of these impossible requirements or are in undocumented care work are unable to assert their rights at work and are shut out of basic services like health care and income support.
The government’s new PR program for essential workers that opened in May allows some care workers to apply. But those who have lost their status, those without work or without English language test results are excluded.
But migrant care workers are continuing the struggle, join in! On June 20th, find an action near you or organize one in your community: https://migrantrights.ca/june20/
On June 20th, join actions in Toronto, Sudbury, Vancouver, or online for full and permanent immigration status for all!
Credit: Migrant Rights Network