Thousands of racialized women come to Canada every year to take care of children, sick and the elderly. They are on tied permits, which means they can’t change jobs, they often live in the homes of their employers and are separated from their own families. These restrictions are a breeding ground for exploitation.
55 years. Enough is enough.
Posted on March 31, 2021
Today, March 31st, is the 55th anniversary of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). Today marks over half a century of injustice, indignities and exploitation of Black and Latinx people by Canada’s agri-food industry.
This brutality has always been met with organized opposition. The first recorded wildcat strike organized by migrant farm workers was in 1967, less than a year after the program was created.
Today hundreds of farmworker members of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change are holding simultaneous meetings at 80+ farms to light candles of resistance and make plans to fight for Full and Permanent Immigration Status for All.
You can support this massive show of worker power by sharing a photo of your own flame of resistance posting online and tagging us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with #StatusforAll. Speak out today and pledge to support our upcoming four days of action in 2021.
SAWP followed the creation of the Caribbean Domestic Workers scheme in 1955. These two programs laid the foundation for temporariness in the immigration system. Subsequent governments have only grown these programs.
Now, over 850,000 temporary study and work permits are issued in Canada each year. Most people on these programs are low-waged and racialized. We live and work here but are excluded from labour rights, healthcare, access to education and other social supports. We are separated from our families. Most of us can never get permanent residency and are forced to stay in Canada without any immigration status, and even fewer rights.
Enough is enough. Today on the 55th anniversary of the SAWP program, we demand an end to temporariness. We demand an equal society and that means permanent immigration status for everyone.
In 2021, we are taking actions for Status for All and we need you. Join us:
Are you with us? Go to your social media today and light your flame of resistance.
PS: Following the murders in Atlanta of 8 people including Asian women sex workers, our member Butterfly: Asian Migrant Sex Worker project has launched #8CallsforJustice. Please sign on as an organization or individual: https://www.butterflysw.org/8callsforjustice
Please visit : https://www.migrantrights.ca
Open Letter: Full Immigration Status for All
We, the undersigned, join the Migrant Rights Network in calling for full and permanent immigration status for all, without exclusions.
COVID-19 has exposed deep inequalities in our society. The fault lines are gendered and racialized: the worst impacts are being felt by women and in Indigenous, Black and Brown communities. Those most impacted have received the least support. Meanwhile, large corporations that have already accumulated immense profits receive massive bailouts.
Migrants, refugees and undocumented people have lost work and wages during the crisis but many have been shut out of emergency income supports. Those already without wages have been abandoned. They cannot pay rent, have faced starvation, lost life savings and are sacrificing essential health care.
Others have been forced to keep working in dangerous conditions. Migrant workers on farms, in greenhouses and meat and food processing plants have been hit with massive COVID-19 outbreaks. Three migrant farm workers have already died: Juan López Chaparro, Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santos. Migrant domestic workers remain trapped in the homes of their employers, facing greater surveillance, abuse and violence. Migrant students, working in low-wage jobs in warehouses and as delivery drivers, have had their tuition fees hiked to subsidize Canadian universities and colleges.
Now, as businesses reopen, those without work have little choice but to accept unsafe jobs. But conditions are the same as before — low wages and minimal labour protections. Hard-fought gains in access to healthcare remain precarious and limited. Rent hasn’t been paid and evictions are on the horizon. With mounting debt, many are facing greater exploitation but have no way to defend themselves.
An unjust immigration system is responsible. At least one in twenty-three people (over 1.6 million people) are without permanent resident status. Migrants are punished for for leaving bad employers, doing sex work, or getting sick. Access to services varies by immigration permit and is virtually non-existent for those who have been forced out of status. Lack of permanent resident status makes it difficult, and often impossible, for migrants to speak up for their rights or access services, including those they may be eligible for, because of a well-founded fear of reprisals, termination, eviction and deportation. Migrants, refugees, and undocumented people want to take care of their families and be active members of their communities. But federal immigration rules tip the scales against them.
We call for a single-tier immigration system, where everyone in the country has the same rights. All migrants, refugees and undocumented people in the country must be regularized and given full immigration status now without exception. All migrants arriving in the future must do so with full and permanent immigration status.
Full immigration status for all is necessary for global justice. COVID-19 has ravaged communities around the world, deepening economic and political crises that are being exploited by governments. Yet, Canada has closed its borders to refugees and families remain separated. Canada must support migrants and refugees here, reunite families, and ensure that no one is forced to leave their homes.
There is a global anti-racist resurgence that is sweeping the country. Violence against, and exclusion of Black communities in particular is being challenged head on. Temporary and precarious migration is racism – it excludes racialized communities from equal rights and protections. Full immigration status for all is necessary for racial justice.
Many migrants are engaged in essential work, ensuring that families and communities are cared for. Yet the majority of this work is low-waged, and the majority of those who do it are racialized and women migrants. This work is necessary not just during a public health crisis, but to transition our economies away from the impending climate catastrophe. Bad employers use immigration status as a tool to divide and pit workers against each other – citizens against non-citizens – to keep wages low and profits high. Full immigration status for all is an essential step towards eliminating inequalities in the workplace and necessary for a transition to a just and sustainable economy of care.
We are all essential. We all deserve full immigration status.
Recovery from COVID-19 calls for a rethinking of the ways in which our communities and our economy is organized. Prime Minister Trudeau: Full Immigration Status for All is just, fair, necessary and urgent. The time is now.
visit : https://migrantrights.ca/status-for-all/
On March 16, 2020, as the COVID crisis was first hitting, we at the Migrant Rights Network called for healthcare, worker rights, income support, access to social services, and immigration status for migrant and undocumented people.
12 months later, we look back and we look ahead. With you, we vow to keep organizing and fighting for full and permanent immigration status for all.
(1) HEALTHCARE FOR ALL: As COVID-19 raged through 2020, migrants won policies in many provinces to ensure access to healthcare and COVID testing. But in many places these policies are not being implemented and migrants continue to be turned away or charged high fees for life-saving care. Today, we are calling on all provinces and the federal government to put in place concrete measures to ensure safe and dignified access without fear to COVID19 vaccinations.
(2) WORKER PROTECTIONS & INCOME SUPPORTS: As a result of our work, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was extended to migrants, a valid Social Insurance Number was made mandatory part way through 2020 to qualify for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). Now with tax season approaching, many migrants are scared of a clawback they cannot afford. We demand a CERB/CRB amnesty.
Without income support, migrant people either faced starvation and eviction, or were forced to work in dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions. Farmworkers, care workers, delivery workers, cleaners and other low-wage workers are called ‘essential’ even as we are excluded from essential rights and protections. But we take care of us: Migrants fundraised, set up mutual aid networks and stepped in when governments failed us. Migrants stood up against bad bosses, organized strikes and raised our voices. We will continue to organize for justice and equality.
(3) STATUS FOR ALL: Fundamentally, a fair society with equal rights for all requires that everyone have the same immigration status. This is why migrants organized over 30 rallies, protests and marches calling for Full & Permanent Immigration Status for All.
In early 2020, the federal government announced a moratorium on deportations because of the pandemic. But the callous practice of deportation continues: by the end of 2020, Canada had deported more people in 2020 than in the previous 5 years. Just this week, a man who contracted COVID while in immigrartion detention was deported despite showing symptoms. Throughout, migrants organized in detention centers, and in Quebec, many secured their own release. Migrant student workers denounced government policies that punished them for the pandemic by letting their permits run out. They won new work permits, a one-time stopgap to the deportation of 52,000 people. But immigration rules continue to exclude low-waged working class people, particularly undocumented workers and those on employer controlled indentureship permits.
(4) SOCIAL SUPPORTS: While some federal, provincial and municipal supports went towards emergency food boxes, it was primarily donations from people like you that allowed migrant groups to feed communities without work. Poor and working class migrants were only able to ward off evictions, get healthcare, childcare or social supports when we united with our neighbours and co-workers to offer real solidarity in the face of deadly policies.
A year into this pandemic, let us re-commit to building a different future together. Talk to your neighbours, friends and co-workers. Raise your voice. Echo and amplify the demands of migrant and undocumented people. Let us build a just world for all of us.
Migrant Rights Network
Migrant Rights Network is Canada’s only cross-country coalition of migrant led organizations and allies with migrant and undocumented membership from coast to coast.
PS: Read and share this post from our website with links: https://migrantrights.ca/march182020/
Follow us on facebook, twitter & instagram and ask your friends to sign on at www.MigrantRights.ca
Migrant Rights Network does not take funding from political parties or corporations - chip in to support our work!
This public policy, which has been in place since July 2020 but was set to expire, recognizes that many temporary residents in Canada have been affected by worldwide health- and travel-related restrictions, and may need to remain in Canada for longer than they anticipated.
Under the public policy, visitors, students and workers whose valid temporary status expired, or expires, between January 30, 2020, and May 31, 2021, will have until August 31, 2021, to restore their status. In addition, the public policy will continue to allow former work permit holders applying for an employer-specific work permit to work while a decision on their restoration application is pending..
For more info please visit : https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/notices/public-policy-extended-restore-status.html?fbclid=IwAR
New recovery benefits
The new recovery benefits are available between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021.
To give Canadians seeking employment the support they need to get back on their feet, the government has made changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program.
EI is now available to more Canadians, including those who would not have qualified for EI in the past, extending coverage to more than 400,000 people. Anyone receiving EI is eligible for a taxable benefit rate of at least $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits, and regular benefits are accessible for a minimum duration of 26 weeks.
Additionally, to ensure that Canadians receive the support they need during these challenging times, 3 new benefits have been implemented:
- The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide $400 per week, for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support and are available and looking for work. This benefit will support anyone residing and present in Canada whose income has dropped or not resumed due to COVID-19.
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week, for up to 2 weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for
- a child under age 12, due to school or daycare closures because of COVID-19
- a family member with a disability, or a dependant, because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19, or
- a child, a family member with a disability, or a dependant who is not attending school, daycare or any other care facility upon the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19
If you need financial assistance after your CERB ends As of September 27, 2020, there are some temporary changes to the EI program to help you access EI benefits. These changes will be in effect for 1 year.
Find out if you qualify
If you received the CERB through Service Canada After you receive your last CERB payment, continue completing reports. In most cases, you do not need to apply for EI benefits. We'll automatically review your file and your Record of Employment, then start a claim for EI regular benefits if you qualify. If you do not qualify, you will be notified by mail.
You will need to apply for EI after your CERB ends if
- you have a social insurance number that starts with a 9
- you are self-employed, or
- you declared that you returned to work full-time on your CERB report
If you received the CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency You need to receive all your CERB payments before applying for EI benefits. You can apply after the end of your last CERB eligibility period. Visit EI benefits and leave to determine which benefit is right for your situation and to apply online.
Apply for Employment Insurance
Canada Recovery Benefit The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.
If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you need to apply again. You may apply for up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021.
For more information, go to Canada Recovery Benefit.
Canada Recovery Benefit:
Frequently asked questions
Read this section in another language Make your selection...لْعَرَبِيَّةُ (PDF, 218KB)فارسی (PDF, 186KB)Italiano (PDF, 78KB)한국어 (PDF, 244KB)Português (PDF, 80KB)ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (PDF, 338KB)简化字 (PDF, 152KB)Español (PDF, 77KB)正體字 (PDF, 286KB)Tiếng Việt (PDF, 199KB)
Who is eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit?
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is available to anyone who is residing and present in Canada for the 2 weeks for which they are applying for the CRB, and
- was at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period
- has a valid social insurance number
- had a total income of at least $5,000 for 2019, 2020 or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which they make their first application for the CRB, from one or more of the following sources:
- employment income
- self-employment income, or
- Employment Insurance (EI) maternity or parental benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan benefits
- meets one of the following conditions for the period for which they are applying:
- stopped work for reasons related to COVID-19, or
- had a reduction of at least 50% in their employment income or self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19,
- was seeking work during the period for which they are applying
- did not place undue restrictions on their availability for work on or after September 27, 2020, unless reasonable to do so
- did not quit their employment or voluntarily ceased to work on or after September 27, 2020
- did not
- fail to return to their employment when it was reasonable to do so, if their employer so requested
- fail to resume self-employment when it was reasonable to do so, or
- decline a reasonable offer to work that would have started during the 2-week period
- was ineligible for EI benefits
- was not in receipt of the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, any EI benefits, or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan benefits.
To encourage people to work, beneficiaries may earn income from employment and/or self-employment while receiving the CRB, as long as they continue to meet the other requirements.
However, to ensure that the CRB helps those who need it most, beneficiaries will need to repay through their income tax return $0.50 of the benefit they receive, for every dollar of net income earned above an annual net income of $38,000 (excluding the amount received for the CRB), up to the total of the CRB they received in a calendar year. Amounts repaid will not be included in taxable income.
Can I receive the Canada Recovery Benefit if I’m not a citizen or a permanent resident?
Yes, as long as you are residing and present in Canada during the period for which you are claiming the benefits and meet the other eligibility criteria.
When can I access the Canada Recovery Benefit?
Unlike the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) payment is retroactive. This means you
- you can only apply for the CRB after the period for which you’re applying has ended, and
- you must apply within 60 days after the period for which you’re applying has ended
The best way to apply for any of the recovery benefits is online, via My Account. However, anyone who does not have access to the Internet can apply using the CRA’s automated toll-free phone lines: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.
To obtain further information on how to apply for the Canada Recovery Benefit visit the transitioning to new benefits Web page.
Can I receive more than one of the recovery benefits between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021?
Yes, as long as you meet the applicable eligibility criteria.
However, you cannot claim more than one of the recovery benefits for a given period.
Also, you may not receive any of the recovery benefits if you are receiving Employment Insurance benefits, provincial maternity or parental benefits, or any other paid leave for the same period.
Can I access any Employment Insurance benefits while receiving the Canada Recovery Benefits?
No. You may not receive any of the recovery benefits at the same time you are receiving any Employment Insurance Benefits, provincial maternity or parental benefits, or any other paid leave.
Once I receive my first payment, can I assume that I will continue to receive my next payments without doing anything?
No, the payments will not continue automatically.
A new application must be submitted for each eligibility period because you must attest that you were unable to work.
How will you decide my tax rate? The Canada Revenue Agency will apply a flat 10% deduction at source for all of the recovery benefits.
How do I know whether to apply for Employment Insurance benefits or the Canada Recovery Benefit?
If you’ve paid Employment Insurance (EI) premiums as an employee, and have at least 120 hours of insurable employment, you are likely eligible for EI benefits and should apply.
If you don’t have the minimum number of hours needed for an EI claim, you may be eligible to receive the Canada Recovery Benefit if you meet the eligibility criteria.
For how many weeks can I receive the Canada Recovery Benefit?
You can receive the Canada Recovery Benefit for up to 26 weeks between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021.
I was receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit until the end of June and then found employment but, although still employed, I am being asked by my employer to work reduced hours.
Am I eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit?
You may be eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit if you have suffered a reduction in income of 50% or more due to COVID-19 and you meet all of the other eligibility criteria.
What constitutes a reduction in income when compared to pre-COVID times? Does a $1 reduction count?
To be eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit while still working, you must have suffered a reduction in average weekly income of at least 50% relative to pre-pandemic levels.
A reduction in income is defined as a reduction in total average employment and self-employment income for the 2-week benefit period compared to your average employment income for a 2-week period the previous year.
To calculate your reduction in average income
- use your annual net income for 2019 or 2020, or the 12-month period prior to your application, and
- divide it by 26 to determine your average earnings for a 2-week period
I’m a seasonal worker. I wasn’t able to work my usual number of hours because of the pandemic, so I do not qualify for Employment Insurance. Am I eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit? If you are not eligible for Employment Insurance, but are unable to work or are working reduced hours due to COVID-19, you could be eligible to receive the Canada Recovery Benefit, as long as you meet all of the other eligibility criteria.
This includes having earned at least $5,000 from employment or self-employment in the previous calendar year, or the 12 months prior to your first application for the Canada Recovery Benefit. You must also be unable to work, or have suffered an income reduction of 50% or more due to COVID-19.
I entered the labour force late in 2019 so was not able to earn $5,000, but I would have been able to earn that much in 2020 if I hadn’t lost my job due to COVID. Do I qualify for the Canada Recovery Benefit? No.
To be eligible to receive the Canada Recovery Benefit, you must have had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020, or in the 12-month period prior to your first application for the CRB.
If I’m paid income after applying for the Canada Recovery Benefit for work done before I applied, does it impact my ability to get the benefit? You may earn income from employment and/or self-employment while receiving the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) as long as you continue to meet the other requirements. This includes earning 50% or less of your previous income for a 2-week period due to COVID-19.
However, you will be required to repay $0.50 of the CRB for every dollar in net income you earn above $38,000 for the year (excluding the CRB amount received). This would include amounts you earned in the year prior to applying for the CRB.
What constitutes the $38,000 in net income I am allowed to earn before I become subject to the repayment requirement?You are allowed to earn up to $38,000 in net income (excluding the Canada Recovery Benefit amount received) before becoming subject to the repayment provision.
What happens if I have net income over $38,000 in the tax year? How will the Canada Recovery Benefits be returned? If you receive the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), you’ll need to repay some or all of the benefit CRB through your income tax return if your annual net income, excluding the CRB payment, is more than $38,000.
In other words, you’d need to repay $0.50 of the CRB for each dollar of your annual net income above $38,000 in the calendar year, to a maximum of the amount of benefit you received.
This will be reconciled when you file your taxes for that calendar year.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit Read this section in another language Make your selection...لْعَرَبِيَّةُ (PDF, 111KB)فارسی (PDF, 104KB) Italiano (PDF, 42KB)한국어 (PDF, 184KB)Português (PDF, 44KB)ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (PDF, 242KB)简化字 (PDF, 104KB)Español (PDF, 42KB)正體字 (PDF, 190KB)Tiếng Việt (PDF, 152KB)The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply for up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021.
For more information, go to Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit Read this section in another language Make your selection...لْعَرَبِيَّةُ (PDF, 107KB)فارسی (PDF, 106KB) Italiano (PDF, 42KB)한국어 (PDF, 186KB) Português (PDF, 43KB)ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (PDF, 247KB)简化字 (PDF, 86KB)Español (PDF, 43KB)正體字 (PDF, 179KB)Tiếng Việt (PDF, 116KB)The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under age 12, or a family member who needs supervised care.
This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply for up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021.
For more information, go to Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.
How financial benefits affect family sponsorship If you collect the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), you are still eligible to sponsor your spouse, parent, grandparent, child or other relative as long as you meet all of the requirements to be a sponsor.
The CERB is not considered social assistance. Collecting the CERB will not make you ineligible to sponsor.
Employment Insurance and the CERB will not cause you to default If the person you sponsored collects Employment Insurance or the CERB during the undertaking period, it will not cause you to default.
However, if the person you sponsored collects social assistance during the undertaking period, you have to repay the amount. If you do not, you will be in default of your undertaking.
Please visit :
Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot
"We’ve received at least 2,750 applications under the Home Child Care Provider pilot. Because of this
- the pilot is closed to new applications for 2020
- we’ll return any other applications we received and refund the fees
We’re not close to reaching the cap for the Home Support Worker Pilot. You can still apply under this pilot. We’ll update this page if and when we close that pilot to new applications for 2020.
For now, you don’t need to contact us about an application you submitted in 2020 under either pilot. We’re still in the process of opening applications now that our offices are open again.
If we accept your application into processing for 2020, we’ll send you a notification letter. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may take longer than usual for you to get the letter."
EXPOSING MIGRANT CARE WORKER EXPLOITATION DURING COVID- 19
Table of Contents:
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION
Stolen Hope: COVID-19 and the Cascade of Crises Experienced by Migrant Care Workers
Summary of Findings
SECTION 2: CANADIAN LAWS THAT CREATE MIGRANT CARE WORKER EXPLOITATION
Care Worker Immigration Programs in Summary
SECTION 3: EXPOSING THE EXPLOITATION OF MIGRANT CARE WORKERS DURING COVID-19
CHAPTER 1: STOLEN LABOUR: WORK AND INCOME DURING COVID-19
- Labour intensification
- Unpaid wages
- Difficulty enforcing rights
- Lost work and limited access to income supports
- Difficulty finding work during COVID-19
- Fear of not finishing 24 month work requirement
- Difficulty meeting language and educational requirements
- Difficulties and delays in permit processing
- Control over housing and movement
- Barred from public transportation
CHAPTER 5: STOLEN TIME: FAMILY SEPARATION AND IMPACT ON CHILDREN
CHAPTER 6: STOLEN HEALTH: HEALTH IMPACTS AND ACCESS TO SERVICES
- Lack of sick leave
- Difficulty accessing medical care
The Change Migrant Care Workers Need Right Now!
- Full and Permanent Immigration Status for All & Landed Status Now
- Interim Measures to Ensure Rights for Migrant Care Workers
- Real access to PR: Reinstate the Interim Pathway with modifications
- Open Work Permits for Migrant Care Workers
- Labour Rights and Income Support
- Healthcare for All
- Ensure Family Unity
- Federal Workers Program (FWP) – Care Worker Stream