December 18 is International Migrants Day.
We pray for all migrant workers and their families. We give thanks for the many contributions of migrant workers in Canada.
We pray that decision makers will support legislation that opens pathways to permanent residency for migrant workers as well as better protection of their rights.
The world we live in today is shaped significantly by global migration. Each year, millions of people are on the move for a variety of social, economic or conflict-related reasons. A significant portion of those who leave their home for a far-away place each year are migrant workers, many of whom come and live and work in Canada.
Migrant workers contribute significantly to Canadian society and economy, but are too often left vulnerable with insufficient legal protections. Many workers must rely on their employers for housing, access to health care and community services. Workers can face long hours and gruelling conditions where exploitation and abuse can occur. When it does, there is often no clear path to remedy for fear of job loss or deportation. Provinces do not have consistent or sufficient legislation to safeguard the rights of migrant workers. Furthermore, workers’ situations have become even more complex and tenuous as a result of impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada has a history of advocating for the rights of migrant workers. Most recently, the church has urged the Government of Canada to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and to ratify the International Labour Organization’s Domestic Workers Convention No. 189 (establishing worldwide standards and protections for domestic workers; A&P 2021).
What can you do?
- Learn about what is being done to address the difficulties migrant workers face today; you can find comprehensive information through KAIROS’ Migrant Justice program
- Contact your elected officials about Canada ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the International Labour Organization’s Domestic Workers Convention No. 189. A letter template is available to download and use here.
- You can also read an ecumenical letter advocating that the government develop pathways to permanent residency for migrant workers and processes to regularize undocumented migrant workers to better protect worker’s rights and decrease opportunities for exploitation.
- Learn more about actions and positions the church has taken on migrant worker justice on the Social Action Hub.