We cannot leave anyone behind
This is a call to include all people with precarious immigration status in all emergency benefits and measures for housing, health services, education, employment and income support during the present health crisis.
There has been a significant response to support Canadians. The Canadian Government’s Economic Response Plan was implemented to support workers and businesses facing unprecedented challenges – including those not eligible for the Employment Insurance (EI) program and those without paid sick leave. While we applaud these supports, there are glaring gaps. People who fall between the cracks are some of our most vulnerable community members.
Many marginalized and oppressed people who walk through the doors at Refugee and Migrant support centres across the country, find themselves in need of support. Now, in light of COVID-19, the situation for these communities is increasingly unbearable.
Most migrant workers, refugees (claimants and rejected claimants) and non-status individuals are ineligible to apply for current supports. They do not qualify for EI and Canadian Revenue Agency managed programs. Often, they are paid at minimum wage, some even below. International students are already restricted to the number of hours they can work per week, limiting their access to EI.
More than 30 community organizations and groups in Ontario endorsed an Open Letter in Solidarity with Migrant Workers, Non-Status individuals and their families as community workers, organizers, volunteers, teachers, students and residents of Ontario, Canada.
In unique times like this, Canadians must come together and not leave anyone behind.\
To read the complete letter: