Stacey Gomez: There are migrant workers who want to be vaccinated and who haven’t yet received their first dose. At the same time, there are migrant workers who are being pressured to get the vaccine. For this racialized workforce with precarious immigration status, vaccine access is an urgent issue of racial inequity that must be addressed.

Migrant Rights Network is releasing a report comprising testimonies, surveys, photographs and demands for change in housing from 453 migrant farmworkers across Canada. The report also puts forward migrant worker demands for basic human rights that must be at the core of any national housing standards, and yet are shockingly absent from the government’s proposals: privacy, space, quality of life, family unity and worker control.

Media release: In Lunenburg County, Mexican migrant workers play an important role in planting and cultivating Christmas trees that are exported throughout the province, country and globally. In this virtual event, we will hear the story of one such migrant worker, Felix Muñoz, and his longstanding friendship with pastor Samuel Jess. They will share insights on how Nova Scotians can build bridges with migrant workers, despite the language barriers that sometimes exist.

SInce at least late February migrant justice advocates and health experts have been asking the province to implement specific measures ensure that migrants, including people without migration status, refugee claimants, international students and migrant workers, all have full access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting the province to pay attention continues to be an uphill battle.

Media release: In January 2021, Dr. Strang indicated that migrant workers would be included in Phase 2 of the provincial COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan. This was based on the recognition that migrant workers living in congregate settings are a vulnerable population in Nova Scotia. Moreover, the province’s vaccine plan prioritizes essential workers. However, the Working Group estimates that the majority of migrant workers have not yet been able to receive their first dose of the vaccine due to a number of barriers in the province’s current vaccine plan that make it especially difficult for them to do so.

Providing access for migrant workers, refugee claimants, and international students within their first year of study, as well as those whose status may have lapsed, is key to ensuring an authentically universal and encompassing vaccine rollout and therefore, to safeguarding the public from extended and future Coronavirus outbreaks. And yet, there remain a number of significant barriers to meaningful universal access.

Open letter to the NS government: We are writing to express our concerns about the lack of physical access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food for migrant workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, including those in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, while in quarantine. These concerns are based on regular accounts we have been receiving from Jamaican and Mexican migrant workers.

Status for all means permanent residency for all temporary migrant workers and their families who live in Canada with precarious legal status. Temporary migrant workers include international students, refugee claimants, temporary foreign workers in low-wage occupations and migrants classified as high-skilled in the International Mobility Program. It also includes non-status migrants.

An open letter to Minister Zach Churchill of Health and Wellness asks that the province remove barriers that may stop migrant workers with temporary status, refugee claimants, and others with precarious legal status from accessing a COVID-19 vaccine. We speak with two of the letter’s authors. They’re not asking for much, but small changes would make a huge difference, they say.