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.
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.
Join us for a presentation in English / Patois on Youtube Live. Hosted by the Migrant Worker Rights Working Group.
Local organizations that advocate for migrants are worried that undocumented residents will miss out on vaccination in Nova Scotia. “We have heard that the vaccine roll out is going to be done through MSI. And this would exclude undocumented people, and others who don’t have access to MSI, people who might fall through the cracks as a result of this,” says Stacey Gomez, a spokesperson for No One Is Illegal Halifax / Kjipuktuk.
Migrant workers in Canada have suffered tremendously during COVID-19. Throughout the past year, migrant workers across the country rallied and demanded permanent status for all as the solution to their exploitation.
Press release: Civil society organizations across the country, along with leading doctors, health policy experts, and labour leaders, are sounding the alarm about the possibility of hundreds of thousands of people not being vaccinated against COVID-19 because of their immigration status.
Shavan is a father of three from Jamaica who’s been coming to Nova Scotia as a migrant farm worker for eight years. This past year, his bunkhouse was overrun with large rats. He says, “I know that’s not part of Canada’s standards.” Even during the heatwave over the summer, Shavan and other migrant workers were working 10-hour days in the blistering sun for minimum wage.
As we brace for the second wave of COVID-19, Stacey Gomez, Asaf Rashid, Jessica Tellez and Wanda Thomas call for uregnt action to end systemic racism faced by migrant workers.
PSA: Join us for a screening of the groundbreaking documentary “El Contrato” (The Contract), directed by Min Sook Lee. This film follows the story of Teodoro and other migrant workers who come from Mexico to work in tomato greenhouses in Leamington, Ontario. We’ll also hear the story of Shavan, a father of three from Jamaica who’s been coming to Nova Scotia as a migrant farm worker for 8 years (through a pre-recorded interview). This will be followed by Q & A discussion.
The migrant justice group No one is illegal – Halifax/K’jipuktuk has published responses by Halifax council candidates to a survey on migrant rights. In total, 27 of 82 council candidates responded from 13 of the 16 districts in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). None of the mayoral candidates responded.