Undocumented migrants have a solution to the labor shortage: Status for all

Saturday, December 4, 2021
12 noon,
In front of the office of Premier Legault, corner of McGill College and Sherbrooke (métro McGill)

For months the media have been talking about a labour crisis in Canada and especially Quebec. We have a very simple solution: Status for all!

We, undocumented migrants and other migrants with precarious status – foreign students, refugees, temporary foreign agricultural and domestic workers – live in extreme vulnerability. Many of us are forced to work without a work permit, and work in difficult even dangerous and extremely exploitive conditions. Others cannot work because, without a work permit, without access to training, it is very difficult to find stable work. Yet you say there is a labor shortage …

Mr. Legault, we exist, we work and we live here.

The situation became very clear when you turned towards workers from outside Canada and not to us to fill the labour gap: there is an intention to continue to exploit us as workers with precarious status. And it became even clearer with the wave of deportations that recently started in Quebec: instead of giving us – already at home here, despite the injustice of the immigration system that excludes us – the opportunity to stay to fill the labour shortage, you prefer to deport us or force us to become undocumented, working underground, easy to exploit.

Even the tiny regularization program supposedly meant to thank CHSLD workers was so badly managed that hardly anyone benefited, not even many CHSLD workers! But we haven’t forgotten that, since the pandemic began, thousands of people with precarious status in Canada were on the frontlines to provide for the needs of Canadian and Quebec citizens. Mr. Legault, while you were all confined and benefiting from emergency subsidies, many of us worked very hard. Many of us have no RAMQ, no work permit, no peaceful living conditions. Thanks to such people, the Canadian and Quebec economy did not stop. Mr. Legault, we’ve been here for years, we are Quebeckers too; and we are tired of being excluded from all your programs, tired of being exploited!

We are not against other migrant workers coming here! But, we are against our own exploitation, and we are against the ignorance and racism that lead you to exclude us from your plans.

Our struggle will continue until we win. We are simply asking to be treated with full human dignity. Status for all!