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Rights, Faith and Policy: A Public Forum on Migrant Worker Issues

Forum Report Available Now

Posted: Thursday 27th April 2017 15:56

On March 27, more than 70 people attended a forum in Charlottetown to hear about and discuss the contributions of migrant workers to PEI communities, the ways in which community groups are standing in solidarity and supporting workers, and the gaps in federal and provincial policies affecting migrant workers. The report of the forum is now available - please read and share!

Rights, Faith and Policy - a Public Forum on Migrant Worker Issues - March 27, 2017

The forum proved to be an excellent opportunity for participants to increase their understanding of the situation of migrant workers in Prince Edward Island, and the barriers they face in realizing their rights as community members, workers and residents of this province. For much of the day participants were divided into three streams – policy, community solidarity and faith communities – to share information, identify challenges and develop ideas for actions to tackle those challenges and support migrant workers to have their rights recognized. After a day of listening and discussing, participants said they were leaving the forum feeling energized, grateful and inspired to take action. Read the whole report here.


Throughout the day it became clear that there were many issues to be addressed. People said they wanted to get involved. These recommendations emerged from the discussions:

·      Organize an annual day of action & awareness, perhaps on May 1st (International Workers’ Day)

·      Involve more workers in the Migrant Workers Action Team

·      Advocate for stronger legislation to regulate recruiters

·      Keep track of workers who are applying for LMIAs – help workers find other work

·      Call for a review of the Employment Standards Act, and ask for meaningful public consultation

·      Share this report with all MLAs

·      Meet with the Health Minister, to advocate for complete healthcare coverage for workers

·      Establish a Maritimes-wide network on migrant worker rights

·      Create opportunities to better understand legislation and policies and advocate for change


Federal Policy Recommendations

·      Lower the fee and make the process faster for Labour Market Impact Assessments

·      Remove the caps (number of migrant workers each employer is allowed to hire)

·      Open Work Permits, not tied to one employer

·      Give Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) workers access to Employment Insurance

·      Access to permanent residency (through the Provincial Nominee Program)


Provincial Policy Recommendations

·    Access to Permanent Residency - through the Provincial Nominee Program

·      Labour laws to cover agricultural workers

·      Legislation that defines acceptable work and living space

·      “Worker Recruitment and Protection Act” to address recruitment/fees

·      Healthcare Coverage for all migrant workers as soon as they arrive

·      Housing – regulations about how much can be charged, housing conditions and safety