Migrant Workers

Public Forums on Migrant Workers

Living and Thriving (2018)

In April, 2018, seventy people from community and faith organizations and government joined migrant workers for a full day of presentations and discussion aimed at increasing our collective understanding of the challenges faced by migrant workers living in PEI.

SUMMARY

Seventy people from Island community and faith organizations and from government departments joined a group of migrant workers for a full day of presentations and discussion aimed at increasing our collective understanding of the challenges faced by migrant workers living in this province. We heard from migrant workers, experts in federal and provincial policy, and organizations working to promote the rights of migrant workers. The theme was food sovereignty, and the role migrant workers play in our food system. Out of the conversations there emerged many ideas for advocacy and policy and actions to support migrant workers to be treated fairly and recognized for the important roles they play in our economy.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Throughout the day there emerged several recommendations for policy work and actions.

Federal Policy Recommendations

  • Expand eligibility for IRCC-funded settlement services to include migrant workers
  • End Closed Work Permits – make Work Permits OPEN, not tied to one employer
  • Employment Standards coverage for Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) workers
  • Access to Permanent Residency for all workers

Provincial Policy Recommendations

  • Legislation that: requires registration of employers; licenses recruiters; and bans recruitment feesLabour laws to cover agricultural workers
  • Legislation that defines acceptable work and living space
  • Proactive enforcement of legislation and anti-reprisals mechanism
  • Funding for support services for migrant workers including language training
  • Systematic distribution of information on rights, recourses and services
  • Encourage permanent residence through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Provincial healthcare coverage for all migrant workers on arrival

Recommendations for Immediate Action

These recommendations for immediate action emerged from the discussions:

  • Create a report indicating where workers are coming from and where they are working in PEI, highlighting the experiences of some of the workers
  • Ask Government to develop a registry to make sure we know where all the workers are in PEI
  • Involve PEI migrant workers in national & local advocacy networks
  • Challenge the PEI government to establish legislation specific to migrant workers
 

Read the whole report here: Living & Thriving Migrant Worker forum 2018

 


Rights, Faith and Policy (2017)

In March, 2017 Cooper Institute and the PEI Action Team for Migrant Workers' Rights organized a one-day forum on rights, faith and policy.

Recommendations

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 and 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

Full report: Rights, Faith and Policy - A public forum on migrant worker issues


Equal in Dignity, Equal in Rights (2016)

In April, 2016, we held a very successful forum on migrant worker rights - Equal in Dignity, Equal in Rights. Read the full report.