While workers all over the world celebrated labor day at the start of May, up to half a million undocumented workers in Canada — live in fear of being deported because they have lost their status.
The Migrant Workers Centre said although these workers came to Canada legally because of the COVID-19 crisis.
They are not able to renew their work permits or are unable to go home.
The Migrant Workers Centre is now spearheading a campaign for a general amnesty for all undocumented workers in Canada.
Drolet said this would allow undocumented workers to apply for an open work permit, while waiting for their permanent residency to be granted.
They can also continue to work in essential services without fear or being arrested or deported.
Various filipino groups have expressed support for the amnesty call.
But Migrante Alberta stressed that right now, what these workers need urgently is access to income support like the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit, employment insurance and rent subsidy.
But to get income support, undocumented workers need to get temporary social insurance numbers, because of their expired work permits.
Marco Luciano said many workers fear, this move will make it easier for authorities to track and deport them.
“Hesitant yung ating mga kababayan, until na talagang mismong gobyerno ang magsasabi na “you know, this is a, you don’t have to fear, you can access without fear of deportation, of repercussion, in the time of COVID.”
‘You know, this is, ahh, you don’t have to fear, you can access without fear of deportation, of repercussion, in the time of COVID.”
Aside from the lack of income support, thousands of undocumented workers in alberta do not have access to health care.
Migrante Alberta launched a “Healthcare For All” petition so everyone can get medical care in the time of COVID-19.
“Your situation could possibly be troubled and if you’re a carrier, and you can’t be tested, you’re not given the right medical support. You could contribute to the spread (of COVID-19), that’s why healthcare for all, as a first step, is a public health benefit,” said Cesar Cala, organizer, Filipinos Rising for Inclusion and Equity to nurture democracy.
Those interested in helping undocumented workers can get in touch with the Migrant Workers Centre, the Philippine Emergency Task Force, FRIENDS, Migrante or other church-based groups.