Migrant Workers’ Rights on the Table

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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.

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 fees
  • Labour 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

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