Published on February 21, 2022
This morning, migrant care workers of Caregivers' Action Centre - Migrant Workers Alliance for Change who take care of children, sick and the elderly visited Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office in Toronto.
We brought with us nearly 200 photos of migrant families who are separated from their loved ones as many provinces mark Family Day.
While people across the country are spending time today with those closest to them, millions of migrants including care workers like us are kept apart. We live here, and we take care of communities but we are missing birthdays, funerals and anniversaries because we are denied immediate permanent resident status.
We sent these family photos to every Member of Parliament in Canada, with the message: “You love your family, so do we. Families belong together. Speak up for full and permanent immigration status for all. Let us love our loved ones.”
We know that urgent action is needed. Despite multiple promises and announcements to fix the gap, over 16,000 migrant care workers are stuck in a backlog. We have been separated from their families for years, well before COVID-19 disrupted processing, and we are hearing no answers.
Tina Weeska, a migrant care worker who has been waiting for permanent residency since August 2018, says, “I miss my family so much! It is my dream to bring them here to Canada as soon as possible so we can work, study, live together and be settled. But I cannot sponsor my son because he is considered too old. This is the saddest thing for me. This long separation is ridiculous, why does it take so long to process a PR application?”
While some of us wait, many of the 1.6 million migrant workers, students, refugees, families and undocumented people in Canada cannot apply for permanent residency because of unfair rules. Without PR, we cannot apply for family reunification visas, or even visitor permits for our family members under current immigration law.
Queen, a non-status Caribbean long-term care worker, has been in Canada for over ten years. During this time, she lost her husband, great aunt, brother and father. She says, “I will never hold them again, share their laughter over a meal or talk about future plans. My last conversation with my dad was via video. I couldn't hug him, comfort him in any way as he departed this earth. How is this fair? Permanent resident status for all 1.6 million migrants presently in Canada without documentation or caught in backlogs is mandatory.”
We will keep taking action, join us!