January 23, 2021
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Newly-formed Alliance for Gender Justice in Migration calls on Federal Government to create gender-responsive regularization program for undocumented people in Canada
Vancouver – the Alliance for Gender Justice in Migration today sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the 14 members of the Cabinet Committee on Economy, Inclusion and Climate “B” to urge the Federal Government to introduce a gender-responsive regularization program for undocumented people in Canada, and to prioritize this issue during the Liberal cabinet ministers retreat in Hamilton this week.
The Alliance for Gender Justice in Migration was formed to identify trends and promote policy solutions aimed at ending discrimination against women and gender-diverse migrants in Canada. It is a network of people with lived experience, academics, advocates, and service providers across Canada who are actively working together to end discrimination against women and gender-diverse migrants. The Alliance conducts research, develops policy solutions, raises public awareness, and advocates for change by centering the voices of those with lived experience.
Esel Panlaqui, National Coordinator for the Alliance says, “a national regularization program must be developed with an intersectional gender-based lens that takes into account systemic inequities faced by women and gender-diverse migrants. This is in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+).”
The evolving landscape of Canadian migration programs creates and maintains precarious immigration statuses that result in many people living in Canada falling out of status. The lack of pathways to permanent residence creates barriers to and challenges for equitable inclusion in Canadian society for women and gender-diverse individuals, who are over-represented in low-paid occupations and face greater risk of gender-based violence.
The letter provides recommendations towards the commitment of the Federal Government to introduce a regularization program for undocumented people in Canada, as stated in Prime Minister Trudeau’s mandate letter to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), Sean Fraser, on December 16, 2021. The program is being developed by the Cabinet Committee on Economy, Inclusion and Climate “B.”
The Alliance for Gender Justice in Migration calls on the Federal Government to:
- Implement a short-term regularization program for undocumented people with clear and simple program criteria that is not discretionary, and with procedural safeguards to ensure that migrants are not at risk of deportation if they apply for such a program while their application is being processed.
- In addition to a short-term regularization program, create longer-term pathways to permanent residence that address the root causes that lead to precarious immigration status in Canada in the first place.
- Ensure that language testing or onerous education requirements are not required.
- Include those who have been through the refugee determination system – whether their claims are pending or were refused.
- Prioritize immediate access to permanent residence for those experiencing gender-based violence or labour exploitation.
- Repeal immigration regulations (e.g., ss. 183 (1) (b.1) and 196.1(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations) and Ministerial Orders pertaining to migrants without permanent status working in the sex industry and ease work permit restrictions for all temporary foreign workers.