July 24, 2024 4:42 AM

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Lack of Consensus Hinders Progress on Undocumented Workers’ Status in Canada

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has revealed a division within the Liberal party regarding the provision of status to undocumented individuals in Canada. 

During an interview with CBC’s The House, Miller expressed support for the idea from both humanitarian and economic perspectives but noted the absence of a broad consensus. 

Canada hosts an estimated 20,000 to 500,000 undocumented individuals. Some overstayed their temporary status, while others remained after asylum claims were denied. 

In 2021, the Liberal Party committed to exploring ways to regularize the status of undocumented workers contributing to Canadian communities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized the need for a dual approach: creating pathways to regularization and citizenship for some while accelerating deportation proceedings for others. 

Trudeau reiterated this stance in May 2024, highlighting the integrated nature of undocumented individuals within Canadian society.

Workers’ unions and advocacy groups have been vocal in supporting the regularization of undocumented immigrants. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) raised concerns about the impending expiration of the Migrant Care Worker Program on June 17, 2024. 

This expiration risks leaving thousands of workers undocumented. CUPW called on the federal government to establish a clear path to permanent residency for migrant workers and their families.

Jan Simpson, CUPW’s National President, urged the government to act promptly to avoid empowering xenophobic elements in society. She also suggested creating an interim program allowing migrant caregivers to apply for permanent residency without needing educational accreditation or language test scores. 

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