September 16, 2022 / Toronto - OCASI wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser to call for an immigration status regularization program that will leave no one behind. Read our letter below:
Dear Prime Minister and Minister Fraser,
Re: Immigration Status Regularization - Permanent Residence For All
OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants welcomes your government’s promise to introduce a regularization program for undocumented migrants – stated in the mandate letter of the Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship and encouraged by a unanimous Parliamentary motion calling for a program to be introduced by Fall 2022.
OCASI is the umbrella organization and collective voice of the Ontario immigrant and refugee serving sector. We have 240 member agencies across the province. OCASI works to achieve equality, access and full participation for immigrants and refugees in every aspect of Canadian life. We have consistently advocated for and worked to advance equity and fairness for refugees and migrants in Canada. We have long advocated for an open and inclusive immigration status regularization program – a program that leaves no one behind.
Many people in Canada have no immigration status or only precarious status. The reasons are many, and often related to barriers and delays in immigration and refugee laws and practices. Many of those with precarious or no status are racialized and many are women. This Fall, your government has a historic opportunity to introduce a long overdue change to create a permanent, comprehensive, inclusive and accessible regularization program. We urge you to introduce a program that will extend permanent residence to 1.7 million refugees and migrants, including 500,000 undocumented migrants – thus giving equal rights to all, rather than a small and restrictive program that will give permanent residence for just a few.
We urge you to implement the recommendations in the comprehensive regularization proposals from Canadian Council for Refugees and the Migrant Rights Network. Both organizations propose a comprehensive program that will include every person in Canada without immigration status or precarious status, is built on a human rights framework, and leaves no one behind. OCASI is a member of both networks and wholeheartedly supports both proposals.
People without immigration status are part of our communities, yet they are made invisible and are vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and abuse. They cannot access rights at work, school or elsewhere, access services or basic healthcare. The situation that confronts us is urgent and critical.
We urge you to act without delay, consider the proposals referenced above and implement a comprehensive program that will let people without immigration status become full participants in society and lead a life of visibility and human dignity.
Janet Madume, Chair
Debbie Douglas, Executive Director