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Canada Emergency Response Benefit Must Support Migrant & Informal Workers

CANADA, March 25, 2020

Migrant and worker rights organizations call on the Cabinet to ensure that comprehensive income supports are immediately accessible to everyone regardless of immigration or previous work status. While legislation is currently being debated in the Senate, the Cabinet is responsible for developing regulations to implement the law.

The newly announced Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) must:
Not exclude workers based on active Social Insurance Numbers or immigration status;
Not require taxes filed or income earned in Canada in 2019 (many migrants just arriving in Canada are being laid off or seeing their hours reduced, other informal sector workers may not have paid taxes in 2019);
Include workers who have seen hours of work or wages reduced but have not been laid off;
Guarantee that no information is shared with immigration enforcement;
Include migrant workers who may choose not to travel to Canada because of health concerns; and Provide a dedicated special delivery mechanism to ensure that workers who cannot or may not access funds delivered through CRA can receive income support.

Workers should not be pitted against each other - workers applying for Employment Insurance or this newly created CERB must get a minimum of $2,000/month.

Migrant Rights Network reiterates our calls for healthcare, worker protections and community supports for all; and an end to detentions and deportations and permanent resident status for all migrants. Migrant Rights Network is available to advise the federal government on how to ensure rights and protections for essential workers in Canada. This call has been endorsed by thousands of people as well the Canadian Labour Congress, Council of Canadians, and 350 Canada.

Migrant leaders, workers, and directly affected workers are available for comment:
National Coordination, Syed Hussan, 416-453-3632, Migrant Workers Alliance
Caregivers Action Centre, Toronto, Diana DaSilva, 647-782-6633
FCJ Refugee Centre, Toronto, Loly Rico, 416-399-5106
Centre des travailleurs et travailleuses immigrant-e-s, Montreal, Français seulment, Ze Benedicte Carole, 450-531-4933
Kelowna Community Resources | RAMA, Central Okanagan, Javier Robles, 250-763-5008 ex. 241 or 250-540-7141
Migrant Workers Alliance - Niagara, Kit Andres, 905-324-2840
Migrante Alberta, Edmonton, Marco Luciano, 780-966-5908
Migrante Manitoba, Winnipeg, Diwa Marcelino, 204-218-7100
Migrante Canada, Toronto, Maria Sol Prieto-Pajadura, 647-919-5421
No One is Illegal - Halifax/K'jipuktuk, Stacey Gomez, 902-999-4459
Sanctuary Health, Vancouver, Byron Cruz, 604-315-7725
Solidarity Across Borders, Montreal, Eloy Rivas, 819 598 4767
Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights, Julie Diesta, 604-874-0649
Workers Action Centre, Toronto, Deena Ladd 416-836-2379
Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto, Justin Kong 416-596-0833 Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Toronto, Nigel Barriffe 416 427 1192
Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network), Toronto, 416-906-3098


Migrant Rights Network Members: Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network), Caregivers' Action Centre, Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto, Centre des travailleuses et travailleurs immigrants, Collaborative Network to End Exploitation, Cooper Institute/PEI Action Team, Fuerza Migrante Vancouver, Migrant Students United, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change*, Migrante Alberta, Migrante BC, Migrante Canada, Migrante Manitoba, Migrante Ontario, Migrant Workers Alliance - Niagara, No One Is Illegal - HalifaxNo One Is Illegal - London, No One Is Illegal - Vancouver, OHIP For All, Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture, Sanctuary Health, Solidarity Across Borders, Vancouver Committee for Domestic Worker and Caregiver Rights, Workers Action Centre. *Migrant Workers Alliance for Change includes Asian Community Aids Services, Durham Region Migrant Solidarity Network, FCJ Refugee House, GABRIELA Ontario, IAVGO Community Legal Clinic, Income Security Advocacy Centre, No One Is Illegal - Toronto, Northumberland Community Legal Centre, OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, PCLS Community Legal Clinic, SALCO Community Legal Clinic, UFCW, UNIFOR and Workers United, as well as a number of organizations listed as separate signatories in this list.

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