May 22nd 2020
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0A6

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality
The Honourable François Legault, Prime Minister of Quebec


Dear Premier Minister Trudeau,

Without any guarantee of being able to stay in Canada after the pandemic, migrant women with a precarious immigration status put their lives at risk each day working in “essential services.” They take care of elderly and sick Canadian citizens, put food on our table, deliver our packages, and stock our shelves. Without them, our battle against COVID-19 is futile. Without them, the pandemic would have taken many more lives.

These women, who include refugee claimants, temporary workers, caregivers, and those without status, are most often racialized women fleeing violence and are among some of the most socially and economically marginalized members of our society.

Are migrant women’s contributions meaningless? Are their lives of lesser value than those of Canadian citizens?
The least that we can do is to offer them the certainty of staying in Canada.

Our coalition of feminist organisations in Quebec is one out of the many actors who are all demanding the same thing: permanent residency for essential workers. We strongly believe that this is a human rights issue that deserves a humanitarian response. We are calling on you, as the leader of the federal government, to regularize the status of migrant women working in essential services, across the country, including in the province of Quebec by any means necessary.

As a coalition, we deplore the recent comments of Premier Ministre Francois Legault, who characterized refugee claimants as “illegal” and relied on the tired rhetoric of “following the rules” that dismisses the legitimacy of our call for permanent residency for essential workers with a precarious immigration status. Such an attitude is beyond shameful, especially from the leader of the province that is the hardest hit by COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the public health crisis, the Premier Legault has repeatedly highlighted the serious shortage of health care workers, especially when it comes to orderlies (PAB) in elderly care institutions.
And if migrant women weren’t there to care for us? How many more lives would be lost?

M. Legault would rather call in the armed forces and thousands of volunteers than give migrant women – who are already integrated into our society and working as orderlies and in other essential services – the chance to stay in Quebec permanently.

Not only is this an unsustainable solution to a crisis that our country will undoubtedly have to face in the foreseeable future, but it is a completely unjust and illogical response to the very people who are risking their lives for all of us.

As a nation, we all have moral debt towards our so-called “guardian angels.” As such, we implore the federal government to take action to regularize the status of migrant women working in essential services.

Considering all the above, we demand the following actions:

• We demand that the Premier Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, issue permanent residency status to migrant women who work in essential services.

• We demand that the Premier Minister of Quebec, Francois Legault, issue a Quebec Certificate of Selection (CSQ) to all migrant women working in essential services so that they may stay in Quebec.


The Feminist Coalition for Migrant Women

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