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Council of Canadians opposes Harper’s “four and four” rule for migrant workers

On April 1, the Harper government will begin implementing its new “four and four” rule for temporary foreign workers in so-called low-skilled industries (such as retail, food and manufacturing) and Live-In Caregivers. That rule says that migrant workers who have been employed in Canada for more than four years must leave the country and that they cannot return for another four years.

The Harper government’s four and four rule does not increase the low wages paid to these migrant workers. It also doesn’t address the difficult and often dangerous working conditions faced by many temporary workers. Nor does it improve the monitoring of the businesses that employ migrant workers. And it doesn’t facilitate a process for “temporary” workers to become permanent citizens. Instead, this new rule creates a revolving door with exploited workers being replaced every four years by another group of exploited workers.

The Campaign Against the 4 Year Limit on Migrant Workers says, “Working in Canada for four years proves that the workers are needed, and that their work is permanent. These friends and community members deserve permanent resident, not deportation. This 4 and 4 rule entrenched a revolving door immigration policy, employers can simply replace current with new workers.”

The Council of Canadians is opposed to this Harper government policy as are many other organizations such as the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (which includes Unifor and Kairos), the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, and No One Is Illegal. We believe in justice and dignity for all workers. We want to see immigration not exploitation.

We support these four demands:

  1. An end to the 4 & 4 rule so migrant workers can continue to work here.

  2. Grant migrant workers in Canada permanent residency.

  3. Ensure migrant worker access to all social benefits and entitlements

  4. Enact legislation to grant permanent residency for all migrants upon arrival.

To sign a petition to oppose the Harper government’s four and four rule, please click here.

The Council of Canadians will be present at a rally outside Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s constituency office in Toronto on March 4 at 1 pm. For more information on that protest, click here. We will also be supporting rallies being planned across the country for March 29 to April 1. For more about the Campaign Against the 4 Year Limit on Migrant Workers, click here.

Further reading
Council of Canadians endorses Transportation not Deportation campaign (January 2015 blog)
Toronto declares itself a sanctuary city, rejects Harper agenda (February 2013 blog)