Dear Minister Fraser,
We write to you today as leaders of Anglican and Lutheran churches in Canada to call on the Government of Canada to introduce a just and comprehensive regularization program for undocumented persons in Canada. Nearly 500 000 individuals in Canada are living without valid immigration or residency status, and enacting a robust regularization program would allow greater personal and economic security for migrants and contribute to strengthening the whole of Canadian society.
Together, our churches offer programs and supports to thousands of newcomers to Canada, including those without legal immigration status. These ministries have made us keenly aware of the particular challenges faced by migrants of all varieties as they work to make a home in a new country. While the reasons that individuals may find themselves without status vary greatly, all undocumented persons are made more vulnerable to economic exploitation and more likely to experience discrimination in housing and services. People without status are vulnerable to abuse by employers and live with the ongoing possibility of deportation and, in many cases, family separation.
The Government of Canada has an opportunity to address these injustices through the introduction of a new, comprehensive regularization program that opens a path to permanent residency for all migrants currently living in Canada. In his mandate letter to you in December 2021, the Prime Minister called on you to explore ways of regularizing status for undocumented workers. Regularization has been an important policy tool in addressing precarious immigration status in many countries around the world, and this government has an historic opportunity to build on previous Canadian programs and offer a pathway to status for all migrants living in our communities across Canada.
We join with undocumented migrants, migrant serving organizations, faith communities, and other civil society stakeholders in calling for a robust regularization program with a clear path to status for undocumented persons in Canada. This program will not only strengthen Canadian society, but it will also be a crucial policy tool to help protect the human rights of migrants living and working in Canada, working to keep them safe from abuse, exploitation, and poverty. We look forward to hearing how the Government of Canada will take action on this important issue.
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Most Reverend Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada