Today, March 31st, is the 55th anniversary of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). Today marks over half a century of injustice, indignities and exploitation of Black and Latinx people by Canada’s agri-food industry.
This brutality has always been met with organized opposition. The first recorded wildcat strike organized by migrant farm workers was in 1967, less than a year after the program was created.
Today hundreds of farmworker members of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change are holding simultaneous meetings at 80+ farms to light candles of resistance and make plans to fight for Full and Permanent Immigration Status for All.
You can support this massive show of worker power by sharing a photo of your own flame of resistance posting online and tagging us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with #StatusforAll. Speak out today and pledge to support our upcoming four days of action in 2021.
SAWP followed the creation of the Caribbean Domestic Workers scheme in 1955. These two programs laid the foundation for temporariness in the immigration system. Subsequent governments have only grown these programs.
Today, over 850,000 temporary study and work permits are issued in Canada each year. Most people on these programs are low-waged and racialized. We live and work here but are excluded from labour rights, healthcare, access to education and other social supports. We are separated from our families. Most of us can never get permanent residency and are forced to stay in Canada without any immigration status, and even fewer rights.
Enough is enough. Today on the 55th anniversary of the SAWP program, we demand an end to temporariness. We demand an equal society and that means permanent immigration status for everyone.
In 2021, the Migrant Rights Network are organizing 4 Days of Action for Status for All, and they need you. Join them on:
- May 9 (Mothers’ Day)
- June 20 (Fathers Day)
- July 18-25 (Non-Status March from Montreal to Ottawa)
- September 18 (Parliament returns)
As Hady Anne for Solidarity Across Borders in Montreal said this weekend announcing the March to Ottawa: “We are not here to talk about what is possible… We are here to talk about what human dignity and justice require, what we must do to stop the destruction of the world. From 18 July to 25 July, we will take the road to Ottawa to demand Status for All. Mr. Trudeau, we are tired of waiting. We’re coming.”