CBTU Statement on Pathway to Citizenship for Undocumented Workers

Last week Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship stated his intention to bring forward to cabinet a new program to help undocumented workers in Canada secure a pathway to residency and citizenship. Canada’s Building Trades Unions welcomes Minister Miller’s comments and are prepared to be a leading partner in any proposed program to bring undocumented workers out of the underground economy and into status.

“Unfortunately, there are thousands of undocumented people currently working in Canada’s construction industry,” said Sean Strickland, Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, “Any program that helps bring these workers into the regular economy, where they can be protected from exploitation, pay taxes, and collect benefits is a win.”

Without status, undocumented construction workers frequently live in fear, are exploited, and have limited access to social services or workplace protections. Canada’s Building Trades Unions, in partnership with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), has been involved in out-of-status pilot programs in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada since 2020. These pilot programs have helped 500 out-of-status construction workers in the Greater Toronto Area, and their immediate families, find a pathway to permanent residence. Canada’s Building Trades Unions have called on the government, alongside the Canadian Labour Congress, to expand these pilots and programs Canada-wide.

“We look forward working with the government as it moves from pilot to full-fledged program to address both undocumented workers, and the underground economy they are exploited by. We are hopeful that these workers, once given status, will be joining our members in union halls across the country,” continued Strickland.


Media Contact

Nathan Carr, Public Affairs Manager, ncarr@buildingtrades.ca

About CBTU

Canada’s Building Trades Unions are an alliance of 14 international unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries that collectively represent over 600,000 skilled trades workers in Canada. Each year, our unions and our signatory contractor partners invest over $300 million in private sector money to fund and operate over 175 apprenticeship training and education facilities across Canada that produce the safest, most highly trained and productive skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world. Canada’s Building Trades Unions represent members who work in more than 60 different trades and occupations, and generate six per cent of Canada’s GDP. For more information, go to www.buildingtrades.ca.

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