An international migrant is any person who has changed his or her country of residence1. Each year millions of people move from one country to another, some by choice and others out of necessity.
Some migrants may choose to settle in Canada permanently, becoming permanent residents and eventually becoming citizens while others are in Canada temporarily as Non-Permanent Residents (NPRs). These NPRs can include students in Canada on study permits or temporary foreign workers who have work permits.
According to Statistics Canada, as of “July 1, 2023, an estimated 2,198,679 non-permanent residents lived in Canada, a 46% increase from the same date one year prior (1,500,978). This represents the largest year-over-year increase in the population of non-permanent residents living in Canada since comparable data are available (1971/1972), with the increase in work and study permits accounting for most of the change in the last year.” 2
As we approach International Migrants Day on December 18, let us pause to reflect on the contributions of migrants, the many challenges they face, as well as how we can ensure their rights are protected while they live alongside us in Canada.
Over the years, the Canadian government has made attempts to implement policies that better protect the rights of migrants. Some of the most recent changes include a guide for temporary foreign workers, titled Temporary Foreign Workers: Your rights are protected, to ensure that individuals know about their rights while in Canada.
The guide emphasizes that temporary foreign workers have many of the same rights and protections afforded to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. The guide also includes information on accessing health care, among other services.
In our role as child welfare professionals, we may provide service to clients who are temporary foreign workers and, in many cases, they may not be aware of their rights in Canada. We can assist them by letting them know that this guide exists.
Collectively and individually, we can each contribute to the positive experiences of migrants by learning more about the issues migrants face and doing our part to highlight these issues and help provide resources to help them navigate their daily lives whilst in Canada.
For further reading:
To learn more about the guide or to share it with your clients please visit the website: Temporary foreign workers: Your rights are protected - Canada.ca
About the Author:
Celistine Frampton is a Child Protection Worker and Immigration Specialist at Peel Children’s Aid Society in the Child Welfare Immigration Centre of Excellence. Celistine holds a diploma in Journalism and a Bachelors of Social Work Degree. She has a passion for writing, research and advocacy work.