Opinion: Our essential workers with precarious status are part of the big Quebec family
Published Friday, November 27, 2020 11:51AM EST Last Updated Saturday, November 28, 2020 7:46PM EST
MONTREAL -- The government has understood that Quebecers need to meet up with family or friends for the holiday season after months of confinement.
Our elected officials, therefore, worked on a plan to allow us to come together despite the associated risks.
Premier Francois Legault justified his decision by explaining that Quebecers need to recharge their batteries and that the family is at the heart of the Quebec nation.
But what about our guardian angels and other workers with precarious immigration status?
They are indeed part of our community, working during the pandemic, with us, our family members, in the field of health, food and supply industries so that we do not miss anything.
After all, it is thanks to them, working in many industries in Quebec, that our supply chains lacked nothing and that shelves remained full.
It is thanks to them, after all, that we will be able to come together for a few days in these difficult times.
Despite a promise to obtain permanent residence for some guardian angels, the program has still not materialized, almost six months after the first negotiations.
It is still impossible for our guardian angels, who nevertheless continue to work courageously with our most vulnerable citizens, to submit a permanent residence file.
It is also still impossible for them to hope for or imagine a family holiday season with their families, many of whom are still abroad.
Indeed, as long as these essential workers do not have permanent status, they will not be able to begin the process to be reunited with their relatives who are still in their country of origin, often living in difficult conditions.
The premier gave hope to essential workers by indicating he was open to expanding the program and gave them a second, even a third wind, to get through these difficult times despite their fatigue.
A few weeks before our family reunions, it seems essential to put this idea back on the table so that a generous program in the size of their bravery is offered to them.
The pandemic has made us realize how difficult it is to be separated from our loved ones.
The government must be consistent and allow workers with precarious status in Quebec who have worked in essential services to access permanent status so that they, too, can finally be reunited with their loved ones.
If Mr. Legault believes the family is indeed at the heart of our nation, then he must understand these workers are part of our family.
- President Guillaume Cliche-Rivard and vice-president Stéphanie Valois of the refuge and humanitarian section, Association québécoise des avocats et avocates en droit de l'immigration