RAMA Okanagan is one of several groups calling for permanent status for undocumented individuals, international students and seasonal agricultural workers. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

RAMA Okanagan is one of several groups calling for permanent status for undocumented individuals, international students and seasonal agricultural workers. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Okanagan group calls for inclusive COVID-19 recovery plan

RAMA Okanagan wants full immigration status as part of COVID-19 recovery

Advocacy groups in B.C. took to the streets on Friday, Sept. 18 demanding permanent status for migrants, undocumented individuals, international students, temporary workers, and anyone in Canada who doesn’t have permanent status.

In Kelowna, Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA) Okanagan members put up signs on the Harvey Avenue overpass for drivers to see. Other similar groups held events in Vancouver on Friday as well.

RAMA Okanagan member Robyn Bunn said those without permanent status in Canada have fallen through the cracks, especially since COVID-19 hit.

“We’re part of a coalition that fights for migrant rights and justice and we’ve seen COVID-19 really expose some of the gaps and some of the failings of our country in supporting and making sure folks have access to health care and all the other support and benefits that other Canadians and permanent residents have,” she said.

“So we’re asking for migrants not to be forgotten in this recovery.”

The group’s ask comes as the federal government puts together an economic recovery plan, which will be unveiled during the throne speech on Sept. 23.

Bunn said what they want to see happen is for those coming into the country and those who are already in Canada but don’t have permanent status, to be given full immigrant status.

“We believe that all migrants and those who are in Canada now should be given full immigration permanent residency status upon arrival.”

“This isn’t going to take anything away from Canadians who are here already. This is really going to empower people who are lacking access to health care, benefit, education because of their temporary status, especially during these times.”

READ: B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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