Demonstration in Ottawa in support of immigrants and refugees

The walk began at the Human Rights Monument and ended at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. A distance of 1.6 km separates the two places.

This number is not accidental: it refers to 1.6 million residents of Canada who do not have permanent status.

We want to push our government to deliver on its promises by providing all immigrants with easier and faster pathways to permanent residence.reported Senda Jerezes, who helped organize the rally.

Seda Gerzeez, one of the rally organizers, addresses the protesters before the rally.

Photo: CBC/Sarah Kester

Sida Gerzeez came to Canada eight years ago as a Tunisian student. Since then, she has worked for immigrant justice.

We want the government to keep in mind, when it increases those targets, what does that really mean? 1.6 before [million] It’s people who live in a precarious situation here.

In April 2021, the federal government announced a new pathway to permanent residence for immigrants who work in essential jobs such as personal support and health services.

It was supposed to allow up to 90,000 international workers and students already in Canada to change their temporary status to permanent status.

But Akinwumi Olusanmi, an asylum seeker from Nigeria who acts as a beneficiary’s companion, said the criteria for this program have left many people, including himself, in a downfall.

There was a deadline to meet and I didn’t have enough hours.

Photo by Akinumi Ulsanmi.

Akinwumi Ulusanmi says there are many essential workers who do not have permanent immigration status.

Photo: CBC/Sarah Kester

Mr. Olusanmi says he has been touched by the love Canadians have shown him since he arrived three years ago. He says he wants to give her back to society.

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Working with the old and the frail, he feels that his real reward is for him Smiles on the faces of my patients.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has contracted COVID-19 twice, as have many frontline workers like him. Many of our colleagues and many people have worked [ont] It keeps the community alive. But we still don’t have a place.

CBC has contacted the Office of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as well as the office of Immigration Minister Sean Fraser. As of press time, CBC has not received a response.

With information from Nafeh Alebert and Sarah KesterCBC

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