Let Illegal Workers Stay In Canada, MP’s Urge

Let illegal workers stay in Canada, MPs urge
The Globe and Mail

The House of Commons committee on citizenship and immigration is calling on the government to halt deportations of all undocumented workers while a new immigration policy is put in place.

However, Conservative MP Ed Komarnicki filed a lengthy dissenting report, noting that “there was no consensus of the members of the committee” and that a moratorium could encourage lawbreakers and compromise the integrity of Canada's immigration program.

Mr. Komarnicki, and three other Conservative MPs who sit on the committee, say the June 21 motion was premature and there has been “absolutely no effort” by the committee to hear from witnesses on this controversial subject.

There are about 200,000 undocumented workers in Canada. The deportation of people without work papers — many of whom are employed in the construction industry — recently became a high-profile issue when members of the Portuguese community, some MPs, construction unions and other advocates called on Ottawa to halt all removals. They argued that blue-collar workers are needed to fill construction jobs, and don't qualify to enter under Canada's skilled-worker program, which favours academic qualifications.

The Canadian Border Services Agency is on track to remove about 10,000 people this year.

Immigration Minister Monte Solberg does not support an amnesty, but has said he is exploring ways to make Canada's immigration program more responsive to labour market needs.

Former Liberal immigration minister Joe Volpe backed a proposal to regularize the status of undocumented workers. But Mr. Komarnicki noted that no opposition party made it a commitment in the past election campaign.

Andy Manahan, spokesman for Universal Workers' Union, called the motion a good first step.