What Regularization Means

Regularization is an issue of self-determination and justice. Entire families live in a state of constant stress and fear. Workers are being exploited. Children of non-status immigrants, whether Canadian-born or not, are denied the right to education. Children and entire families lack adequate and affordable medical coverage.

The Canadian government supports international agreements that allow the free movement of capital, business and goods across the globe. While businesses are free to move across borders to find thriving economic conditions, these same agreements deny people the same type of free movement. Business relocation has created huge areas of poverty and depression around the world giving people no choice but to migrate in order to save their families and children from poverty, war and militarization.

Many sectors of the Canadian economy rely on the exploited labour of non-status and refugees and it is not in the best interest of the Canadian government to deport non-status immigrants, thus maintaining a social and economic system that has created two classes of people - exploited non-status immigrants without social and citizenship rights- and the rest of the population.

Just as Canada was dependent upon colonial plantations in Latin America, Africa and Asia that produced fruit, vegetables, coffee, tea, sugar for the Canadian market, today the Canadian economy depends upon the labour of migrant workers of colour who are underemployed and exploited. One clear and present example is the garment industry, in which 77% of workers are racialized immigrant women whose pay depends on their status- ranging from two to four dollars per hour. (Women and Welfare Project March 2004, Vancouver Status of Women).

In the past, every time there has been an overhaul of our immigration law, the government has brought in programs to regularize the status of those who were caught in the old system. The first time the government introduced a special program to allow a person in Canada to regularize their status was in 1960. Since then there has been many other such programs: in 1972, 1986, 1989, and in 1995.