Immigrant workers on P.E.I. plead their case before the deputies

About 150 immigrant workers in Prince Edward Island pleaded their case in front of the Legislative Building on Thursday and before a committee of MPs.

They are demonstrating these days against a change made by the provincial government to an immigration program. They fear they will soon find themselves forced to leave the country.

The group is asking the government for an exception for immigrant workers already established in the province.

If there are no other options, we must not only leave Prince Edward Island, we must leave Canadaunderlined a representative of the group, Rupinder Pal Singh, before the committee of deputies.


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Rupinder Pal Singh, center right, noted that many immigrant workers may soon be forced to leave Canada.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Gabrielle Drumond

It’s a question of justice. Is it right to suddenly change the rules without telling people what will happen to them? What about those people who are already here?he added.

The service sector is most affected

The government announced in February that it would reduce the number of applicants for permanent residence by 25% this year.

The number of candidates working in the sales and service sector is decreasing from around 800 to 200 this year. The government instead wants to favor the construction and health care sectors.

I do not support this government’s efforts to correct years of neglect and bad policy at the expense of the people who are already heredeclared the Green MP Peter Bevan-Baker.


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Other protesters outside the building listened to the discussions on their phones.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Wayne Thibodeau

Mr. Bevan-Baker suggested to Bureau of Immigration officials to extend the work permits of these immigrants to give them time to obtain permanent residency.

The Director of the Office, Jeff Young, explained that only the federal government can extend this permit. He added that there are other federal immigration programs that can lead to permanent resident status.

To slow population growth

Jeff Young and another representative, Kal Whitnell, specified that more than 11,000 non-permanent residents live on Prince Edward Island currently. This is, according to them, the third rate in the country in proportion to the population of the provinces.

>>The two men sat side by side. One of them speaks to the deputies.>>

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Officials Jeff Young and Kal Whitnell provided explanations to the committee of deputies.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Gabrielle Drumond

The goal of the policy change, they say, is to slow population growth. The island’s population was estimated to increase to 200,000 people by 2027-2028. The government prefers to reach this number in 2030.

Mr. Young and M. Whitnell added that the policy change will be reviewed quarterly.

Letters of support from employers

The demonstrators presented to the Prime Minister, Dennis Kingmore than 40 letters written by employers who asked him to grant an exception to those who are already established in the province.

The committee of deputies cannot change policy, but it can make recommendations.

We talk about catching up and sectors, but not people, and that’s a problemdeclared the Liberal MP Gord McNeilly. I can’t sleep because people in my community come to talk to me about it.

The government reminds that these changes are temporary. He says he needs time to verify the effects on population growth.

According to reports from Stephen Brown, Wayne Thibodeau and Gabrielle Drumond



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