#Montreal; #AsylumSeekers; #RefugeeClaims; #ImmigrationAndRefugeeBoardOfCanada
Quebec, May 20 (Canadian-Media): Asylum seekers in Montreal had been contributing to Quebec's economy during the COVID-19 pandemic by working in essential services, in meat-packing plants and warehouses, or taking care of elderly patients in long-term care homes, media reports said.
IRBC. Image credit: Facebook page
In spite of their dedication and hardwork, refugee claims of nearly 30,000 asylum seekers who crossed into Canada between 2017 and December 2019 are still waiting to be heard, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada's latest figures revealed.
Others whose claims have been rejected have applied for permanent residency on humanitarian grounds.
Community organizers, advocates and opposition politicians in both Quebec and Ottawa as well as Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, the president of Quebec's association of immigration lawyers, had been urging federal government to o create a special program granting permanent residency to those working on the front lines.
Although the motion was favored by the Quebec's three opposition parties, the Liberals, Québec Solidaire and the Parti Québécois, but it was voted down by Premier François Legault's majority Coalition Avenir Québec.
Nevertheless, a video paying tribute to asylum seekers in essential jobs was released by a group of activists, artists and social entrepreneurs over the weekend, which appeared on Haiti's National Flag Day on Monday, the same day as Journée des Patriotes in Quebec this year.
"Both celebrations are about liberation movements," said Fabrice Vil, a Montrealer of Haitian background and the founder of Pour3Points, an organization that trains sports coaches to help support kids struggling at school and at home.
"The current pandemic is really showing that we all depend on each other — and that there are people that sometimes we don't see as being relevant to our own lives who are currently sacrificing their own lives to support the collectivity," Vil said.