Press releases


January 24, 2021

Position Paper submitted to the Committee on Labour and the Economyas part of the consultations on Bill n . 59, Act to Modernize the Occupational Health and Safety Regime

This document was prepared by the Coalition Against Precarious Work, created in 2012 by organizations and associations working with precarious workers, particularly migrants, immigrants and racialized workers.

Coalition members welcome the willingness to “modernize” the occupational health-and-safety regime, an initiative that is all the more important as the crisis at COVID- 19 amplifies the shortcomings of the present regime. However, the draft bill remains too limited, in our view, in affording protect to workers, particularly those who are non- unionized or atypically employed. We deplore the fact that organizations representing non- unionized workers, with certain exceptions, were not invited to participate in the consultation process.

This brief begins by presenting some of the issues in the reform of the OHSA and the LATMP that are of particular concern to workers of recent immigration background. To this are three other issues of major importance to all workers.

The second section presents our proposals for the reform.

This brief concludes with testimonies from workers about their work experiences.

City of Montreal: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

The city of Montréal has been talking the talk with community groups and activist networks fighting for regularization for years. It’s time to walk the walk!

For Immediate Release, Friday, February 5th

The Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC) and other groups have been in consultation with the Ville de Montréal since 2017, including a recent meeting last week surrounding the impacts of the curfew on undocumented people in the city. 

Today, the IWC is calling on the city to implement municipal ID cards for all residents regardless of status and to forbid police from enforcing arrest warrants for non-status asylum seekers, and to grant status to all people. Project Montréal must forbid the SPVM from carrying out arrest warrants linked to missed deportation dates for people without status.

The Projet Montreal administration is quick to announce that they have consulted with us, but far too slow to make concrete policy changes. This has to change!

It’s in this context that the IWC publicly expresses support for a resolution being submitted to city council on Friday, February 5th, by Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension mayor Giuliana Fumagalli seconded by City Councilor Marvin Rotrand. The motion calls on the city to:

  1. Demand that the government of Canada regularize the status of migrants and assure that they have access to the same resources as others
  2. Demand that Québec allow access to its special program for asylum seekers to all people without status
  3. Demand that Québec set up a special fund for emergency measures to support migrants without status and provide them with access to healthcare and social services

The IWC and other community groups appreciate the ongoing dialogue with the  Bureau d’intégration des nouveaux arrivants à Montréal (BINAM) about these issues. But it’s not enough. The mayor’s office and city council need to come to the table.

If passed, the IWC calls on the city to be transparent while implementing the resolution. The Centre also calls on the municipal government to allocate financial resources to support community groups who help municipal residents without status.

The IWC believes that Friday’s resolution is an excellent first step. Beyond the resolution, it is crucial that Projet Montréal publicly and directly direct the SPVM to diminish the harm it enacts on non-status people and asylum seekers in the city.


THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2020 — Staff from the Immigrant Workers Centre distribute information at Montreal Metro station informing workers about their rights during COVID-19 crisis.


Protecting your labour rights during the COVID-19 crisis is a matter of public health”



The employer must apply the necessary hygiene measures to limit the spread of the virus. They cannot force you to work in unsafe conditions.



A worker has the right to refuse to perform work if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the performance of that work would expose them to danger to their health, safety or physical integrity.


Contact CNESST:

In the event of a work refusal, call 1-844-838-0808 and dial 9, then 1. An inspector will be dispatched to the site as soon as possible. An anonymous complaint may also be filed with CNESST.


Employment Insurance Regular Benefits

Laid-off? You are entitled to regular benefits if you have accumulated between 420 and 700 hours of work (depending on the city you are in).

The waiting period is maintained, you will not be compensated for the first week, but you will be compensated for the following weeks for 55% of your income.


New emergency care benefits
Sick Benefits
If you are ill, in quarantine or in voluntary isolation:
You are entitled if you have accumulated more than 600 hours of work.
The one-week waiting period can be waived. You must call: 1-833-381-2725.
Benefits can cover the period of absence from the first day of leave.
You do not have to provide a medical certificate


Access to the COVID-19 screening clinic at the Hôtel- Dieu Hospital is open to everyone, regardless of their immigration status, with or without RAMQ coverage. For proper referral call: 1-877-644-4545

New emergency care benefits will be available by April 2020.
For more info, contact: Service Canada


Quebec Aid for Workers

This is a financial assistance program for people who are not eligible for employment insurance. The lump-sum amount granted to an eligible person is $573 per week, for a period of 14 days of isolation. It can be extended up to 28 days depending on your health.
Check online for the form @


Other Measures
The Régie du logement has suspended hearings on eviction notices (including for unpaid rent).
Hydro announced no service interruption for non-payment until further notice.
Revenu Québec and Canada Revenue Agency has extended the deadline for filing taxes to June 1, 2020.


Don’t wash away your rights! CONTACT US

Temporary Agency Workers Association
110-4755 Van Horne, Montreal, QC (Metro Plamondon)
(514) 342-2111




Website —

Temporary suspension of public office hours

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Immigrant Workers’ Centre is suspending its hours of operation and its legal clinic. If you have any questions regarding work-related issues or your status as a migrant worker, please call (514) 342-2111 or email us at Leave your name and phone number. We will contact you within 24 hours.

We will post important information for workers regarding your rights and access to services during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of your immigration status.

Warehouse Workers Commission Report and Launch

An evening of food, culture and testimonials

Saturday, November 23, 2019, 4 pm – 6 pm

Immigrant Workers Centre, 4755 Ave Van Horne Suite 110, Montréal

The Immigrant Workers Centre would like to invite you to participate in the launch of our report which was based on a two-year investigation on the conditions faced by warehouse workers in Montreal. There will be an event on Saturday, November 23rd at 4 pm. This event will feature the testimonial of temporary agency workers in warehouses that are active in organizing, because of the conditions they face; from low-wages, job insecurity, health and safety, and for status. The event will also be a chance to celebrate and come together with cultural performances and a community dinner provided by the Guinean community.


This was a project that was led by a core group of 5 temporary agency workers, who conducted group interviews and surveys with 50 workers in Montreal warehouses and distribution centres which have become “the new factories” in Montreal. As e-commerce and just in time distribution plays a crucial role in neoliberalism from the rise of Amazon, and other retail giants focusing more on online sales. Warehouse workers become critical in the economy. These workers as highlighted in the report are mainly temporary agency workers without job security, without access to basic rights, and are often racialized workers from Africa, Haiti, the Philippines, Egypt and other places.


The report itself is not just an opportunity to discuss the conditions faced by these workers but a chance to come together in solidarity to find ways to organize for justice for these warehouse workers to defend their basic labour rights.