2019 Voter's Guide Factsheet: Immigrant and Refugee Rights | National Union of Public and General Employees

2019 Voter's Guide Factsheet: Immigrant and Refugee Rights

National Union releases a Voter’s Guide factsheet on Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Ottawa (15 Oct. 2019) — Immigration plays an essential role in enriching Canada’s economy and society. Immigration has long been part of the public debate in Canada, but increasingly so as trends like global poverty, conflict, persecution, and climate change impact migration flows. For these reasons, the rights and protections of immigrants and refugees are likely to feature in this year’s federal election.

Welcoming newcomers

People coming to Canada as immigrants and refugees today are coming for the same reasons as earlier immigrants and refugees did. They seek a better life for themselves and their families, or they are fleeing persecution, exploitation, or war. We are already seeing people displaced by the effects of climate change, a trend that is expected to worsen.

Like the immigrants and refugees who came to Canada before them, including the ancestors of all non-Indigenous peoples, they deserve to be welcomed and given a chance to thrive. 

Unfortunately, the debates surrounding immigration and refugees are too often distorted by misinformation, misconceptions, and xenophobia. These elements were evident in historical examples of Canada turning away refugees or restricting immigration. They continue to persist today, emerging recently in the controversy surrounding the United Nations’ Global Compact for Migration.

Role of immigration policy

The federal government plays an important role in determining if, how, and how many immigrants and refugees come to Canada, as well as shaping what their lives look like when they arrive. Canada’s governments and political parties have adopted a range of approaches and attitudes towards immigration policy and to newcomers themselves.

Today, we are releasing a Voter’s Guide factsheet on Immigrant and Refugee Rights to help inform voters. The factsheet provides an overview of where political parties stand today — and, for those who have been in government, what their track records have been — regarding immigrant and refugee rights and protections.

It will also be important to consider newcomer rights in the context of (and their links to) other election issues, including the protection of public services, climate change, Indigenous rights, and other human rights.

We encourage our members to engage with the Voter’s Guide and the accompanying factsheets to help inform their voting decisions. Lastly, we encourage members to exercise their right to vote!


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE