Churches call for a comprehensive regularization program for undocumented persons

June 20, 2023

Dear Minister Fraser,

We write to you today as leaders of Anglican and Lutheran churches in Canada to call on the Government of Canada to introduce a just and comprehensive regularization program for undocumented persons in Canada. Nearly 500 000 individuals in Canada are living without valid immigration or residency status, and enacting a robust regularization program would allow greater personal and economic security for migrants and contribute to strengthening the whole of Canadian society.

Together, our churches offer programs and supports to thousands of newcomers to Canada, including those without legal immigration status. These ministries have made us keenly aware of the particular challenges faced by migrants of all varieties as they work to make a home in a new country. While the reasons that individuals may find themselves without status vary greatly, all undocumented persons are made more vulnerable to economic exploitation and more likely to experience discrimination in housing and services. People without status are vulnerable to abuse by employers and live with the ongoing possibility of deportation and, in many cases, family separation.

The Government of Canada has an opportunity to address these injustices through the introduction of a new, comprehensive regularization program that opens a path to permanent residency for all migrants currently living in Canada. In his mandate letter to you in December 2021, the Prime Minister called on you to explore ways of regularizing status for undocumented workers. Regularization has been an important policy tool in addressing precarious immigration status in many countries around the world, and this government has an historic opportunity to build on previous Canadian programs and offer a pathway to status for all migrants living in our communities across Canada.

We join with undocumented migrants, migrant serving organizations, faith communities, and other civil society stakeholders in calling for a robust regularization program with a clear path to status for undocumented persons in Canada. This program will not only strengthen Canadian society, but it will also be a crucial policy tool to help protect the human rights of migrants living and working in Canada, working to keep them safe from abuse, exploitation, and poverty. We look forward to hearing how the Government of Canada will take action on this important issue.

Yours Sincerely,

[signed] +Susan C Johnson
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

[signed] +Linda Nicholls
The Most Reverend Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”