PEI Fight for Affordable Housing (PEIFAH) stands in solidarity with the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) holder protesters and condemns the recent PEI government announcements that would rip away their opportunity to become a permanent resident, putting them at risk of having to leave the country after their work permits expire, effectively deporting them. In particular, PEIFAH is appalled that the government is suggesting that migrants are a cause of the housing crisis.

Instead, blame for the housing crisis rests squarely on the shoulders of successive provincial and federal governments, premiers, and housing ministers who have consistently neglected the issues, missed opportunities and enacted bad policies over several decades. The root causes of the housing crisis on PEI are governments’ failure to invest in truly affordable public housing and willful indifference to the obvious fact that the private sector has, for decades, been incapable of providing affordable homes for Islanders.

Governments have failed to control rents through adequate rent regulation and the creation of a rent registry. They have failed to stop the loss of affordable homes to profit-making gentrification plans and the conversion of affordable rental units to condos.

Last year we were contacted by PNP workers who were questioning the rent their landlord was asking them to pay. The rent being charged was almost double the legal rent (as ordered by IRAC). Migrants are being exploited and suffering like all Islanders.

PGWP workers do important work in our communities and, often, they and their families have made huge sacrifices to come to Canada – just as settler immigrants from Europe did centuries ago – and many others have since. They contribute to community life, take on essential work that otherwise would not get done, help build the economy, and pay taxes which could support investment in public housing.

There is no basis for the suggestion that reducing and eliminating permanent residency opportunities for several hundred migrant workers will make a discernable dent in the lack of affordable housing on PEI.  

All tenants are in this together and we will not tolerate having any part of our community being singled out as the cause of the problem. No tenant or group of tenants should be scapegoated for a situation that has not been of their making.

PEI Fight for Affordable Housing – June 10, 2024

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