Category Archives: Justicia for Migrant Workers

Why Is Stephen Harper Sending Domestic Workers Back to 1973? | Syed Hussan

Why Is Stephen Harper Sending Domestic Workers Back to 1973? | Syed Hussan.

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Justicia’s questions for the “House of Labour”: CLC Convention – Justice for Migrant Workers

Justicia’s questions for the “House of Labour”: CLC Convention

Justicia for Migrant Workers is a collective of migrant workers, community and labour activists who organize to fight for better working and living conditions for migrant workers here in Canada and in their home countries.

This upcoming Canadian Labour Congress convention takes place at a critical juncture. Daily issues related to the crisis in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program grab headlines without any real dialogue on how to enact changes to enshrine the rights of migrant workers and to avoid a divide and rule strategy that only wounds the working class. Headlines construct a narrative or migrants taking Canadian jobs, decreasing workplace standards and having a negative impact in our economy.

We write this to challenge the conventional wisdom that migrant workers are the main reason for the crisis in the national and global economy. Rather, our focus should place the blame squarely on Canada’s broken immigration system and a precarious labour market that denies all workers the ability to work with dignity.

We encourage that any debate on migrant workers should focus on the following questions:

· The labour movement has had a tumultuous relationship with grassroots workers and immigrant rights groups on issues relating to “temporary foreign workers”. What steps will you take to address the tensions that exist between the house of labour and grassroots community groups?

· The labour movement has had a troubled relationship with any community we have defined as ‘foreign’. What lessons from the past can guide us in order that we learn from the past and not repeat the mistakes of history? How do we show solidarity with migrant workers and do not fan the flames of attacking migrant workers employed in our communities?

· What steps will you take if elected to ensure that all workers including migrant workers have equal access to our social entitlements (including equal access to healthcare, education and Employment Insurance? Recently Federal and provincial governments are restricting migrant workers access to these basic programs. How will you support migrant workers and their efforts to resist these changes?

· Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers will never be able to apply for residency of Canada because of our restrictive immigration laws. Do you support the ability of both current and previous migrant workers to access residency in Canada? If so what steps will you take to advocate for immigration reform? If you oppose residency for migrant workers please provide reasons.

· ”Temporary Foreign Workers” are being arrested, detained, jailed and deported for their desire to seek work – something that is impossible because of closed work permits which indenture workers to their employers. Once workers seek employment outside of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, they are criminalized and discarded simply for their desire to improve their working conditions. The labour movement has been silent on the issue of immigration raids. If you are elected how would you show solidarity for detained migrants? What steps would you undertake to counter how migrants are criminalized through our immigration policies? How would you address this contentious issue with unionized workers to counter how migrant workers are criminalized?

· When a migrant worker gets injured, often they are repatriated (deported by their employer) almost immediately after an injury. What concrete steps can rank and file members across Canada undertake to support injured and ill migrant workers and migrants facing deportation for standing up for their rights at work?

· How will you implement a campaign to raise consciousness amongst unionized workers about the conditions that migrant workers face in Canada, and what would genuine solidarity look like from the labour movement to migrant workers.

Justicia for Migrant Workers, from the grassroots of the labour movement…

http://justicia4migrantworkers.org

via Justicia’s questions for the “House of Labour”: CLC Convention – Justice for Migrant Workers.

Foreign workers in Canada fear backlash, loss of dreams | Canada | Reuters

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) – Bugan Wigan could handle the hard work packing fruit and cleaning hotel rooms, and the crushing debt she owed recruiters who found her jobs. But a backlash against the foreign worker program that brought her to Canada means the clock is ticking on her ability to support her family in the Philippines.

“I’m here six years, away from my family. I was hoping I could bring them here. But now, we are just counting our days,” said Wigan, 40, who currently works at McDonald’s in Vancouver.

via Foreign workers in Canada fear backlash, loss of dreams | Canada | Reuters.

J4MW warns Federal Government that its actions are repeating racist past – Press Release – Digital Journal

Canada NewsWire

TORONTO, April 28, 2014

Moratorium will have far reaching negative consequences on migrant workers

TORONTO, April 28, 2014 /CNW/ – Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) a migrant workers advocacy group is raising concerns that the recent moratorium against the restaurant industry will impact tens of thousands of migrant workers. While the Federal government has responded to abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program by employers, no consideration was given to the effects the moratorium will have on migrant workers, including the impacts of racism.

J4MW believes the moratorium will leave migrant workers in a more precarious position. The Federal government needs to address what steps will be taken to protect migrants who are in the following situations:

Migrant workers already in Canada who are currently awaiting LMO’s in the restaurant sector.

Migrant workers who are employed at a workplace in the restaurant sector but desire to leave to seek alternative work as a result of exploitative working conditions.

Migrant workers who were employed in the restaurant industry and who have filed complaints about workplace violations.

Migrant workers whose contracts are close to expiration and desire the ability to find other employment.

While many politicians, community groups and labour unions welcome this announcement, J4MW believes that the TFW scheme and any effort to address abuses will fall short if the needs of migrant workers are not addressed. Without larger structural changes to protect migrant workers, this decision will have far reaching negative consequences on migrant workers across Canada. Open work permits, strengthened anti-reprisal measures, proactive enforcement of workplace rights are the immediate starting points of necessary reforms, not denying people the ability to work. Steps should be taken to increase standards for all workers so that migrant and Canadian workers are not pitted against one another.

Canadian history is filled with periods of heightened xenophobia and targeted racism against communities deemed foreign. Today’s attacks against migrant workers across various segments of society are no different than the attacks against Chinese, South Asian and Japanese communities in the past. Canada continues to impose restrictions on access to status for thousands of migrants in Canada.

SOURCE Justicia for Migrant Workers

via J4MW warns Federal Government that its actions are repeating racist past – Press Release – Digital Journal.

Myrie: Jamaican workers owed an apology

Leamington mayor dealt with a serious issue in the wrong way

When Mayor John Paterson of Leamington told reporters a few weeks ago that harassment carried out by Jamaican migrant workers was like a “cancer” in his community, it got a lot of people angry. And rightly so.

When I called to ask him why he would say such a thing, he told me he did not use the word “cancer” (the word was used in a direct quote from him at the police services board in several media), but admits that he was angry that Jamaican migrant workers are harassing the women in the town to the point that he had to take the issue to his local police board.

Myrie: Jamaican workers owed an apology

 

Historic Rights Tribunal to Examine Workplace Deaths of Temporary Foreign Workers

April 17th is the first day of an historic hearing at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The tribunal will examine evidence regarding the workplace death of Jamaican migrant worker Ned Livingston Peart. Mr. Peart was crushed to death while working on a tobacco farm near Brantford, Ontario on August 22, 2002. Mr. Peart was one of over 30,000 migrant workers that toil under the auspices of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, a government program that brings farm workers from Mexico and the Caribbean to farms across Canada.

The Peart family sought to have a coroner’s inquest held into the death because their communications with Mr. Peart led them to have concerns over dangerous working conditions on the farm. The Office of Chief Coroner denied the request. Working with Justicia for Migrant Workers’ organizers, the family then brought a complaint to the Human Rights Commission in the summer of 2005 claiming that the Coroners Act, which provides mandatory inquests for certain types of workers while excluding others, violates the Ontario Human Rights Code by causing adverse impacts not only on Mr. Peart but all migrant farm workers in Ontario.

This case is of historical importance because it seeks to ensure a safer working environment for all migrant workers in the province by requesting an inquest into Mr. Peart’s death as well as wider systemic reforms in how the Office of Chief Coroner investigates the death of migrant agricultural workers. There has never been a coroner’s inquest into the death of a migrant worker.

“For over ten years, the Peart family has sought answers into the death of Ned. Ned was a brother, father, son and community leader. His death devastated a community. It is our responsibility to implement changes so occupational deaths like Mr. Peart never happen again,” says Tzazna Miranda Leal, organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW).

Miranda Leal continues, “Whether it was the accident that claimed the lives of two migrant workers near Ayton, Ontario or the accident near Hampstead Ontario, migrant workers continue to be employed under dangerous conditions. As temporary foreign worker programs expand, it is imperative that steps are taken to protect precarious communities such as migrant workers.”

Who: Family of Ned Livingston Peart, Migrant Workers, Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) and community allies.

What: Hearing at the Human Rights Tribunal regarding the death of migrant worker Ned Livingston Peart.

Where: Ontario Human Rights Tribunal 655 Bay at Elm. St. (between Dundas St. and Gerrard St.) 14th Floor.

When: April 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th and 26th; 9:00-5:00pm.

Historic Rights Tribunal to Examine Workplace Deaths of Temporary Foreign Workers

In Mexico migrants organisations denounce Canadian govmt policy

Justicia for Migrant Workers along with US and Mexican migrant workers’ rights organizations denounced the Canadian government for stripping away employment insurance benefits to migrant workers and demanded the full restoration of these benefits.

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