The federal government announced recently that they would be conducting more stringent and warrantless inspections of workplaces in order to crack down on human rights abuses and illegal practices. This news comes after years of scathing criticism of the human rights abuses within the Temporary Foreign Worker program.
Ten years ago I made a documentary about migrant agricultural workers in Canada, El Contrato. I am interested in the story of workers and migration because I come from a working class family and my life has been fundamentally shaped by migration. This is the story of how immigration to Canada is racialized and classed.
The Canada Border Services Agency just announced that it had deported 16,511 people in 2011-2012, dubbing it a "milestone year." Every year tens of thousands of migrant workers are coerced to leave after getting hurt on the job or because their work permits are revoked or have been completed. This is euphemistically called "repatriations." Canada is implementing a revolving door immigration policy, with high deportations and a shift to migrant work. It is clear to see who is paying the cost of these policies. Are we okay with this? It's time we slow this down.
If you've been following all the flare-up in British Columbia in the last few weeks about migrant workers from China coming to work in B.C.'s coal mines you'd think that migrant workers being charged recruitment fees is something that's never been done before. Fact of the matter is that charging recruitment fees is not just a "Chinese" problem; it is a home grown Canadian one.