April 28 2014: J4MW warns Federal Government that its’ actions are repeating racist past
April 28, 2014|Posted in: Uncategorised
(Toronto) 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 where 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.
Board president WWEC, member at large Social Justice Windsor District Labour Council. President, Global Resource Centre.