UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

May 01, 2009 12:34 ET

Reminder: Migrant workers speak out to celebrate May Day

MIGRANT WORKERS SPEAK ABOUT LIVING AND WORKING IN CANADA IN LIGHT OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC AND HEALTH CRISIS

Attention: Agriculture Editor, Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO - MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - May 1, 2009) -

ATTN: GTA/Toronto News and Assignment Editors for Saturday, May 2/09 at 11 a.m.

MIGRANT WORKERS SPEAK ABOUT LIVING AND WORKING IN CANADA
IN LIGHT OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC AND HEALTH CRISIS

TIME:
Saturday May 2, 2009 @ 11 a.m.

LOCATION:
25 Cecil St. - Steelworkers Hall
Toronto ON
M5T 1N1

SPEAKERS:
Carlos: Migrant Agricultural Worker in Ontario
Miguel: Migrant Agricultural Worker in Ontario
Jesus: Temporary Foreign Worker in Manitoba
Stan Raper: Coordinator of the Agriculture Workers Alliance

(A short video will also feature Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta)

Migrant workers from across Canada will gather on May 2 to celebrate May Day, the international day of workers' struggle, and to speak about the realities of living and working in Canada as temporary and precarious labourers in the context of the economic crisis and the health concerns raised by the swine flu outbreak.

Under the Harper Conservative government, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has expanded exponentially with over 200,000 TFWs entering the Canadian workforce each year as live-in-caregivers, agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, construction workers, and service and hospitality workers.

"The shift from immigrants as permanent residents with access to equal legal rights and a path to citizenship, to migrant workers who have precarious immigration status and limited legal rights, means creating a perpetually vulnerable workforce," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley.

In fact, at this rate, the number of Temporary Foreign Workers entering Canada each year will soon surpass the number of immigrants entering Canada as permanent residents. Under the current recession and in the context of the issues raised by swine flu outbreak these workers are under greater threat of being marginalized and stigmatized.

"These vulnerable workers are subjected to some of the worst kinds of rights abuses. They are denied full access to health services while sometimes being forced to work in dangerous or hazardous working conditions. They are commonly denied promised wages and forced to live in substandard housing. These conditions are the hallmarks of a program that puts workers under the thumbs of employers," Hanley says.

The event will unite migrant workers with community allies and trade unionists in a show of support for migrant workers' rights.

"We need less blame and more solutions from our federal and provincial governments when it comes to migrant workers' health-and-safety. The government should work to provide support and protection to these workers rather than signaling them as a threat," says Naveen Mehta, UFCW Canada's Director of Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity.

Following the speak-out, participants will join community organizers and activists at the No One is Illegal May Day of Action - an annual march and rally for immigrants' rights at 1 p.m. at Sherbourne and Carlton in Toronto.

For more information also see:

http://www.ufcw.ca/default.aspx?SectionID=81d253cf-4826-49d2-8e96-d42849d67856&LanguageId=1

/For further information: www.ufcw.ca
www.awa-ata.ca

/ IN: AGRICULTURE, ECONOMY, FOOD, JUSTICE, LABOUR

Contact Information

  • Sima Sahar Zerehi, National Representative – Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity, UFCW Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-893-4053
    E-mail: sima.zerehi@ufcw.ca