UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

November 30, 2009 15:17 ET

Toronto Rally December 2nd in Support of Migrant Workers

Don't Repeat the Mistakes of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act - Toronto Community Groups Rally in Support of Migrant Workers on December 2

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2009) -

ATTN: Toronto/GTA News and Assignment Editors FOR WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2/2009

Rally & Media Conference

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 @ 11:30 a.m.

Toronto Regional Office - Federal Minister of Immigration
King Street & University Avenue
Toronto, ON

Toronto community and labour groups have organized a National Day of Action for Justice for Migrant Workers on December 2, 2009 to call attention to the failures of the Temporary Foreign. Worker Program and demand real protection. Actions are taking place in Toronto, Ottawa, Guelph, Montreal and other cities.

On December 9, 2009 proposed regulatory changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program will come into effect. These changes will make vulnerable migrant workers even more precarious by limiting their ability to stay in Canada beyond a four-year period and barring them from returning to the country for six years.

Avyy Go, Clinic Director, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, compares these discriminatory regulations to the Chinese Head Tax and the Exclusion Act. She explains, "For over 62 years, Chinese immigrants were subject to a racist Head Tax, and the Exclusion Act, between 1885 and 1947. Historically, discrimination against Chinese immigrants was justified by the Canadian Government on the basis that they were only allowed in temporarily to provide cheap labour for Canada."

Go adds, "In 2006, the Harper Government finally saw fit to apologize for this historical wrong against Chinese Canadians. Today, it should also see fit to discontinue the present day discrimination against people who are brought in under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. We have to learn from our past not repeat it."

"We have been speaking to the abuses that take place under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for years; migrant workers placed in dangerous working conditions, charged exorbitant recruitment fees and being denied wages" states Chris Ramsaroop from the Coalition for Change.

"These kinds of abuses will continue as long as workers are here as temporary migrants and tied to a single employer," stated Sonia Singh from the Coalition for Change. "The only real solution is for the Federal government to take decisive action and change the program so that all workers who come to Canada come as permanent residents and not as precarious labourers."

The National Day of Action is being called by the Coalition for Change: Caregivers and Temporary Foreign Workers, with support from allies in community, women's, immigrants' rights, faith-based and trade union organizations across the country.

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