Migrant worker programs are the only avenues left for many migrants and pathways to residency are getting cut. Calling for abolition of temporary worker programs without addressing the systemic shifts in canadian immigration policy is a de facto call to end immigration. Instead, call for full legal status and basic labor rights for migrant workers upon arrival.
We must denounce by any means necessary the institutions, corporations and governments that allow the exploitation of ALL people to take place, especially those who do not have ‘status’, those who are poor, and those who are of colour.
While the government insists that migrant workers are treated fairly, migrant workers have documented experiences of isolation, discrimination, fear, exploitation, and limited access to social services. The typical migrant worker experience includes earning less than minimum wage, dangerous working conditions, and working 10-12 hours per day- often seven days a week- without overtime pay, basic employment standards, or the right to unionize. Most importantly, their temporary status makes them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, as any assertion of their rights leads not only to contract termination but also deportation. Therefore, access to citizenship is a tool of the labour market that fuels multi-million dollar industries.
We must identify and denounce the institutions that hold the power to adversely affect our livelihoods and encourage colonialism and racism as a tactic to further divide people who risk their lives to earn a living.
(Im)migrant labour has historically been used to pull down workers wages globally, at the grave expense of the human rights of (im)migrant workers. A protectionist discourse seeking to defend Canadian jobs is reductionist and divisive as it ignores the reality that global capital and racist neocolonial policies affect the most vulnerable- racialized migrant workers and immigrant women- whose precarious labour ensures high profits for a small elite.
We must learn and understand that the exploitation of people in exchange for wages also depends on the extraction of finite resources, many of which are taken from unceded or stolen Indigenous land.
Worker struggles, migrant worker struggles, and Indigenous struggles are different but connected. We must re-envision a labour movement based on a globalized solidarity that recognizes the expansionist nature of capital with its diverse sites of production and markets, and the stolen lands on which it occurs on.