In another tragic incident, 11 migrant workers died in a car crash in Ontario this month. It is not the first time. In September 2010, Ralston White and Paul Roach died while working at a farm in Southern Ontario. In December 2009, Alexander Bondorev, Aleksey Blumberg, Fayzullo Fazilov, Vladimir Korostin, migrant workers without full status, fell to their deaths when the scaffolding they were working on collapsed in half. Year after year, migrants without full status die in Ontario and neither the government nor their employers have taken any serious remedial action.
These deaths represent only the surface of a phenomenon
that is much deeper, one that is, tragically, unexceptional. Persistent abuse and dangerous, grating working conditions lead many migrant workers to face injury. Such injured workers are regularly deported without compensation or medical support and, in some cases, are deported to their deaths. Other migrant workers and undocumented people are sexually, emotionally and psychologically traumatized by abusive employers and an immigration system that works to ensure they are denied their basic rights.
With nearly 500,000 people without any immigration status, over 300,000 deemed temporary foreign workers, as well as refugee claimants, students and others working in the country without full labour protection, these tragedies are bound to happen. When asserting your basic rights means risking confrontation with a violent system of detention and deportation, any solution that does not include full immigration status for all residents of Canada is bound to fail.
On Friday, February 17, No One Is Illegal - Toronto will be at the "Family Day Action to Demand Justice for Migrant Farmworker Deaths" organized by Justice for Migrant Workers. Meet us at the Coroners Office at 32 Grenville St (College and Bay) at 12pm.
In Canada, migrants have long been forced to fight relentlessly for their right to life and for their right to a life of dignity. This struggle arches back over a century to that of the Chinese Railroad Workers in the 1880s. The cycle of violence and death faced by migrants without full status has changed in name, but not in impact. Let us continue to organize and fight for justice and dignity for all migrants without full immigration status. Let us declare Status for All!
Toronto Star Editorial by Justice for Migrant Workers, "Surge in migrant labour makes reform imperative": http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1129018--surge-i...
Migrant Workers, No One Is Illegal - Toronto: http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/taxonomy/term/26
Details of "Family Day Action to Demand Justice for Migrant Farmworker Deaths": http://j4mw.tumblr.com/post/17312843708/family-day-action-to-demand-just...
Interested in joining the struggle for justice for migrant and undocumented workers? Email firstname.lastname@example.org