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Migrant Workers

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Migrant workers reap bitter harvest in Ontario

October 28, 2008
Evelyn Encalada Grez
The Toronto Star

I had to pick up Laura at the apple farm with two police officers. We left the farm in such haste that Laura's belongings were scattered in various plastic bags.

It was a rescue mission more reminiscent of a crime scene. She could not leave without lovingly saying goodbye to each of the women with whom she had shared that awful crammed bunkhouse.

When she was ready, she turned to me and said: "Let's go." We walked together, Laura on crutches and in much pain, tears flowing down her face, tears that quickly became contagious.

The tall, white, male police officers were shocked. They had no clue that migrant women lived and worked in their community, let alone what some had to go through to earn a living producing food that ended up on our kitchen tables. One of the officers said "apples are never going to taste the same again."

Nanny sent to work as underpaid servant

Nanny Catherine Manuel tells of her illegal work in Canada
September 22, 2008 - The Toronto Star
Dale Brazao

Catherine Manuel came to Canada as a live-in nanny to care for 8-year-old Brent of Toronto.

She ended up changing beds, cleaning toilets and painting the decks at the Whispering Pines bed and breakfast in Jackson's Point, on the shores of Lake Simcoe.

Manuel was promised about $420 a week to care for young Brent, with weekends and holidays off. Instead, she was underpaid and worked "morning, noon and night" as a cleaner, servant and handywoman.

Brent and his mother never surfaced. Today, four months after she arrived in Canada, Manuel wonders if they really exist.

On her days off, the skilled caregiver was driven to Toronto to clean the townhouse belonging to the innkeeper's boyfriend, a part-time lecturer at York University.

Big promises, broken dreams

Nurses, nannies, labourers willing to pay big bucks sought out his services, desperate to get to Canada
August 31, 2008 - The Toronto Star
Dale Brazao

The Saturday Star detailed the growing problem of human trafficking of foreign workers to Canada. In one case, dubbed the Elmvale 11, a group of skilled Filipino workers came to Canada last summer on promises of good jobs, but ended up forced to work as modern-day slaves. The Star found lax government rules and unscrupulous labour recruiters at the heart of the problem.

Canada has been very, very good to Imtazur Nasser Rahman.

Fresh from a second bankruptcy – leaving his creditors on the hook for $114,000 – he zips around the GTA doing business in a $125,000 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

He previously drove a Lexus 330 SUV, also leased after declaring bankruptcy.

Exploited workers Canada's 'slave trade'

Posted in

Skilled Filipino workers packed into filthy house, denied pay, threatened with deportation
August 30, 2008 - The Toronto Star
Dale Brazao

It was 5:30 in the morning when Edwin Canilang realized he had been bought and sold.

Crowded in the back of a van heading north of Toronto with four other Filipino men last summer, the skilled welder faced another unpaid day on a cleanup detail at a bottling plant.

He thought of his wife, who had just given birth to their third child back home in San Carlos, a five-hour drive north of Manila.

He thought of the promises that lured him to Canada – $23 an hour, plus overtime, food and lodging, to help build two icebreakers for the Canadian Arctic.

He thought of his first week in Canada, eight men in the basement of a Toronto house sleeping four to a bed, their passports taken from them. Then they were trucked north to their new home – a filthy, abandoned farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.

Stop the Raids on Migrant Workers! Stop Police Brutality! Don't Ask Don't Tell!

May/22/2008 - 12:00 pm
May/22/2008 - 2:00 pm


Stop the Raids on Migrant Workers! Stop Police Brutality! Don't Ask Don't

Rally at Police Headquarters
40 College Street (between Bay & Yonge)
Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

On May 7, 2008, the Canadian Border Services Agency with assistance from Peel Regional Police raided SDR Distribution, at Dixie Rd. and Highway 401 in Mississauga.

As the police held the workplace hostage, Border Service Agents swarmed the building, checking IDs, harassing workers, and arresting 45 undocumented women and men.

The raids took place the day after the Auditor General's Report claimed that there were 41,000 "missing" undocumented workers that had to be immediately apprehended. Harper's government has escalated its attack on migrant communities using police officers as its enforcement tools.

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