Unheeded Warnings: Covid-19 and Migrant Workers in Canada

Over the decades, there have been countless reports, publications, testimonials, and media stories in which migrant workers have raised concerns about how Canada’s temporary immigration system breeds abuse and exploitation. These warnings have been ignored. As COVID-19 ravaged communities across Canada, migrant workers again raised the alarm with many federal and provincial agencies or liaison officers. The Migrant Rights Network - Canada’s largest migrant justice coalition - wrote several letters to federal and provincial agencies outlining concerns from migrant workers. All were ignored.

We are writing about a crisis from within a crisis while responding to the crisis. The report was written while responding to COVID-19 outbreaks. The final result, then, is a work in progress. A snapshot in time. We write this in the hope of shining a light - yet again - on the injustices that underlie Canada’s food system. But we do not claim comprehensiveness or universality - no report on this subject can ever be complete until the fundamental discrimination and exploitation built into Canada’s temporary immigration programs are done away with. Until then, there will always be more abuses to expose, indignities to denounce, and demands for change to be made.

Publication Date: 
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Toronto, Canada