Status for All Migrant and Temporary Workers in Canada! End Canada's Participation in Human Trafficking!

The government must be held to account for its role in creating a temporary foreign worker regime that employers use to provide cheap workers for themselves. Through this and other programs that deprive temporary workers of their rights, the government also enables private agencies to profit from recruiting and often outright robbing the foreign workers they traffic to employers.

The unjust treatment of migrant workers shows that Justin Trudeau's claim to champion the cause of women's rights is also bogus in practice. The Trudeau government has not sorted out the trafficking and killing of Indigenous women and girls. Likewise it does not protect and defend the rights of temporary foreign workers, the majority of whom are women.

The people demand justice and a guarantee of the rights of all. The state-organized deportation of the Concepcion family on January 27 (see below) and other attacks against migrant and foreign temporary workers, in many cases suffering abuse from employers and human traffickers, must end.

An example of such abuse is the criminal case recently concluded, after six years, against Hector Mantolino, the owner and operator of a company in Halifax. On March 1, Mantolino was sentenced to two years in jail for violating the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, in which 56 charges originally filed in 2013 were ultimately rolled into one indictment. Over the years, Mantolino brought 28 workers from the Philippines under a foreign worker program. He was found to have underpaid his workers and exploited them. The case revealed that he threatened workers and told them that if they complained about their situation to others then the Canadian government would deport them back to the Philippines. Documents estimate that Mantolino paid them at least $500,000 less than their total reported salaries. According to local media, one of these workers, Liza Alcantara, was told by Mantolino that "she would have to pay Mantolino $2,000 for air fare and $100 a month for her rent. Alcantara said she was also told that her real salary would be $500 for 134 hours worked ($3.75 per hour) with only $5 for overtime."

The government takes no responsibility for contributing to and parasitizing off of the situation of an economically depressed and oppressed Philippines. Colonial plunder and control have left the Philippines destitute and severely underdeveloped, forcing some 12 million Filipinos to leave their homeland and live abroad seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

Filipino workers who have migrated abroad collectively contribute some $30 billion annually to the foreign-dominated Philippines economy. ExPress Money, which many Filipino migrant workers use to transfer funds to their families in the Philippines, noted in 2016: "Money transfers from Filipinos working all over the world account for at least 10 per cent of the country's GDP, the second largest source of foreign capital after value-added exports like electronic components, and a major source of private consumption which in turn accounts for 75 per cent of the GDP."

Successive governments in the Philippines, including the present Duterte regime, have done nothing to extricate the Philippines from the U.S.-dominated imperialist system of states. The regime actively encourages the out-migration of workers from the Philippines, while providing no protection for them from the abuse and thievery of unscrupulous human traffickers and foreign regimes, such as in Canada, that facilitate this inhumanity.

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 16 - May 4, 2019

Article Link:
Status for All Migrant and Temporary Workers in Canada! End Canada's Participation in Human Trafficking! - Philip Fernandez


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