May 2, 2020 - No. 15

The Unaccountable Cartel Party System of Government

CPC(M-L)'s Guide to Action: For Us, Accountability Begins at Home

The Virtual Parliament's "Accountability Sessions"

The "Administrative" Parliament Is No More Accountable
Than the "Normal" Parliament

For Your Information

• Resolution of the 8th Congress of CPC(M-L) on Accountability

The Need to Set a New Direction for the Economy

Say No! to Business as Usual in the Energy Sector

- K.C. Adams -

Orphan Well Clean-Up Fund Is Another Giant
Pay-the-Rich Scheme

- Dougal MacDonald -

Justice for Migrant Workers

Defence Organizations Demand Protection for All Farm Workers
• On the Current Situation at Cargill in High River, Alberta

Critical, but Expendable -- Migrant Agricultural Workers
in the Time of COVID-19

Temporary Foreign Workers Merit Permanent
Residency, Not Threats!

- Diane Johnston -

COVID-19 and Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

The Right to Education

How to Affirm Education as a Right in Today's Conditions

- Laura Chesnik  -

Reopening Quebec

There Is No Return to a Normal in Which the Democratic
Norms We Are Setting Are Not Respected

- Pierre Soublière -

• Pretending There's a Choice Doesn't Absolve Governments
of Their Responsibility

- Linda Sullivan -

United States

Immigration Ban Issued Using Pretext of Pandemic

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Creates
Conditions for Outbreaks in Detention Centres

COVID-19 Update

• On the Global Pandemic for Week Ending May 2

The Unaccountable Cartel Party System of Government

CPC(M-L)'s Guide to Action:
For Us, Accountability Begins at Home

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is guided by the motto For Us, Accountability Begins at Home. This is not the propaganda ploy of the politician who tells his or her electors "Trust me, I will deliver the goods." It is, first and foremost, a pledge taken by CPC(M-L) and all its members that they will be accountable to their peers and on this basis ensure that not only are they accountable to society but society is accountable to its members.

There are various problems with the current system based on "Trust me, I will deliver," besides the well-known problem that it is not true. The main problem is that it points to an electoral system based on disenfranchising the electorate. It signifies that the electors have no control over those whom they elect to represent them. Of course, not everyone who says such a thing is insincere or not well-meaning. There are not a few naive people who join the ranks of this or that established political party who truly believe such things to be true when they run for office. The fact that when they get into office they are unable to be effective in passing well-intentioned legislation should tell them that the problem lies with the political process itself and that it requires fundamental changes. CPC(M-L) is therefore appealing to such people, and especially to the workers who see no alternative, along with all Canadians, to look into this issue in a profound manner and discuss what the problem is.

The notion inherent in election promises is altogether unacceptable, no matter whether what is promised is good or bad. It presupposes an electoral process which disenfranchises the electors by getting them to hand over their mandate to govern to representatives over whom they can exercise no control. It misrepresents reality by perpetuating the illusion that individual MPs can represent what they want in Parliament. In fact, in a system in which only political parties are allowed to seek power and governments are formed by the party which wins a majority, it is the program of the party that forms the cabinet which is enacted in Parliament. In a minority situation, such as exists at this time, a lot of horse-trading takes place but this does not change the fact that such parties form a cartel party system in the service of those who brought them to power -- the most powerful financial interests. There is not one government of Canada, since elections were first organized, that has not implemented the program of the vested interests which brought it to power.

The problem is that even though all Canadians know that the elections based on "Trust me, I will deliver the goods" are a fraud, the idea prevails that somehow elections hold the party in power to account. If the people do not like what it does, it can be turfed out of office in the next election in favour of another party. Many who want to change the situation will still act in a naive way and decide to back those who tell them "We are different. We will deliver the goods "

This is why the motto of CPC(M-L) is so significant and should be seriously looked at by all those who sincerely want to be effective. The first question arises as to why this motto is different from any other. What does it mean? If, as the CPC(M-L) says, it is not a propaganda ploy, what is it?

It is a guide to action for all members of CPC(M-L) and for CPC(M-L) itself. What it means is that the Party is itself a mechanism of accountability. It is telling Canadians that in order to empower themselves, they should not entrust the important field of politics to anyone else but get involved themselves.

The idea that politics is the domain of "politicians" is itself a mechanism to keep Canadians disempowered. Politics is presented in a very distorted manner. The impression is created that in order to become a politician you have to be a very slick talker, you have to be a professional of some sort, preferably a lawyer, or an accountant or huckster from a consulting firm or a bank, and so on. And that it is necessary to either have a lot of money oneself or access to it. This means that those who are not independently wealthy have to have very good connections with those who are -- whether it is the party itself that one will run on behalf of, or business contacts.

This conception of politics and politicians breeds contempt and, as mentioned previously, acts as a very definite mechanism to keep Canadians out of politics so that they leave politics to these politicians. The problem is so serious that the impression is created that nothing can be done about it. This is the way things are and can't be changed.

In fact, this is not so. In the first place, this is not what politics are. The field of politics includes everything that concerns the political structures of society. A society cannot exist without these structures because a society must necessarily have its instruments of government. It is the glue that keeps it together. What principles guide these instruments of government and how they function tell you who controls the decision-making power and hence what kind of society it is.

Today all human beings are born to society and belong to society. They depend on that society for their living. The field of living concerns all aspects of life -- how people are able to acquire their living and how they can pursue their living. In other words, it concerns their economic well-being, their health care, their education and their participation in social and cultural life. This means that just as every human being has the right to life, so too they have the right to govern the society which sets what kind of life it is and will be in the future. This is the field of politics.

It is a fundamental human right to participate in governing one's society. Not only does it not make sense to live at the mercy of others, but to agree to do so means to agree to a system which fundamentally violates one's human rights.

A study of the system of party government in Canada shows that the aim of political parties has become one of seeking and remaining in power. The role of the electorate is reduced to that of voting cattle. Within this process, electoral promises are made to hoodwink the electors and electoral programs are "marketed" so as to get votes and divert the people.

CPC(M-L) does not agree with this electoral process. It is calling on Canadians to join its work to build a mechanism in which those who present themselves for election are accountable to the electors. The motto For Us, Accountability Begins at Home guides the members of CPC(M-L) to make sure their activities will lead to bringing these changes about. It begins with encouraging everyone to speak in their own name, not just repeat what the ruling classes tell us is important and make that the reference point for the conversation but to voice what people themselves see is necessary. Joining in to create the forums which make speaking in one's own name possible opens a path to renew the political process and for society's progress.

Haut de page

The Virtual Parliament's "Accountability Sessions"

The Canadian Parliament has been holding virtual "Accountability Sessions" since April 28. They are much hyped by official media, as well as the parties which form the cartel party system of government, as a form of accountability. Keep in mind that already the government has passed legislation giving itself a mandate to use exceptional powers during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite this, Canadians are told that the new "accountability sessions" are an arrangement which defends Canada's democratic institutions by making sure the government is held to account.

The House of Commons and Senate were shut down mid-March as part of the country-wide measures of social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus. They were initially scheduled to re-open on April 20 or to be further postponed on the basis of an all-party consensus. During a live session of the House of Commons on April 20, with the participation of 37 MPs, a government motion to adjourn the House until May 25 was passed. Methods for in-person "accountability sessions" were adopted (the expression coined by Opposition Leader Andrew Sheer) along with those for virtual sessions. The Liberal government's motion was adopted by a vote of 22 in favour to 15 against. The NDP, Bloc Québécois and Green Party supported the motion. The sessions are not considered "normal, constitutional sittings" of the House. They are sessions of the COVID-19 Committee that was put in place in March to develop the rescue package and chaired by Chrystia Freeland. All 338 MPs are members of the special COVID-19 Committee but in the "live sessions" only 37-40 MPs sit at a time, with a quorum of seven MPs (as opposed to the usual 20).

The motion adopted on April 20 calls for one in-person sitting and two virtual sittings per week -- on Tuesdays and Thursday -- until at least May 25. It also continues the new special COVID-19 Committee, now chaired by House Speaker Anthony Rota, which will meet virtually while the House stands adjourned. Its first meeting was held on April 28. It is being billed as an opportunity for MPs to scrutinize the government's response to the pandemic by posing questions to the ministers and Mr. Trudeau, as well as giving them the ability to present petitions.

The method for holding votes on motions and bills has yet to be finalized by the House Procedures Committee.

The Senate, for its part, agreed to extend its adjournment until June 2.

Media report that ways are being found by the Prime Minister, the opposition parties, the provincial premiers and business and union leaders to "work things out" without a sitting parliament. The example is given of "positive input" by Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff in direct conversations with the Prime Minister and with Perrin Beatty, the head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, on the implementation of the rescue package.

In an April 9 note, the House Speaker's office explained why the Chamber couldn't just hook everyone up to Zoom and call it a day for House business outside of committees: "The House of Commons has additional requirements, including, and most importantly, the need to ensure that the solutions fully support simultaneous interpretation, so that Members of Parliament and Canadians can follow the proceedings in the official language of their choice."

The Toronto Star's Jaime Watt writes that "Real challenges remain for the Speaker and his staff. There are MPs who represent rural ridings where broadband connectivity is spotty at best. The most popular teleconferencing software is insufficiently secure. Many MPs struggle with the technology. There is, surprisingly, no easy way to arrange for simultaneous translation. It is not clear if the laws of parliamentary privilege that protect members from defamation and libel lawsuits apply in the virtual realm. And, of course, other quaint, many would say anachronistic, customs, such as the tradition of directing remarks to the Speaker instead of a specific member, may also need to be revisited. As you can see, the list goes on and on....

"Yet the pressing need for checks and balances remains. As I wrote in this space two weeks ago, democracy is never as precarious as during a pandemic. The government has already shown itself unafraid of anti-democratic overreach. Its attempt to invest the Minister of Finance with sweeping emergency powers that would last 18 months being exhibit A. Only in the face of fierce public criticism, led by the opposition, did the government back down."

In his daily press briefing on April 20, ahead of the vote in the House, Prime Minister Trudeau said "I think it's all of our collective responsibility to do the best we can through this difficult situation.[...] It is really important for me that we continue to uphold our democracy, our democratic principles, the principles of accountability, the ability to move forward with new legislation to help Canadians. That really matters. But it really matters that we do so responsibly."

The Conservatives objected to the government's motion. "Mr. Trudeau needs to explain why he is trying to replace Parliament with press conferences," Interim Leader Andrew Scheer said.

The Conservatives first proposed that live, on-the-floor "accountability sessions" take place four times a week and finally, at the time of the April 20 vote, they settled for two times a week in an amendment to the Liberal government's motion, which failed to pass.

"Conservatives continue to believe that frequent accountability sessions in Parliament get better results for Canadians," Scheer said. "We have repeatedly demonstrated how debate, discussion and opportunities to question the Prime Minister and his other ministers improve government programs and policies."

The Toronto Star's Susan Delacourt pointed out that what Scheer didn't say was that various arrangements have been reached outside of the "accountability" sessions in the Chamber and "accompanying political theatrics." She said, "This sounds an awful lot like democracy and accountability -- all managed without theatrics and tiresome political potshots," referring to the back-and-forth between political parties on pandemic relief which has been happening over the phone, or in small private meetings on Parliament Hill, far away from the cameras,

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he wants the House to sit once a week, which would allow Parliament to adopt legislative amendments and improve benefits to Canadians affected by the pandemic.

The Bloc Québécois and the Green Party consider the debate over accountability during the pandemic a "nuisance" and that pressing matters brought by the health crisis require immediate, unencumbered action, news agencies report. Bloc Québécois Leader Francois Yves-François Blanchet said having the House sit once a week, supplemented with virtual sittings, will still allow MPs to have a substantive debate on the government's measures.

Green MP Paul Manly, raised a question of privilege in the April 20 sitting, saying that many MPs' rights are "violated by any motion to proceed with regular sittings of the House in which they cannot participate."

Green Party parliamentary spokesperson Elizabeth May has said even the limited sittings held so far, involving about 40 MPs, felt unsafe to her because physical distancing was difficult within the confines of the Chamber. These sessions also force political staff, cleaners, translators, and others, to come into work when they should be staying home, she said.

She noted that she and Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre had become particularly adept at using the dial-in technology to press the government and public servants on details of planned legislation.

May concedes these are extraordinary circumstances and would resist the first sign of government "running roughshod" over its political opponents. But, she says, so far that is not the case. "I don't think Canadians will appreciate people and parties that seek partisan advantage right now," she added.

"We have those daily question and answer sessions," May said. "I know that not all of us get our questions in every single day. Some of us do well."

Bloc Québécois Leader Blanchet also prefers the online option of House sittings in the interests of containing the virus. He said it was "silly" to continue debates among MPs over parliamentary procedures at this time. "I don't think this is of interest to so-called real people," he said. "I must confess it doesn't interest me much as well." He said the current discussions are showing a "disconnect" between politicians and the population.

The Globe and Mail's Daniel Leblanc reports: "The pandemic has made strange bedfellows of Canadian politicians and other top decision-makers from across the economy, all engaged in an unprecedented exercise in policy design and implementation."

Haut de page

The "Administrative" Parliament Is No More Accountable Than the "Normal" Parliament

The House of Commons was adjourned on March 13 following the advice of health officials that people avoid large gatherings, travel, and close interactions amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The House partially resumed sittings in April, with a plan for one sitting in the House of Commons each week, and weekly virtual sittings as soon as the House administration can work through the technical barriers to holding them, the Hill Times reports. Besides the limited virtual "accountability sessions," other virtual meetings and teleconferences have replaced various meetings and other functioning of Parliament and government ministries.

According to news agency reports, all MPs and Senators are receiving a daily technical briefing on the COVID-19 global pandemic seven days a week. Daily teleconference briefing is coordinated by Health Minister Patty Hajdu's office and takes place at 4:30 pm EST. The briefings, which are about 30-45 minutes long, started a few days after the House adjourned in mid-March.

In the briefing, between 10 and 12 senior public officials from different departments, including Health, Finance, Global Affairs, the Canada Revenue Agency and others, answer questions from Parliamentarians. If they don't have the information to answer a specific question, these officials take note of questions and provide answers the next day.

Since the suspension of the House in mid-March, all parliamentary caucuses have been holding virtual weekly meetings. The Liberal caucus holds a teleconference meeting every day, giving MPs an opportunity to question Cabinet ministers and sometimes the Prime Minister about specific government programs and provide them with feedback from their constituents, the Hill Times reports.

As for the briefings to MPs who form the Loyal Royal Opposition and the Senators, a Conservative MP was quoted as saying that technical briefings are better than nothing, but these briefings have very limited utility in terms of improving legislation or a government program. These briefings are presumably also designed to provide opposition MPs a platform to inform government ministers "of their constituents' concerns."

Technical briefings are useful only to understand the mechanical aspects of a piece of legislation, or a government program. They do not involve back and forth exchanges, an NDP MP told the Hill Times.

But Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May is gushing over the arrangement. She said that "she has been impressed by the briefings and the cooperation from the government on COVID-19, because the government pays attention to issues raised even by opposition MPs," the Hill Times reported. "I get direct personal contact [with Cabinet ministers] at a level that's far more than the normal when Parliament is in session," May said. "[T]he flow of information and the degree of collaboration is frankly off the charts," she said.

In addition to the daily 4:30 pm briefing, offices of other Cabinet ministers, including that of Finance Minister Bill Morneau, also hold teleconference briefings for Parliamentarians to update them about the government initiatives to mitigate the damage caused by COVID-19, the Hill Times reports.

Brian Masse of the NDP said that these briefings are helpful but are too short, not leaving enough time for all politicians to ask questions.

"Depending upon the group you are with, the session could be dominated either by the parliamentary secretary or a Liberal that seems to be occupying a lot of time on the phone and eliminating Members' time to raise questions," said Masse. "If it's a bureaucratic meeting, then there's no policy direction really formally passed on to the political direction. So, it's for information gathering, it's not for a two-door process for legislative changes."

A Conservative MP said that at least MPs can question senior government officials in those calls, but based on his experience, mostly, they don't get any information that's exclusive or unique, and not available through other means.

Haut de page

For Your Information

Resolution of the 8th Congress of CPC(M-L)
on Accountability

8th Congress of CPC(M-L) held in Ottawa, August 2008.

GIVEN the defeat of the Charlottetown Accord in October 1992 clearly signified that class struggle between the working class and the bourgeoisie over who decides the affairs of the society had broken out in all earnest;

GIVEN the disequilibrium in the parliamentary system after the 1993 federal election that to date has not been re-established whereby the party system of governance based on a party-in-power and a party-in-opposition said to represent the will of the people has collapsed and deepened the crisis of representative democracy;

GIVEN the defeat of the Charlottetown Accord and disequilibrium from the 1993 federal election opened a space for change that the working class must occupy;

GIVEN that far from renewing the political process to recognize the people's right to elect and be elected, the parties in Parliament have engaged in one reform of the electoral law after another to concentrate privilege and power in their own hands, which has led to the further alienation of the people's right to govern themselves;

GIVEN that with these electoral reforms the political parties in Parliament have become appendages of the state and have formed a cartel-party system which brokers deals behind the backs of the people to preserve themselves through minority governments;

GIVEN the tendency of these governments to enshrine monopoly right and embroil Canada in U.S.-led aggression and wars of occupation, annex Canada into a North America of the Monopolies and enact laws that violate individual and collective rights;

RECOGNIZING the general discontent with the entire political process symbolizes that the demands of the people have far surpassed the possibility of their satisfaction through the current political process and that this discontent and demand for change of the political process have become more intense;

RECOGNIZING the demand of the people to exercise control over their lives by participating in governing their society requires that those elected to office represent the people and are directly accountable to them and that this change means a new kind of political party must come into being that strives to empower the electorate and not come to power for its own self-serving interests;

RECOGNIZING that the cartel-party system based on party-domination and party-privilege will continue to obstruct the development of political rights for all and create an ever more dangerous situation with the establishment of a values-based system violating the right to conscience and criminalizing political opinion on the fascist basis of "Canadian values" that must be accepted by all;

RECOGNIZING the need to change the electoral law to guarantee that no inequality based on a person's status in society in terms of wealth or access to levers of political power or influence be allowed to deny any individual's right to participate fully in the political process, set the agenda for the country, and to elect and be elected;

RECOGNIZING the essential flaw in the Canada Elections Act is that it enables political parties to exercise those rights, which by universal standards of human rights, are the entitlement of all members of the polity, and that the elimination of this domination and privilege of a political elite and business parties is crucial to the democratic renewal of the political process;

RECOGNIZING the fact that the cartel-party politicians will never legislate themselves out of existence thereby requiring all those who have an interest in democratic renewal to join together and constitute themselves a force as worker politicians who champion democratic renewal;

RECOGNIZING the election of this or that party and "coalition politics" blocks society's path to progress since political parties or coalitions formed to come to power themselves conciliate with the anachronistic democratic institutions whose aim is to deprive the people of power;

RECOGNIZING that the first step of democratic renewal is for workers to lead the way by creating their own mechanisms of political change, establishing their own agenda, and selecting candidates to fight for their agenda from amongst their peers -- that the line and slogans Accountability Begins at Home! Empower the People! No Election Without Selection! Fund the Process Not the Parties! Become Worker Politicians -- Build Renewal Committees! Elect an Anti-War Government! present in the most simplified and concrete way the first steps that need to be taken by all at this time and that workers and their allies organized as worker politicians is the most effective opposition and force for democratic renewal;


1. Put the full weight of the Party behind its program:

For Us Accountability Begins at Home

Empower the People!

No Election Without Selection!

Fund the Process Not the Parties!

Become a Worker Politician -- Build Renewal Committees!

Elect an Anti-War Government!

2. Put the full weight of the Party behind the building of renewal committees:

1) established from the ranks of peers within places of work, educational institutions, neighbourhoods and amongst seniors;

2) conducting their work based on practical politics and non-partisan mass political mobilization to unite the people in action for democratic renewal;

3. Provide the following mandate to the national leader of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada:

1) be responsible for the profile of the MLPC as a party of Canadian renewal;

2) represent the MLPC during and between elections at all official functions;

3) be a resource person available to speak at the request of national, regional and local organizations;

4) establish a public relations office of the National Leader to deal with media and inquiries from the public;

5) issue communiqués of the MLPC on a regular basis;

6) educate the members of the MLPC and the public on the Canada Elections Act, theories of governance and related issues;

7) endorse all MLPC candidates during a federal election;

8) make sure the MLPC is at all times in conformity with the Canada Elections Act.

4. Mandate the executive of the MLPC to consolidate the National Office of the MLPC, renovate the website of the MLPC, conduct membership campaigns and go all out to participate in federal elections with the aim of electing an effective workers' opposition and anti-war government.

Haut de page

The Need to Set a New Direction for the Economy

Say No! to Business as Usual in the Energy Sector

The current direction of the energy sector throughout Canada has proved disastrous for the economy, the environment and those who do the work. The Trudeau government's announcement on April 17 of $1.7 billion to clean up orphan wells left behind by irresponsible owners of oil companies is further proof of the necessity for change. The government action seems pathetic in the face of the tens of thousands of layoffs in the sector, the economic damage to the communities affected by the crisis, the suffering of the people, the out-of-control market price for oil and natural gas that is well below the price of production, and the grim prospects for the future when those in control present business as usual as the only option.

Canadians have no control over how much oil and natural gas are produced, their market prices, where they are sold and end up, and what happens to most of the new value oil and gas workers produce. After years of hype of how wonderful the future will be for the energy sector if only Canadians produce more and more, a monumental crisis has gripped the sector worldwide with unprecedented layoffs, bankruptcies and collapse. And the best the Canadian ruling elite can come up with is to clean up a fraction of the environmental mess those who own and control the industry have caused and for which they refuse to pay, and declare business as usual when the crisis eases.

Anarchy of Production and Its Disastrous Consequences

The economic base of the social relation in Canada regularly falls into crisis. Look at the energy sector. The sector has not even emerged from the collapse in 2014 of market prices for oil and natural gas when it finds itself in yet another even more serious crisis. Then and now those in control refuse to address the recurring problems and map out a new direction. They engage in perseveration, constantly bleating the same thing when life itself has proved that what they are pushing does not work and needs to change.

The imperialists in control of the already-produced value have said that the road to prosperity is for workers to produce more and more oil for shipment to the U.S. and beyond with pipelines going south and west to tide water, and this would secure the future of the energy sector. The result does not match the hype. What good is a pipeline if no buyers exist or, if they do, the market price of the product is close to zero?

The anarchy and boom and bust of uncontrolled oil and natural gas production in the U.S. through hydraulic fracturing has led to unprecedented global overproduction and other problems. The doubling of U.S. oil and natural gas production in just ten years coupled with the coronavirus pandemic have collapsed the trade and speculation in oil and its market price is close to zero with no place to store the unsold production.

In Alberta, the working class faces 25 per cent unemployment or worse, businesses are going bankrupt and people confront a spectre of wrecked social programs and public services, which have been starved of investments for decades. The environmental damage left behind, which was never addressed even when the sector was so-called booming, poses serious risks to the social and natural environment. The imperialists in control refuse to admit that they have no solutions except more of the same, which is no solution at all.

The energy oligarchs cannot even control the market price of the precious natural resources the workers produce. Futures traders in Chicago and elsewhere engage in parasitic speculation in the trade of energy commodities worldwide. The producers flood the market with carbon commodities to defeat their competitors and then throw up their hands in disbelief when prices collapse, blame others for the disasters they have participated in causing and even call for war in the Persian Gulf as a solution to eliminating 25 million barrels of oil a day from global supply.

The response of those in control cannot be considered serious, only self-serving and dangerous in the extreme. Their narrow aim for maximum profit cannot bring under control the immense productive forces that have been unleashed. They will not admit the obvious that the imperialist system has failed and is in one crisis after another and the economies need a new aim and direction. They deny that the sellout of Canadian resources and their refusal to build a dynamic diverse pro-social economy are wrong and must be changed and that control of the economy must be handed over to the actual producers, to those who do the work and have a stake in production and its planned distribution and are deeply concerned for the future of their communities and country.

What a sad joke to suggest the way out of the crisis is more of the same and business as usual with endless handouts to the self-same energy oligarchs through government buyouts of their failed projects such as the Keystone XL and Trans Mountain pipelines, and public payments to clean up the mess they have left behind along with additional public money to deal with issues such as methane gas escaping into the atmosphere, which should be dealt with as a part of the normal production process.

The Necessity for a New Direction for the
Energy Sector and Economy

Discussion and exchange of views on a new direction for the energy sector must begin now. Questions have to be asked as to what has happened to all the new value that the big oil and gas companies have expropriated. Why has that value not gone into building a dynamic diverse economy immune to world prices and demand? Why do Canadians not have any control over how much oil and gas they produce, where the energy commodities go and their market prices?

The people are not in control. The oligarchs in control of production and distribution are driven by greed, which means they cannot control the immense productive forces of the modern economy, the precious natural resources Canada possesses and the consequences of their actions. Canadians must gain control and come up with a new direction and aim for the energy sector and economy that serves their interests and humanizes the social and natural environment.

Discussion and Exchange of Views Must Begin Today

Virtual forums of working people and other social strata must begin immediately to discuss and exchange views on the necessity for a new direction for the energy sector and economy and how to gain control over them.

Fundamental questions must be answered as to what are the needs of the Canadian economy for energy and how can they be met with Canadian production in a planned way, and what practical politics are necessary to bring in the New. Enough of this uncontrolled anarchy of production that only fills the bulging pockets of rich oligarchs whose sole aim is maximum profit and regularly leads to crisis.

Discussion and exchange of views must take place on what should and could be done with the immense new value that energy workers produce and how it could be invested in the economy.

Demand for Canadian oil and natural gas from outside the country can be contracted for in a planned and mutually beneficial way with market prices near their prices of production and transportation. This means the parasites who trade in oil and gas markets and the global companies that produce, sell and buy oil and gas must be eliminated from Canada's national and international distribution of oil and gas.

If other countries such as the U.S. refuse to pay prices that match the prices of production then that is their right, and it is the right of Canadians not to deliver oil and natural gas to anyone without reaching a mutually beneficial arrangement. Such arrangements must not be subjected to the interference, anarchy and parasitism of the global oil futures markets or any other mechanism that the financial oligarchy has devised to serve its greed, parasitism and decay.

Discussion and exchange of views have to happen with Indigenous peoples to meet their expectations for development and benefit and to obtain their consent for any industrial or other activity in their territories.

Discussion and exchange of views have to take place to develop a lifestyle and enforce a Canadian standard of living, working conditions and security for those workers who construct the means of production, produce the oil and natural gas, and refine and transport those commodities to consumers.

Discussion and exchange of views have to occur surrounding the broader issues and concern for the health of the natural environment and what has to be done to advance the science in this regard.

The issue above all else is that business as usual in the energy sector is finished throughout Canada from coast to coast to coast and working people must ensure that is the case with practical politics and actions with analysis. A new direction has to be found and implemented, a direction that working people themselves elaborate and control and have the political and economic power to implement.

Haut de page

Orphan Well Clean-Up Fund Is Another Giant
Pay-the-Rich Scheme

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on April 17 that the federal government will provide $1.7 billion in funding to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells in the oil-producing provinces -- Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan to "keep people working" during the COVID-19 pandemic. A small number of these wells are typically called orphan wells. The government also said it will make a $750 million public fund available to reduce methane emissions in the energy sector. The fund includes $75 million to help the offshore industry cut emissions in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Issue of Orphan and Inactive Wells

Thousands of inactive and abandoned oil wells are scattered throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC, an environmental liability that will cost billions of dollars to reverse. 

During the last crisis, beginning in 2014 when the imperialist-dictated market price for oil fell dramatically, many companies -- such as Lexin Resources, Redwater Energy, Houston Oil and Gas, and Trident Exploration -- simply walked away from thousands of oil wells. The environmental liabilities were transferred to the public treasury with some going to Alberta's industry-led and funded Orphan Well Association.

Orphan oil and gas wells are those abandoned by developers who have disappeared, gone bankrupt or declared they no longer have the financial means to pay for proper decommissioning of the wells. According to Finance Canada, there are about 4,700 orphan wells in Alberta, 600 in Saskatchewan and 350 in British Columbia. Alberta has another 94,000 inactive wells, that are no longer productive but not cleaned up, and there are a further 36,000 inactive wells in Saskatchewan and 12,000 in BC.

An amount for the cleanup for the wells has not been regularly deducted from gross income while the wells are producing or not enough is deducted and put aside. To clean up a well after its productive life ranges from $100,000 to millions of dollars, depending on the size and complexity of the well.

A problem with the current method of hydraulic fracturing for both oil and natural gas is that the start-up investment is larger than for conventional wells and the period of production is far shorter, as little as six months for oil wells in some cases. This makes the ratio much narrower between new value from production and the price to bring the exhausted well back to acceptable environmental standards. The Narwhal magazine highlights this problem with research showing that fracked wells regularly have a much shorter lifespan than conventional wells, which might be plumbed for 20 years while fracked wells typically only last six months to three years. The Narwhal says a big problem with the fracking boom is the sheer number of wells that will be lying dormant after being plumbed. A lot of those wells actually belong to companies that are entirely solvent yet refuse to do the necessary environmental remediation. The energy sector is not communicating the true impact of the number of wells that are already out there that require attention.

Restoring oil and gas wells is a multi-year process. First, wells need to be decommissioned, or sealed with cement. Full reclamation involves cleaning up contamination, and restoring the land to pre-activity conditions.

"Decommissioning an inactive well reduces the likelihood that oil, methane gas and saline water will move up through the well into freshwater aquifers, surface water, the ground or the atmosphere," wrote former BC Auditor General Carol Bellringer in a special report. "While the upstream oil and gas industry is an important component of BC's economy, it introduces environmental risks that result in financial liability," Bellringer's report noted. "Potential contamination from oil and gas activities can affect ground and surface water quality, air quality, human health, wildlife and livestock; if operators do not restore their inactive sites in a timely manner, environmental risk and resulting financial liability will remain."

Regarding the orphan and inactive wells fund for energy companies, Prime Minister Trudeau said, "This is an opportunity for us to make sure that Albertans are getting to work cleaning up their province." The government also said that private companies in the sector that are still engaged in production can avail themselves of the $73 billion wage subsidy program. The program will pay 75 per cent of workers' wages, up to a certain amount. Energy firms can also apply for lines of credit through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada, which currently allows for loans between $15 million and $60 million to cover operating costs. The federal government is also backing loans of up to $40,000 for businesses that have a payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million a year. Up to $10,000 of the interest-free loan is non-repayable. To date, 220,000 loans worth $8.8 billion have been approved.

Cleaning up orphan and inactive wells using the $1.7 billion will employ 5,200 workers until the money is exhausted, the government suggests. The funding could help improve balance sheets of energy companies by removing some of their environmental liabilities, meaning they could then borrow more funds.

The Alberta Example

The funds from the federal program will be delivered by the Alberta government. The program will cover between 25 and 100 per cent of the cost of cleanup, depending on the company's "ability to pay." It can be used to close wells, remove abandoned pipelines, and conduct environmental site assessments. On April 24, it was announced that, beginning May 1, Alberta oilfield services companies can apply online for grants in $100 million increments. A second $100 million increment will be released May 15 to June 15. In a nutshell, the federal government's orphan well program is paying the clean-up costs incurred by the oil and gas companies, often foreign-owned, that have made mega-profits over many years by exploiting Alberta's labour and natural resources.

Trudeau claims that the goal of the federal funding is to create immediate jobs in the three provinces, while helping companies avoid bankruptcy. The Alberta government has already budgeted more than $70 million for cleanup using similar rationales. In reality, government funding from both levels is just another giant pay-the-rich scheme and in any case is totally inadequate. Instead of holding the energy monopolies responsible to clean up their own messes and enforcing the principle upheld by the people that "polluter pays," those in power are using public funds to pay for the cleanup. And the claim of "creating jobs" is totally disingenuous in the face of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's funding cuts to Alberta school boards that has resulted in the layoff of up to 25,000 education workers.

The quoted numbers of orphan wells in Alberta vary. A December 28, 2019 Financial Post article said that Alberta's Orphan Well Association had about 3,406 orphan wells on their "clean-up list," which are typically on the properties of rural landowners. The large number of orphan wells is mainly due to the fact that energy companies have been allowed to simply walk away from their responsibilities for clean-up by declaring bankruptcy, and many of them continue to do so.

Noteworthy is that there are another 94,000 inactive oil and gas wells in Alberta, some or all of which could eventually become orphaned. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the provincial government body whose supposed mandate is to ensure provincial oil and gas development takes into account the protection of the environment, estimates the total cost of cleaning up after Alberta's oil and gas industry could be $260 billion. The AER, which is funded by industry and chaired by the former CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, actually functions to streamline the approvals process for energy development. Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil and former U.S. Secretary of State, lauded the AER's work as "decreasing duplication and costs and increasing efficiency."

The AER has a liability management system that is supposed to ensure energy companies that are allowed to drill have sufficient financial assets to pay for cleanup later on. If the company's assets are inadequate to meet environmental liabilities, the AER can collect and hold a security deposit in case the company walks away from the cleanup. Evidence shows that the deposits collected over the years have been grossly inadequate and improperly calculated. Currently, the province's own estimate of the eventual cleanup bill for every oil and gas well in Alberta is $30 billion, while the AER only holds $227 million in financial security deposits. This shortfall is put down to bungling on the part of the AER when in actuality it is just standard operating procedure in order to cater to the needs of the monopolies.

Alberta's Orphan Well Association was created in 2002 "to manage the environmental risks of oil and gas properties that do not have a legally or financially responsible party that can be held to account." Its board of directors includes representatives from the AER, the provincial government, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, whose vice-president is the Chair. The Orphan Well Association maintains an inventory of orphan wells and collects funds to oversee the decommissioning of wells, however, like the AER, its current funds are nowhere near enough to pay the costs of clean-up. That is because the levies on the potential polluters have always been minuscule compared to the predictable costs of cleaning up after them.

Some suggest that the orphan well problem has been created by the failure of the previous government to take action, the collection of inadequate deposits from the monopolies, and the failure to set a time limit for owners to deal with inactive wells. All this is true but neglects to mention that the root cause of all these deficiencies is that Alberta's governments operate as the salesmen for the energy industry and have done so for decades. The people demand an end to pay-the-rich schemes like the new orphan well fund and an increase in investments in social programs and public services to meet the needs of the people and to activate the economy to serve them. The pandemic is very damaging to the people's interests but it is also an opportunity for a new direction and aim for the economy. Canadians must fight for an economy that serves the people and not the rich and that humanizes the social and natural environment.

(The Narwhal, news agencies, BC Auditor General Carol Bellringer's Audit of Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector)

Haut de page

Justice for Migrant Workers

Defence Organizations Demand
Protection for All Farm Workers

Organizations active in defending migrant workers are stepping up their fight in defence of all farm workers, whose most vulnerable section is made up of over 60,000 seasonal and temporary workers who come to Canada each year to work in the agriculture industry. Many arrive through federal programs such as the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).

Last month the federal government granted farmers the ability to hire migrant workers throughout the pandemic, so long as they self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival. The regulation, however, does not apply to those deemed essential by public health officials. The federal government also shamefully washed its hands of the need to provide the ways and means through which migrant farm workers can practice social distancing at work and in their lodgings. Migrant farm workers are typically given inadequate housing that they must share with many others. Yet the federal government has decreed that farm businesses are the best positioned to provide adequate lodging in conjunction with the provinces.

According to a report published in July 2019 by the Canadian Agricultural Resources Council, the employment of temporary migrant workers increased from 45,600 in 2014 to nearly 60,000 in 2017. That means migrant workers made up one-sixth of all jobs in the Canadian agricultural labour force. In Ontario, 14,000 temporary migrants are hired to work in the agricultural sector each season. In southwestern Ontario, Leamington and the neighbouring municipality of Kingsville annually receive 5,000 to 6,000 workers, the vast majority of whom are from Mexico.

For close to 20 years now, Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW) has been advocating for the rights of not only migrant, but all farm workers and is stepping up its fight, under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, to demand urgent protection for these workers.

For example, the Ontario Ford government has announced a wage increase and special bonuses for some of the workers providing front-line services during the coronavirus pandemic, such as certain workers in hospitals, long-term care centres and emergency shelters, but it has not seen fit to include farm workers amongst those eligible for such measures. J4MW is demanding to know why farm workers, one of the most vulnerable and essential groups, are excluded from these income supports. In light of recent news reports about the spread of the virus to agricultural operations, J4MW is demanding that the province undertake measures to protect the interests of farm workers, as well as the food supply chain.

In an April 26 press release, J4MW urges the province and the Ministry of Labour to undertake immediate steps to ensure that all farm workers can be protected from the pandemic's spread. According to the press release, these steps should include the following measures:

- extend the wage boost to include all farm workers in Ontario;

- provide an expedited appeals process for migrant workers filing complaints with respect to occupational health and safety and employment standards;

- do not tie migrant farm workers to a single employer;

- extend occupational health and safety legislation to include agricultural dwellings;

- strengthen anti-reprisal protections to ensure workers are not fired for raising health and safety concerns or if they become sick or are injured at work;

- develop regulations to protect workers from heat stress, chemical or pesticide exposure, confined spaces, working at heights and other occupational hazards;

- increase proactive and snap inspections for all farming operations across Ontario;

- provide hazard pay, sick pay and other benefits to recognize the dangers associated with agricultural work;

- recognize pay based on a piece rate as an occupational health and safety hazard;

- develop and implement occupational health and safety legislation that recognizes racism and systemic discrimination and provides an equity analysis in determining which categories of workers are at greater risk of occupational hazards;

- communicate what protocols the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board has in place to isolate infected workers (and protect uninfected workers) if there is an outbreak in a bunkhouse or workplace;

- end employer wage deductions for all personal protective equipment and develop regulations that ensure employers provide bathrooms, washing facilities and potable water for farm workers across Ontario;

- strengthen migrant worker protection against recruitment fees by holding employers and recruiters jointly liable; and

- end the exclusions to holiday pay, overtime pay, minimum hours of work provisions and the myriad of regulations that deny fairness to farm workers.

"These are long-standing requests that farm workers have been bringing up for decades" said Moilene Samuels, an activist with J4MW. "If we want to stamp out the spread of this pandemic then we need structural changes to address the systemic power imbalances that exist in our field," Samuels added.

J4MW and many organizations fighting in defence of migrant workers are also demanding that the Canadian government provide residency status for all migrant workers.

The press release quotes University of Windsor law professor Dr. Vasanti Venkatesh. He notes that "migrant farm workers have been the lynchpin of the harvesting season and their contributions have become more crucial than ever as they provide Canada with food security during the pandemic. Yet, it is during harvesting season that the workers are given [the] least protection, as they work numerous overtime hours without pay under hazardous living and working conditions."

Venkatesh also notes that "the structural inequities in agriculture work are exacerbated under the twin forces of the pandemic and harvesting pressures. It has therefore never been more imperative to provide the workers with all the rights and protections. Farm employers are receiving several benefits in the form of subsidies and other grants and other regulatory exemptions. It is time that the workers receive the benefits that are due to them and are valued for their essential labour."

Haut de

On the Current Situation at Cargill
in High River, Alberta

Nine hundred and eight of the 2,000 workers at the Cargill plant in High River, Alberta have now tested positive for COVID-19, with 631 declared recovered. At least seven workers are in hospital and five are in intensive care. One Cargill worker and a close contact have died. There are 1,385 cases of COVID-19 in High River, which has a population of less than 14,000. High River is about 60 kms south of Calgary, and Cargill workers live in Calgary as well as High River. The situation is also extremely serious at the JBS plant in Brooks, which has 390 confirmed cases and 456 cases in the community. When added together, 42 per cent of all of Alberta's cases are linked to these plants that are owned by giant foreign monopolies who control the meatpacking industry and together process 70 per cent of Canada's beef.

The High River plant was closed two weeks ago, after workers stayed away in large numbers. Despite the number of workers testing positive growing day by day, Cargill has announced that the plant will re-open on Monday, May 4. In response, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 has sought a stop work order from Alberta Occupational Health and Safety and filed an Unfair Labour Practice Complaint, naming both Cargill and the Government of Alberta as respondents.

The Alberta government states that it requires essential services, including food processing, to abide by social distancing guidelines and other measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. However, Cargill was allowed to continue to force workers to work elbow to elbow under the guise that the company was doing what was "possible," to harass workers to come to work even if they were ill, and to provide personal protective equipment, such as face shields, to the supervisors but not the workers.

Cargill said in a statement April 29 that it had the support of Alberta Health Services and Occupational Health and Safety to reopen. The union points out that they said it was safe when there were 38 workers who had tested positive. UFCW Local 401 called for closure of the plant at that time, but it took 18 days before the plant was finally closed.

A representative of Migrante reports that there are about 500 temporary foreign workers at the plant. UFCW has negotiated clauses in its collective agreement requiring the employer to nominate temporary foreign workers for the Provincial Nominee Program for permanent residency, on the basis Good Enough to Work, Good Enough to Stay. The majority of the workers there are either current or former temporary foreign workers, with the majority coming from the Philippines, while there are others from all over Asia, Africa and Latin America.

UFCW Local 401 has published on its website the results of a survey of the workers, conducted in four languages, to which 600 responded. Two questions were posed to the workers: 1) Do you think the plant should re-open? and 2) Are you afraid to go to work? The website reports that 80 per cent of the workers have said No to re-opening on May 4, and 85 per cent said they fear for their well-being and that of their families if they go back to work.

UFCW Local 401 President Tom Hesse has made it clear that although the union recognizes that it is illegal to take strike action during the life of a collective agreement, workers have a right to refuse unsafe work. Workers at Cargill are very aware of their right to refuse unsafe work, and the union will support workers who exercise that right, he said.

Hesse has issued the following statement on the union's legal moves:

"Cargill and the Government of Alberta have ignored our calls for a worker-centred approach to ensuring the plant is safe. Alberta Health Services inspection reports have not been shared with us, and Occupational Health and Safety inspections have omitted the serious concerns we have raised.

"The whole point of having a union is for powerful, unqualified representation. One of the reasons that unions exist is to promote and defend the right to workplace health and safety.

"It is our objective and role to use every legal avenue available to us to keep the Cargill High River plant closed until we are able to ensure the safety of workers employed there and that their voices have been heard.

"Food workers are afraid to go to work in the current environment. They lack the economic security they need to recover, and they are terrified of bringing this illness to their families and communities. While they try to recover, their employer and government are telling them to get back to work. This recklessly endangers their lives and puts the interests of their bosses first...." 

It is reported that a meeting finally took place on May 2 in the plant with the union and Alberta Health Services present.

Speaking to CBC on May 2, Hesse informed that an emergency hearing is being held at the Alberta Labour Relations Board to prevent the plant from opening on May 4, adding that it is not known how long the process will take. A request made by UFCW on April 30 to the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Department to issue a stop work order to close the plant has not been met.

Hesse went on to recount the experience of workers at a U.S. meat processing plant, which reopened after being closed for two weeks, and COVID-19 infections doubled and workers died. The union does not want that to happen here, and with the Cargill plant having the largest work-related outbreak in North America, the plant must not re-open until everything is put in place so that the workers can return safely.

No civilized country would send its workers back to work under these circumstances, Hesse added. He said that if the legal proceeding fails, a large number of workers will refuse to work in an unsafe workplace and the union is counselling them on their rights on this issue.

Haut de page

Critical, but Expendable -- Migrant Agricultural Workers in the Time of COVID-19

TML Weekly is reprinting excerpts from an April 21 article written by Chris Ramsaroop, an organizer with Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW) and instructor in the Caribbean Studies Program at the University of Toronto, and Kevin Edmonds, a member of the Caribbean Solidarity Network and Assistant Professor also in Caribbean Studies at the University of Toronto. It addresses some of the conditions experienced by migrant farm workers at this time, in the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Starting in 1966, Jamaican migrant farm workers have been employed in Canada under the auspices of the Commonwealth Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAWP) program, a government labour scheme that imports thousands of Caribbean and Mexican workers to Canada to meet the labour needs of Canada's powerful and wealthy agricultural lobby. This migrant workforce consists of approximately 60,000 people, and their occupations in the agricultural industry have been designated as essential businesses.

Over the last month since Canada closed its borders, agricultural lobby organizations have orchestrated a massive lobbying strategy with their political allies, creating the mythology of a food crisis if Canada did not open its borders to meet the needs of farmers. As the Canadian Agricultural Minister recently pointed out, Canadians were not in jeopardy of starving. Much of the labour that today is deemed essential is to meet the needs of an ever expanding export-oriented agricultural industry. For example, the same lobby that emphasizes domestic labour and food shortages today was silent when thousands of acres of fruit and vegetable producing greenhouses were converted into cannabis production.


Since the closing of Canada's borders, Justice for Migrant Workers has received multiple calls from farm workers in Canada as well as those who are waiting to return to work. In Canada, migrant workers are complaining about differential treatment where migrant workers are confined to farms and not allowed to leave the employer's premises while their Canadian counterparts face no such restrictions. Many workers are expressing concern that there is no space to physically distance at work, they are not being provided personal protective equipment and are faced with crowded housing arrangements.

For workers who have recently arrived, during the 14-day quarantine period migrants are supposed to be paid for 30 hours a week during the quarantine. We have heard threats of employers calling this a loan that needs to be paid back, undertaking different schemes to try to recover costs, including paying for groceries. It seems that even during this pandemic, some bosses are trying to curb whatever minimum safeguards migrant workers should be provided with during the quarantine.

For workers who are stuck all over the Caribbean, the desperation fills their voices. Many are outraged that in their time of unemployment, Canada's Employment Insurance system and the recently announced Canadian Emergency Response Benefit is not available to them despite their paying millions into the Canadian system over decades. Many hear the words "essential worker" confirming how integral farm workers are to society, but are angered by the seeming doublespeak when it comes to a group of workers who are so important but who even or especially now are denied basic protections that Canadian workers enjoy.

For all migrant workers, whether in the Caribbean or Canada, there is an overall fear of speaking out about unsafe working conditions, as it has long been used as a disciplinary tool to intimidate "troublemakers." For those who remain quiet, they are accepting dangerous conditions not out of ignorance, cowardice or carelessness. It is a coping mechanism to ensure survival under precarious conditions. Workers feel that coming to Canada is not a choice. If they do not come their families starve and if they come to Canada they risk serious injury, illness and death. 

J4MW has long raised concerns regarding the power that employers have to 'repatriate' workers to their home country when they exert their rights or become sick. Prior to COVID-19, thousands of migrant workers have returned home sick, injured and disabled as Canada has taken no responsibility for ailments suffered while working in Canada. Given the dangers frontline workers face from COVID-19, there must be zero tolerance for this kind of intimidation. Employers must respect the duty of workers to report any outbreak in the bunkhouse or workplace and the rights of workers to refuse unsafe working conditions. No worker who falls ill or reports an outbreak should be sent home.

Today's global economic crisis should also serve as a wakeup call on how we structure income supports for migrants. As thousands of migrant workers are facing spiraling poverty, we firmly believe that migrant workers, whether in Canada or not, should have access to Employment Insurance and other income supports. If so many of our essential workers must cross the border, it is time to think of income supports as portable beyond borders as well.

Often employed under dirty, dangerous and deadly working conditions, we need to move beyond platitudes to ensure that no injured or sick worker is forgotten during this crisis, and that the necessary resources and support are accorded to them to protect their health and well-being at this particular moment. This pandemic calls for transformative changes to answer the demands that migrant workers are raising on a daily basis. All of this can be addressed today through the implementation of pro-worker legislation in order to ensure fairness, respect and decency for migrant farm workers.

Until this happens, those of us in the Diaspora, as well as those in the Caribbean, must demand that our respective governments put increased protections for migrant workers in place. Support the work of Justice for Migrant Workers and the Caribbean Solidarity Network to achieve this. We recognize the importance of the SAWP program to migrant workers, their families and their communities, but no one should be risking their life to earn a pay cheque.

(The full text of the article is available here.)

(Stabroek News)

Haut de page

Temporary Foreign Workers Merit
Permanent Residency, Not Threats!

While it has abandoned its international humanitarian commitments by denying access to asylum seekers crossing irregularly into Canada, the Trudeau Liberal government has exempted temporary foreign workers from restrictions at its borders, but threatens to use police powers against them.

In 2016 a total of 613,200 work permits were issued by the federal government to temporary foreign workers, in all its programs combined. Of that number, 129,000 went to workers in the following four programs: 25,700 to those in the "Humanitarian and Compassionate" program, 3,700 to those in the "Other OWP [Open Work Permit]" program, 77,800 to the "Low-skill ESWP [Employer-Specific Work Permit] program and 21,800 to the "Multiple type work permit holders, or holders of an employer-specific work permit without an identified skill level."[1]

Over the years, countries with low levels of economic development and social stability have been the main sources of temporary foreign workers in the federal government's Live-In Caregiver Program, Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, and the Low-Skill Pilot. In all these programs, foreign temporary workers have had a high tendency to stay longer or come back after leaving for a few months,[2] as the jobs they perform are recurring.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a letter dated April 1, 2020, signed by federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough, addressed to the employers of these workers, describes the measures the government has taken to facilitate their access "to this important labour supply, in recognition of the vital role these workers play in supporting food security and other industries critical to the Canadian economy." The ministers justify the government's threats against these workers as "doing whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of Canadians during this unprecedented public health crisis."[3] Absent here is any expression or concern for the health and safety of these workers.

Considering temporary foreign workers first and foremost a commodity, the letter informs employers of the "obligations that will be imposed on temporary foreign workers arriving in Canada pursuant to the Emergency Order PC number 2020-0175 made under section 58 of the Quarantine Act." It continues: "Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or to imprisonment of up to three years, or to both. We are also assessing options for penalties for employers of foreign nationals under other regulatory regimes, such as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, given the severity of our concern for the health of Canadians."[4]

"It is important that you know that penalties of up to $750,000 can be levied against a temporary foreign worker for non-compliance with an Emergency Order made under the Quarantine Act," the ministers state.

The letter notifies employers that:

"Temporary Foreign Workers arriving by air will undergo mandatory health checks prior to boarding and an assessment upon arrival in Canada. If your employee has symptoms before boarding, they will not be permitted to travel to Canada.

"If they have symptoms upon arrival, they will be placed in quarantine at the point of entry or be sent to the hospital depending on the severity of condition. Once they have recovered, their admissibility will be assessed and, if applicable, they may be permitted to travel onwards to their employment.

"If they do not have symptoms upon arrival (referred to as asymptomatic) and meet the entry requirements, they will be permitted to travel onwards in a private vehicle to their housing where they must self-isolate for 14 days.

"If they become symptomatic following arrival at their Canadian residence, they must be isolated from others and local public health should be contacted immediately for direction. Your local public health authority will provide advice for the individual as well as any close contacts. This obligation continues following the end of the mandatory self-isolation period."

The letter concludes, "Employers are responsible for monitoring the health of employees and reporting to local health authorities anyone who becomes symptomatic. This includes temporary foreign workers as well as others that you may employ."

Many of the jobs that temporary foreign workers are hired for, including providing care, working on farms and in fields as well as in meat-packing plants, have very few takers on the domestic market because of poor wages and untenable working conditions. Temporary foreign workers often accept these jobs in the hope of being able to permanently settle here to secure a better future for themselves and their families. Yet governments in Canada of various stripes continually change the rules of the game, depriving them of that right.

These same governments present the situation faced by temporary foreign workers as one governed by rules and claim they are covered by federal and provincial minimum labour standards, that they have access to many social programs and public services, as well as a path to permanent residence. However, the objective conditions of servitude under which they work are left to the dictate of the employer. Repeatedly, their rights are subject to abuse, including their fundamental right to collectively organize in defence of their rights which is compromised by the threat of being returned to their home country.

Governments in Canada are responsible for keeping these workers in a vulnerable position and open to abuse, by refusing to abolish their temporary status. So long as their rights are deprived of a guarantee, their dignity as workers is also denied and their precarious status maintained. Governments must be held accountable for the conditions these workers are forced to endure. The "vital role these workers play in supporting food security and other industries critical to the Canadian economy" merits due compensation, beginning with permanent residency status, if these workers and their families so desire. They deserve nothing less!


1. Statistics Canada, Temporary Foreign Workers in the Canadian Labour Force: Open Versus Employer-specific Work Permits, Table 1.

2. How Temporary Were Canada's Temporary Foreign Workers?, Statistics Canada, January 29, 2018.

3. Letter from Ministers to employers -- Temporary Foreign Workers -- COVID-19, April 1, 2020.

4. Emergency Order PC number 2020-0175 made under section 58 of the Quarantine Act.

Haut de page

COVID-19 and Temporary Foreign
Workers in Canada

Travel to Canada is currently being restricted for all foreign nationals coming from any country except for certain groups such as temporary foreign workers. The Government of Canada's Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act requires them to isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or to quarantine themselves for 14 days if they are asymptomatic, to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Upon arrival, they are required to confirm that they have a suitable place to isolate or quarantine, where they will have access to basic necessities, such as food and medication. Travellers who do not have an appropriate place in which to isolate or quarantine themselves must go to a place designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. They are also required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to proceed to their final destination where they are required to isolate or quarantine, and are to be provided with a mask if they do not have one.

In Canada, temporary foreign worker programs are regulated by the federal government and allow employers to hire foreign nationals on a temporary basis to fill gaps in their workforce. Quebec and each province and territory also has its own set of policies that affect the administration of the programs. Year in and year out, Canada depends on hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to bolster its economy and to support its agricultural, homecare, and other lower-wage sectors. In 2016 there were about 200,000 temporary foreign workers with employer-specific work permits, who could only work for the specified employer, and around 20,000 workers, mainly women, working under the Caregivers Program. The path to immigration for these workers has been narrowing, with fewer work permits for the low wage sector, and fewer workers being accepted as permanent residents and as a result the number of undocumented workers has increased. Undocumented workers live an even more precarious existence and are even more vulnerable to abuse by employers, and lack the most basic rights like health care. 

Close to 50,000 workers come to Canada each year under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SWAP). Documented cases of abuse and rights infringements against these workers include inadequate housing, poor access to health care, inability to collectively bargain, family separation, illegal recruitment fees, and cases of violence and sexual abuse. There were also more than 600,000 people with open work permits, the majority of whom held post-graduation work permits, followed by the "International Experience Class" -- which is limited to workers 18 to 35 years of age from designated countries who must pay for their own health care through private insurance, and have no path to permanent residency.

Some of Canada's temporary foreign worker programs can be considered specific bilateral agreements between nations, such as the SAWP, which was first introduced in 1966 in an agreement with Jamaica. Under the SAWP, migrant workers cannot seek employment outside their work contract and cannot apply for permanent resident status other than through a very restricted three-year pilot program launched in the summer of 2019, which requires, among other things, 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

To date, Canada has not signed and ratified the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 1990. It is the only international instrument specifically drafted to protect the rights of migrant workers. It entered into force on July 1, 2003.

On December 10, 2018, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations' adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, Canada, along with 163 other UN member states, adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Compact does not create any right to migrate, nor does it place any imposition on states. It does not constitute so-called 'soft' law, nor is it legally binding. In addition, it expressly permits states to distinguish -- as they see fit -- between regular and irregular migrants, in accordance with existing international law.

(TML Weekly, The Canadian Encyclopedia, UNESCO, Canada Immigration Newsletter, Government of Canada)

Haut de page

The Right to Education

How to Affirm Education as a
Right in Today's Conditions

What is being revealed this May Day is the extent to which the economy is social in nature. Each part relies on the others. A healthy population is the basis of any economy, following which is the provision of child and elder care, and education as well as research. Without a healthy and educated workforce the modern economy cannot function, which means workers are the basis for the immense value currently extracted as profit by the monopolies.

The demands of certain monopolies to "re-start" or "open the economy" is not a recognition of this fact. Instead it is a narrow and self-serving demand that the health and well-being of the people should continue to be sacrificed so that they can continue to make their profits. The working class is being pressured to take up the demand of the monopolies to re-start on the basis of a doom and gloom mentality that if we don't do it now, the sky will fall. This is to try to overwhelm the working class and people and keep them from working out their own discussion and framework for how the economy should be run going forward. The issue is being reduced to "to re-start or not to re-start." This is a false choice. The issue is how to slow the spread of the virus until a vaccine can be produced and to work out an economic recovery that favours the people. This is what we need to work out.

When discussing education, one of the major features of the ruling class is to discuss the youth as a problem holding back the workforce as they require care at home. This itself shows that child care and education, simply on the basis of having them publicly available, free up massive human resources that can contribute to building the economy. The economy cannot actually re-start without these services being up and running. How to re-start them in a manner that favours the long-term interests of the society as a whole, and the youth in particular, and not as a knee-jerk reaction to the demands of the monopolies is what must be put at centre stage.

Education is intimately linked with other areas of the economy by virtue of the fact that the youth are part of the society and the society has responsibilities towards them and their well-being. The starting point of any re-start of the education system has to affirm the right of the youth to education. This necessarily means the right of those who provide it and of the youth themselves to a say over how that re-start begins as it is their lives and futures that are at stake. In this process, the teachers and education workers, as individuals and through their unions and health and safety committees in the workplace; youth, as individuals and through their student councils; and parents, as individuals and through parent committees; as well as locally elected trustees, have a right to a say over how schools are re-started, and to be part of decision-making. This is the only way to implement measures that will be truly respected and upheld by those expected to follow the rules. The youth especially must be empowered to have a say in the process so that they can be part of setting the guidelines that they will have to live by. This is an important method to train them in taking up their individual and social responsibility, working as a collective and learning together.

The World Health Organization (WHO) specifically recommends that educators "integrate disease prevention and control in daily activities and lessons. Ensure content is age-, gender-, ethnicity-, and disability-responsive and activities are built into existing subjects." The situation is not to be used simply to dictate orders using fear or threats, but to involve the youth in seeing how rules and regulations should serve the society and contribute to their well-being, and that if they play a role in developing them and arguing them out, they can play their role for themselves and for their families. The WHO has also noted in this respect that schools play a vital role in the dissemination of public health information that can help stem the spread of the virus. Venezuela's experience in using its national ID card portal to send surveys to citizens for responses and then immediately send teams to investigate possible infections door to door should be considered here. Schools can play a role in individualized symptom recognition and treatment once treatments are readily available and for administering vaccinations once these are available. In other words, schools are not simply a holding cell for children; they are a vital link connecting public campaigns and programs and the population as a whole.

The WHO provides the following principles to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools:

- Sick students, teachers and other staff should not come to school.
- Schools should enforce regular hand washing with safe water and soap, alcohol rub/hand sanitizer or chlorine solution and, at a minimum, daily disinfection and cleaning of school surfaces.
- Schools should provide water, sanitation and waste management facilities and follow environmental cleaning and decontamination procedures.
- Schools should promote social distancing (a term applied to certain actions that are taken to slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease, including limiting large groups of people coming together).

Some matters to consider:

Child Care

First and foremost, without child care being provided on a universal basis for children in kindergarten to grade 8 in advance of any reopening it will be very difficult to reopen anything as parents will be required to stay at home. (Ontario has a minimum age of 16 to stay home alone, however most social service agencies recommend 12). Child care for pre-school children must also be sorted out to ensure it is provided safely. Without child care for teachers and education workers whose children are not of school age it will be difficult for schools to re-open. So the conditions in child care facilities are the first to consider -- making sure they are proper and safe, otherwise the rest will break down.

Public Transit

Another major issue is the need for increased investments in public transportation. Large numbers of youth get to school on public transit and school buses. To ensure adaquate physical distancing, a large increase in public transit services is required to prevent large line-ups and packed vehicles. More staff are required to ensure proper cleaning of transit services after each route. This is something transit workers themselves are demanding as they can see how the lack of public transit actually harms human health, including their own.

Role for Schools in COVID-19 Surveillance

Schools need to be set up as part of a primary contact for the health care system. By having each school outfitted with a small clinic staffed by a nurse or nursing student, symptom-monitoring can be led and carried out in the first period class or even by taking temperatures as students and staff first arrive at school. Students or staff who show any symptoms can immediately be sent to the clinic for further examination and testing for the infection to improve treatment outcomes and reduce the spread.

Social Distancing Measures

WHO provides the following guidelines:

- Staggering the beginning and end of the school day
- Cancelling assemblies, sports games and other events that create crowded conditions.
- When possible, creating space for children's desks to be at least one metre apart.
- Teach and model creating space and avoiding unnecessary touching.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, class sizes went against what we see now as appropriate distance measures to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Thus, one important matter for any re-start is to limit the proximity of students so that rates of infection are limited. This also means providing proper masks for all students and staff to wear in school and for going to and from school so the spread of micro-droplets is limited. Canada had 5,609,007 students enrolled in elementary-secondary education in 2018. This would require approximately 28,000,000 masks per week for the students alone if using disposable masks. Washable masks could be used but would have to be properly washed at school to ensure washing is not left to chance.

Proper cleaning of schools will require greater investments in custodial staff so that after each school day all surfaces are cleaned thoroughly -- especially common areas such as doorknobs and desks.

New regimes can be put in place for hand washing and cleaning so that this also is not left to chance. This would mean a morning hand washing routine at stations set up outside of schools which is repeated when students and staff leave.

The main thing is that the process should be started very slowly with intense monitoring and feedback to medical and health authorities so that changes can be made on a day-to-day basis. This means a connection between each school and the local health unit. Health and safety representatives of the workers at each school should be freed up to meet daily to oversee the implementation of safety protocols. This means establishing that the health and safety committee in each school has to be empowered to collect information and relay it to a school board-wide health and safety committee that would work directly with the local public health authorities and local, provincial and federal levels of government to ensure that all necessary measures are taken.

Haut de page

Reopening Quebec

There Is No Return to a Normal in Which
the Democratic Norms We Are Setting
Are Not Respected

The process to reopen Quebec has been announced and workers and their organizations are putting forward what they need, as frontline and essential workers have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic. They are demanding that their needs in terms of protective measures and equipment be met, that they actively participate in the decision-making and they are stating that they do not intend to go back to the conditions which prevailed before the pandemic.

Referring to the Quebec government's plan to open elementary schools and daycares as of May 14 in regions other than Montreal, the president of a teachers' union in the Outaouais stated: "Yesterday's schools are not those which will open in May." She added: "The plan must not be elaborated without having consulted teachers, without them having seen the plan and improved it. The more we are listened to, the better the reopening will be." Similarly, the president of the school staff union stated: "We do not seem to be considered in this debate, but in the end, it is our people who will be running the daycares, the administrative services and school maintenance."

In preparation for the reopening, several committees were set up at the government's request and their recommendations were to have been put forward at the beginning of May. But Premier Legault announced that he is going to consult his "caucus" as well as the "three opposition leaders who in turn will consult their members of the National Assembly" and that was that.

In this period of social distancing, perhaps we should take a few steps back from these institutions that are said to be representative, yet which turn their backs on us at such critical times to continue taking decisions behind closed doors and, somehow, expect to impress us by "consulting opposition leaders." Let's take a moment to think about all the times we have put forward and stood by our demands to better our working conditions as well as the services we provide, whether against cutbacks in health care, education and social services or against the neo-liberal, anti-social offensive. Inevitably, no matter how obviously just and necessary our demands, governments and media go into a frenzy. The same old refrains -- "unions are corporatist," "the workers are taking the population hostage," "the economy is going to collapse" -- are dished out and everything is done to isolate workers and make sure that nothing comes of their demands. Often times, laws are passed which even prohibit any form of collective action.

Now a deadly virus and the life and death struggle being waged against it to protect the whole of society has brought to the fore in an undeniable way that the working conditions of teachers are, in fact, the learning conditions of students; and the working conditions of health care workers are, in fact, the conditions for the well-being of the population. The same can be said not only of all public sector workers but of workers of all sectors of the economy, and that workers are essential to the functioning of their communities and society as a whole. Governments are acting in the old way towards workers in spite of what the times are revealing. This is in large part due to the fact that, within the realm of their authority, they do not share the same conditions as those who do the work.

The initiative is therefore in our hands. In a matter of weeks, the crucial role we play in society has become crystal clear. Those who have been working and fighting for years, may not even have realized it themselves, until now. We see the gigantic social responsibility we have, a noble one, one which is so great that it is perhaps even difficult at this time to perceive it in all its magnitude. But we will, as long as during this period and beyond, we stick to our stand that no decisions can be taken without workers participating in the decision-making process! No return to a normal in which the new democratic norms we are setting are not respected!

Haut de page

Pretending There's a Choice Doesn't Absolve Governments of Their Responsibility

The Legault government has announced dates for the reopening of Quebec elementary schools and daycares and has assured parents that they have the "choice" to send their children to school or not. Since Legault first announced the possible reopening three weeks ago, a petition calling on the government to keep schools and daycares closed until September has received nearly 300,000 signatures.[1] The government has invoked many high ideals as to why schools should be reopened -- from educating our children, allowing them to socialize, run around and get out of the house, to not leaving special needs children at a greater disadvantage, exposing domestic abuse that is caught by teachers and otherwise goes unseen, and contributing to herd immunity. All of these very compelling reasons for sending children to school highlight that the education system has been forced to make up for the failings of society after decades of destructive cuts to social services.

In addition to an education, the school system provides meals and snacks to food-insecure children. Since 2018, the government has been funding a breakfast program for 180,000 preschool and elementary school children at 700 schools across Quebec that fall within a qualifying socio-economic index. Schools provide a structured environment for learning, socialization and exercise and a much needed break for those who live in overcrowded, inadequate and unsafe housing. However, pitting the threat posed by COVID-19 to the health and safety of Quebeckers against threats to their mental and physical safety due to lack of social resources is no choice at all.

The government says it trusts employers to discuss with workers who have children and come to an agreement about any return to work. How will employers fill the positions of workers who do not return to work because they or their children have compromised immune systems? Will people have to "choose" between going back to work or losing their job? If someone refuses to go to work out of concern for their own safety or because they don't want to send their children to school, will Employment Insurance (EI) cover them or will they be considered as having voluntarily left their job and lose both their job and EI benefits? Many parents are already under financial stress from being on EI or mental stress from having to work from home with their children present. One can only conclude that schools are in fact being reopened for those who do NOT have a choice.

According to the World Health Organization, the following six conditions should be established before a lockdown situation is ended:

1. Disease transmission is under control,

2. Health systems are able to "detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact,"

3. Hot spot risks are minimized in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes,

4. Schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventive measures,

5. The risk of importing new cases "can be managed," and

6. Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal.

The Legault government says Quebec is meeting these conditions, but repeating it does not make it so. Is saying that there are "plenty of hospital beds for those who get sick" supposed to be reassuring? The reality is quite the opposite in Montreal where two major hospitals (Sacré-Coeur and Maisonneuve-Rosemont) are presently dealing with major outbreaks of COVID-19 in the majority of their wards, to the point that they have had to transfer patients not infected with COVID-19 to other hospitals.

Parents, teachers and everyone involved in education are rightly concerned about the measures that must be in place to ensure a safe return to work and school. Considering that this government has consistently refused to consult anyone who has to implement the measures it dictates, and considering the sorry state of the education system under non-pandemic conditions, it is not confidence-inspiring.

The situation is complex and the people are doing everything in their power individually and within their collectives -- such as through their unions, community organizations and neighbourhoods -- to stay healthy and safe while helping to get the economy and life moving again. However, the situation is far from being under control. This government's tendency is to blame the people for not adhering to guidelines while refusing to look at its own record, for example requiring health care workers to frequent many health establishments, thereby greatly contributing to the spread of the virus. How can we rely on a system of governance based not on the health and well-being of society's members, but on the profit motive, which, 17 years after the SARS epidemic, has left us without the personal protection equipment we need to survive the pandemic. Discussing our rights, demands and alternatives is imperative to open the path for progress so we never again face this kind of situation.


1. This petition, which has been circulated in French, can be found here.

Haut de page

United States

Immigration Ban Issued Using Pretext of Pandemic

On April 22, President Trump issued an executive order entitled, "Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labour Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak." The order went into effect at 11:59 pm April 23. It is in force for 60 days, and may be renewed.

In the proclamation, the Trump administration claims that because of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic, "we must be mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labour market, particularly in an environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labour."

The Trump administration goes on to posture as a defender of minorities and those with disabilities in justifying the immigration ban, saying "Excess labour supply affects all workers and potential workers, but it is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment, who are typically 'last in' during an economic expansion and 'first out' during an economic contraction. In recent years, these workers have been disproportionately represented by historically disadvantaged groups, including African Americans and other minorities, those without a college degree, and the disabled." The proclamation carries on according to this self-serving neo-liberal method of justifying reaction by citing high ideals.[1]

According to the measures in the bill, U.S. citizens seeking immigrant visas for a parent, adult child or sibling can no longer do so. It also requires a 30-day review of temporary visas. News agencies point out that the proclamation contains nearly identical provisions to an immigration bill rejected by the U.S. Senate in February 2018. Regarding the Trump administration's claims that the proclamation is to prevent immigrants from taking jobs away from U.S. citizens, Forbes magazine points out that "The U.S. unemployment rate in February 2018 was only 4.1 per cent when the administration attempted to stop immigrants from entering the United States in the same categories as were included in the April 22, 2020, presidential proclamation." Thus, the Trump administration has effectively used the pandemic to change immigration law without passing a bill through Congress.

On April 25, a coalition of civil rights and legal organizations filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon "to halt implementation of this ban to the extent that it prevents immigrant visa applicants abroad from accessing emergency and urgent consular processing services."

The coalition debunks the justifications given for the ban, saying, "The presidential proclamation claims that, with limited exceptions, the continued entry of immigrants presents a risk to the U.S. labour market in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. But the reality is that immigrants are the backbone of the U.S. economy, are already on the front lines of pandemic response, and will also be key to the economic recovery. Experts anticipate the family immigration ban would likely reduce population growth and make economic recovery more challenging after the COVID-19 economic downturn. Decades of economic research tell us that having more immigrants actually boosts consumer demand, creates jobs, and provides an increasingly precious source of national economic strength.

"By denying family reunification visas, this immigration ban will deny entry to thousands of grandparents coming to provide child care for essential workers who are packing and delivering our food, treating patients in our hospitals and researching treatments and vaccines for the virus. It could also change the visa classification for a teenager nearing their twenty-first birthday who will age out of their eligibility for a visa while the ban is in effect -- setting them back years, or even decades, in the immigration process."

On the occasion of May Day, it is important to recall that the U.S. working class has revived the tradition of May Day as an occasion to militantly affirm workers' rights and their essential role as the producers of society's wealth, and that this was done precisely with immigrants and undocumented workers leading the way as an integral part of the working class. The refusal of the U.S. working class to be split on a racist basis or incited to racism has been reaffirmed throughout the Trump presidency by the broad opposition to travel bans, the militarization of the border with Mexico, and the raids and inhuman detentions carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The U.S. working class will surely not be fooled by this attempt to incite them on a racist basis, or attempts to divide workers on a racist basis. Nor will working people be diverted from defending their rights and the rights of all, or from holding the Trump administration and others to account for their crimes against working people during the pandemic.

Targeting Frontline Workers Fighting the Pandemic

The callous opportunism of the Trump administration on matters of immigration during the pandemic is further revealed in its attempt to repeal the immigration policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that provides limited protections for those who came to the U.S. without documentation during childhood. Since coming to power, the Trump administration has sought to eliminate DACA, but this has been challenged by several states and is currently blocked by court order. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the matter as early as May 4.

DACA was created in June 2012 as an executive branch memorandum. Those who successfully apply for DACA can defer deportation for a renewable two-year period, with eligibility for work permits during that time. It does not provide a path to citizenship. Currently about 700,000 people have been granted DACA status.

Workers who are DACA recipients are integral to the U.S. economy and the security and well-being of its people, especially during the pandemic.

An April 6 study by the think tank, the Center for American Progress, states that across the U.S., "202,500 DACA recipients are working to protect the health and safety of Americans as the country confronts COVID-19. They are ensuring that children are still being educated; food is still being grown, packaged, cooked, shipped, and put on the shelves of grocery stores; patients are being cared for; and much more. DACA recipients, for example, are doctors and medical students, putting their own health and safety on the line. They are also teachers, striving to provide a sense of well-being and continuity to America's youngest generation remotely. Such roles are crucial at a time when the United States is facing a critical shortage of workers in both professions."

The study informs that an estimated 29,000 DACA recipients are frontline health care workers, and that states with the most DACA recipients are also home to the largest number of DACA recipients working in health care occupations, noting that California has 8,600; Texas, 4,300; New York, 1,700; Illinois, 1,400; Florida, 1,100; Arizona, 1,000; and Washington, 1,000. Yet another 12,700 work in the health care industry doing housekeeping, food services, management and administration, in both hospitals and nursing homes.

In the education sector, the study says that "14,900 DACA recipients are among the hundreds of thousands of teachers who have pivoted from the physical to the digital classroom, including 4,300 in California, 2,800 in Texas, and 1,000 in Illinois."

As concerns food, the study informs that "From farms to grocery stores and distribution centres to restaurants, more than a quarter of employed DACA recipients -- 142,100 -- work in food-related occupations or industries across the country. Despite the fact that this sector includes so many different occupations, all food-related workers are undoubtedly impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another.

"On the production end, 12,800 DACA recipients work in the farming and agriculture industry -- with the vast majority as agricultural labourers -- and 11,600 DACA recipients work in the food manufacturing industry, processing these agricultural products into a food product that can be sold.

"To distribute food from production to its end users, 4,700 DACA recipients work in food-related wholesale trade, and 8,800 DACA recipients work in food warehousing, transportation, and delivery.

"Another group of essential food-related workers are those keeping grocery stores open and operable. That includes 14,900 DACA recipients, employed in roles such as cashiers (6,000); stockers and labourers (2,900); and supervisors (1,200).

"The majority of DACAmented workers in this industry are working in restaurants or food service establishments (82,200). This includes 23,700 servers; 20,800 cooks and prep workers; and 10,800 cashiers. While carryout restaurants and quick service food operations are deemed essential by [Department of Homeland Security], dining-in remains widely shuttered, and the restaurant industry has seen remarkable closures and layoffs.

"And these statistics likely don't capture another critical group: DACAmented warehouse workers, now playing a larger role in moving food directly to consumers across the country, along with gig economy delivery drivers."

DACA recipients also face uncertainty regarding renewal of their DACA status or work permits, as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has closed its field offices until June 3 due to the pandemic. DACA recipients and rights organizations are demanding that the government provide automatic renewal while the USCIS field offices remain closed.

DACA recipients and various organizations are urging the Supreme Court to delay any decision until after the COVID-19 pandemic has been overcome.


1. To read the full proclamation, click here

Haut de page

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Creates Conditions for Outbreaks in Detention Centres

During the pandemic, when people worldwide are practicing social distancing, self-isolation and minimizing any kind of travel to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is continuing its brutal raids, mass detentions and deportations.

An April 13 article published by Mother Jones reports on how ICE's treatment of those infected by COVID-19 in its detention centres is creating a situation ripe for an outbreak. The article states:

"On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides some commonsense guidelines for prisons and detention centres to curb the spread of COVID-19. These facilities, the CDC says, should avoid 'cohorting' people who have been in contact with someone infected with the virus -- that is, quarantining them together. The reasons are obvious. Doing so can 'transmit COVID-19 from those who are infected to those who are uninfected.'

"Yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which detains immigrants and asylum seekers in facilities across the country, is following a rulebook directly at odds with the CDC's advice. ICE is relying heavily on cohorting because it refuses to release large numbers of people, despite admitting that it often lacks the ability to separate detainees it knows have been exposed to the new coronavirus.

"ICE usually houses detainees in dorms where dozens of people are held together in close quarters. Under ICE's COVID-19 policy, symptomatic detainees are removed and placed in isolation. When someone tests positive, the rest of the dorm is quarantined together, or 'cohorted,' for 14 days. From there, detention centre staff monitor to see if anyone else develops symptoms. Meanwhile, the quarantined detainees are in close proximity and touching the same surfaces -- often without adequate access to soap, cleaning supplies, masks, and gloves. If another person gets infected, that individual is isolated and the quarantine clock resets. The process, under ICE guidelines, continues until nobody is symptomatic for two weeks."

In an open letter sent to Acting Director of ICE Matthew T. Albence in mid-March, several medical professionals call on ICE to "release individuals and families from immigration detention while their legal cases are being processed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the harm of an outbreak."

The doctors point out that "Detention facilities, like the jails and prisons in which they are housed, are designed to maximize control of the incarcerated population, not to minimize disease transmission or to efficiently deliver health care. This fact is compounded by often crowded and unsanitary conditions, poor ventilation, lack of adequate access to hygienic materials such as soap and water or hand sanitizers, poor nutrition, and failure to adhere to recognized standards for prevention, screening, and containment. The frequent transfer of individuals from one detention facility to another, and intake of newly detained individuals from the community further complicates the prevention and detection of infectious disease outbreaks. A timely response to reported and observed symptoms is needed to interrupt viral transmission yet delays in testing, diagnosis and access to care are systemic in ICE custody. Further, given the patchwork regulatory system, it is unclear whether ICE or the county and state health departments are responsible for ensuring public health oversight of facilities.

"For these reasons, transmission of infectious diseases in jails and prisons is incredibly common, especially those transmitted by respiratory droplets. [...] COVID-19 threatens the well-being of detained individuals, as well as the corrections staff who shuttle between the community and detention facilities.

"[W]e strongly recommend that ICE implement community-based alternatives to detention to alleviate the mass overcrowding in detention facilities. Individuals and families, particularly the most vulnerable -- the elderly, pregnant women, people with serious mental illness, and those at higher risk of complications -- should be released while their legal cases are being processed to avoid preventable deaths and mitigate the harm from a COVID-19 outbreak."

(Photos: C. Solis, DA4thePeople)

Haut de page

COVID-19 Update

On the Global Pandemic for Week Ending May 2

Number of Cases Worldwide

As of May 2, the worldwide statistics for COVID-19 pandemic as reported by Worldometer were:

- Total reported cases: 3,426,382. This is 570,683 more than the total reported on April 25 of 2,855,699. The increase in cases in the previous week was 568,376.

- Total active cases: 2,091,944. This is 250,668 more than the number reported on April 25 of 1,841,276. The increase in total active cases in the previous week was 297,259.

- Closed cases: 1,334,438. This is 320,015 more than the number reported on April 25 of 1,014,423. This compares to an increase in the previous week of 271,117.

- Deaths: 240,488. This is 41,956 more deaths than on April 25, when the toll was 198,532. This compares to an increase in the previous week of 41,064.

- Recovered: 1,093,950. This is up 278,059 from the April 25 figure of 815,891 and compares to an increase the previous week of 230,053 recoveries.

There were 94,550 new cases from April 30 to May 1. This compares to the one-day increase in cases from April 23 to 24 of 105,825 new cases.

The disease was present in 212 countries and territories, up from 210 the week prior. Of these, 63 had less than 100 cases, as compared to April 25 when there were 68 countries with less than 100 cases. There are four countries/territories without active cases, down from six the previous week. They are the Malvinas (13 cases, all recovered), Greenland (11 cases, all recovered); Saint Barthélemy (6 cases, all recovered); Anguilla (3 cases, all recovered).

The five countries with the highest number of cases on May 2 are noted below, accompanied by the number of cases and deaths per million population:

USA: 1,131,030 (903,714 active; 161,563 recovered; 65,753 deaths) and 3,417 cases per million; 199 deaths per million
- April 25: 926,530 (763,855 active; 110,432 recovered; 52,243 deaths) and 2,799 cases per million; 158 deaths per million

Spain: 242,979 (75,714 active; 142,441 recovered; 24,824 deaths); 5,197 cases per million; 531 deaths per million
- April 25: 223,759 (105,149 active; 95,708 recovered; deaths 22,902) and 4,786 cases per million; 490 deaths per million

Italy: 207,428 (100,943 active; 78,249 recovered; 28,236 deaths) and 3,431 cases per million; 467 deaths per million
- April 25: 192,994 (106,527 active; 60,498 recovered; deaths 25,969) and 3,192 cases per million; 430 deaths per million

UK: 177,454 (149,600 active; recovered N/A; 27,510 deaths) and 2,614 cases per million; 405 deaths per million
- April 25: 143,464 (123,614 active; recovered N/A; 19,506 deaths) and 2,113 cases per million; 287 deaths per million

France: 167,346 (92,540 active; 50,212 recovered; 24,594 deaths) and 2,564 cases per million; 377 deaths per million
- April 25: 159,828 (94,090 active; 43,493 recovered; deaths 22,245) and 2,449 cases per million; 341 deaths per million

The U.S. alone has about 33.28 per cent of all cases worldwide as compared to 32.44 on April 25. Cases in Europe comprise 41.16 per cent of all cases worldwide, as compared to 43.46 on April 25.

A notable change is that the UK is now the country with the third highest number of reported cases, worldwide, whereas the week before it was the fifth highest in Europe. This is the result of the rate of new infections in the UK remaining relatively stable, while the rate of new cases and total number of active cases in Spain, Italy and France have noticeably declined.

Cases in Top Five Countries by Region

In Europe on May 2, the country with the fifth highest number of reported cases after the four listed above, is Germany:

Germany: 164,077 (30,441 active; 126,900 recovered; 6,736 death) and 1,958 cases per million; 80 deaths per million
- April 25: 155,054 (39,466 active; 109,800 recovered; 5,788 deaths) and 1,851 cases per million; 69 deaths per million

In the UK, nearly 130 Members of Parliament have signed on to a letter that raises concerns about the increased coronavirus risk posed by allowing non-essential workplaces, including construction sites, to stay open. The British and Irish trade union Unite estimates that only around a quarter of the UK's construction sites have suspended work amid the pandemic. The union has called for tougher measures to be taken to enforce safety, and to ensure that workers are not compelled to work on non-essential projects. "There are a number of projects that are critical infrastructure like building hospitals, but others, like luxury flats being built, are not critical in nature," said Ian Woodland, Unite's national construction officer.

Construction workers in the UK are often self-employed, irregularly employed by agencies, or employed by subcontractors, conditions which may result in them being left out of paid furlough schemes or not receiving government subsidies for the unemployed. This precarity can have dangerous consequences, Unite points out. "Blacklisting has been a problem in the UK as well, with workers afraid to raise issues due to the precarity of their job," Woodland says. "They could get a tap on the shoulder and be told they're not needed on site anymore. So there's a possibility that health and safety issues are not being reported as a result."

Unite is calling for increased medical facilities on worksites, free coronavirus testing and treatment, reduced workforces and a higher number of shifts to facilitate social distancing, and for workers to be able to speak out without reprisal about risky conditions.

In Eurasia on May 2:

Turkey: 122,392 (65,326 active; 53,808 recovered; 3,258 deaths) and 1,451 cases per million; 39 deaths per million
- April 25: 104,912 (80,575 active; 21,737 recovered; 2,600 deaths) and 1,244 cases per million; 31 deaths per million

Russia: 114,431 (100,042 active; 13,220 recovered; 1,169 deaths) and 784 cases per million; 8 deaths per million
- April 25: 74,588 (67,657 active; 6,250 recovered; 681 deaths) and 511 cases per million; 5 deaths per million

Kazakhstan: 3,597 (2,650 active; 922 recovered; 25 deaths) and 192 cases per million; 1 death per million
- April 25: 2,564 (1,910 active; 629 recovered; 5 deaths) 137 cases per million; 1 death per million

Armenia: 2,148 (1,138 active; 977 recovered; 33 deaths) and 725 cases per million; 11 deaths per million
- April 25: 1,677 (846 active; 803 recovered; 28 deaths) 566 cases per million; 9 deaths per million

Uzbekistan: 2,086 (865 active; 1,212 recovered; 9 deaths) and 62 cases per million; 0.3 deaths per million
- April 25: 1,862 (1,147 active; 707 recovered; 8 deaths)

In Turkey, more than 15,000 construction workers in Istanbul have been let go from their jobs on large projects. Most were laid off without receiving any compensation, during one two-week period in March as sites began halting operations or reducing their workforces, the construction workers' union Dev-Yapi-Is says. The union estimates that around 295,000 people are employed in construction in Istanbul, and more than a million countrywide. Workers and labour advocates say those who remain employed have been offered few protections against coronavirus in an already-dangerous occupation where it is difficult to enforce social distancing.

"Masks are distributed at some construction sites, but not many. Both knowledge about how to use these masks and especially the number available, are very insufficient. No other precautions are taken," says Dr. Ercan Duman, a member of the Occupational Health and Workplace Medicine Commission of the Istanbul Chamber of Physicians. A recent report by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK), which includes Dev-Yapi-Is, indicates that DISK members have tested positive for COVID-19 at a rate three times higher than the average rate per 1000 people tested among the general public in Turkey.

A directive for workers to sit apart while eating on construction sites is considered meaningless given the poor hygiene standards in makeshift canteens.

Videos and photos circulated on social media by unions in Turkey and their supporters show workers crammed into cafeterias and sleeping 10 to a room in on-site dorms. "The street is cleaner. You live in filth. It's contrary to human dignity, one worker is quoted as saying," Istanbul construction worker Özkan told the newspaper Equal Times that when concerns are raised about workplace issues, employers first stall for time, then dismiss those who dared to complain. "After that, you're not going to be hired at any other worksite," he says. Unions in Turkey have reported that workers are also being fired if they don't sign declarations agreeing not to hold their employer responsible if they contract coronavirus while on the job.

In Istanbul and other large cities, the vast majority of the construction workforce is made up of internal migrants from smaller towns and rural provinces. When workers were laid off earlier in the pandemic without compensation, many returned to their hometowns, potentially contributing to the spread of the virus. Since Turkey halted most intercity travel in late March, those who lose their jobs are marooned in the cities where they had worked, often with little financial or social support.

In West Asia on May 2:

Iran: 95,646 (13,237 active; 76,318 recovered; 6,091 deaths) and 1,139 cases per million; 73 deaths per million
- April 25: 89,328 (15,485 active; 68,193 recovered; 5,650 deaths) and 1,064 cases per million; 67 deaths per million

Saudi Arabia: 24,097 (20,373 active; 3,555 recovered; 169 deaths) and 692 cases per million; 5 deaths per million
- April 25: 16,299 (13,948 active; 2,215 recovered; 136 deaths) and 468 cases per million; 4 deaths per million

Israel: 16,101 (6,720 active; 9,156 recovered; 225 deaths) and 1,860 cases per million; 26 deaths per million
- April 25: 15,148 (8,791 active; 6,159 recovered; 198 deaths) 1,750 cases per million; 23 deaths per million

Qatar: 14,096 (12,648 active; 1,436 recovered; 12 deaths) and 4,893 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- April 25: 9,358 (8,419 active; 929 recovered; 10 deaths) and 3,248 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

UAE: 13,038 (10,384 active; 2,543 recovered; 111 deaths) and 1,318 cases per million; 11 deaths per million
- April 25: 9,281 (7,457 active; 1,760 recovered; 64 deaths) and 938 cases per million; 6 deaths per million

The migrant workforce is very large in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, with many working in construction, and they are greatly affected by the pandemic.

"Construction has been deemed an essential industry in the UAE and protections for non-citizens are being rolled back through allowances for employers to cut workers' wages," says Isobel Archer, a project assistant at the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC). Though the measures in the UAE call for obtaining the mutual consent of the employee, already-vulnerable migrant workers have little power to negotiate, she says.

"Both countries have taken measures to close social venues and cancel or postpone events, so they're clearly aware that coronavirus is a huge public health issue," Archer adds. "That's why it's so alarming that there's this distinction being made in the UAE with migrant workers."

Developer Emaar Properties recently announced that it would suspend major projects in Dubai, while Qatar has directed private-sector employers to restrict working hours on construction sites and increase health and occupational safety measures to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. But seven of 14 construction companies surveyed by BHRRC on what steps they are taking to protect migrant workers did not respond, and none of those that did had adequate plans in place, a BHRRC press release informs

"The pandemic is really highlighting the need for reform on issues that have been repeatedly investigated by NGOs," Archer says. Concerns have long been raised about abuse and exploitation of migrant labour in Gulf countries, where workers on projects such as Qatar's 2022 World Cup facilities often live in cramped, unsanitary conditions on huge labour camps.

In South Asia on May 2:

India: 37,257 (26,027 active; 10,007 recovered; 1,223 deaths) and 27 cases per million; 0.9 deaths per million
- April 25: 24,942 (18,664 active; 5,498 recovered; 780 deaths) 18 cases per million; 0.6 deaths per million

Pakistan: 18,092 (13,324 active; 4,351 recovered; 417 deaths) and 82 cases per million; 2 deaths per million
- April 25: 12,227 (9,216 active; 2,755 recovered; 256 deaths) 55 cases per million; 1 death per million)

Bangladesh: 8,238 (7,894 active; 174 recovered; 170 deaths) and 50 cases per million; 1 death per million
- April 25 :4,998 (4,745 active; 113 recovered; 140 deaths) 30 cases per million; 0.9 deaths per million

Afghanistan: 2,335 (1,957 active; 310 recovered; 68 deaths) and 60 cases per million; 2 deaths per million
- April 25: 1,463 (1,228 active; 188 recovered; 47 deaths) and 38 cases per million and 1 death per million

Sri Lanka: 690 (521 active; 162 recovered; 7 deaths) and 32 cases per million; 0.3 deaths per million
- April 25: 440 (315 active; 118 recovered; 7 deaths) and 21 cases per million; 0.3 deaths per million

In Southeast Asia on May 2:

Singapore: 17,101 (15,817 active; 1,268 recovered; 16 deaths) and 2,923 cases per million; 3 deaths per million
- April 25: 12,693 (11,725 active; 956 recovered; 12 deaths) 2,170 cases per million; 2 deaths per million

Indonesia: 10,551 (8,160 active; 1,591 recovered; 800 deaths) and 39 cases per million; 3 deaths per million
- April 25: 8,607 (6,845 active; 1,042 recovered; 720 deaths) and 31 cases per million; and 3 deaths per million

Philippines: 8,772 (7,109 active; 1,084 recovered; 579 deaths) and 80 cases per million; 5 deaths per million
- April 25: 7,294 (6,008 active; 792 recovered; 494 deaths) and 67 cases per million; 5 deaths per million

Malaysia: 6,071 (1,758 active; 4,210 recovered; 103 deaths) and 188 cases per million; 3 deaths per million
- April 25: 5,742 (1,882 active; 3,762 recovered; 98 deaths) 177 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Thailand: 2,960 (187 active; 2,719 recovered; 54 deaths) and 42 cases per million; 0.8 deaths per million
- April 25: 2,907 (309 active; 2,547 recovered; 51 deaths) 42 cases per million; 0.7 deaths per million

In East Asia on May 2:

China: 82,874 (599 active; 77,642 recovered; 4,633 deaths) and 58 cases per million; 3 deaths per million
- April 25: 82,816 (838 active; 77,346 recovered; 4,632 deaths) 58 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Japan: 14,305 (10,875 active; 2,975 recovered; 455 deaths) and 113 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- 12,829 (10,954 active; 1,530 recovered; 345 deaths) 101 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

South Korea: 10,774 (1,454 active; 9,072 recovered; 248 deaths) and 210 cases per million; 5 deaths per million
- April 25: 10,718 (1,843 active; 8,635 recovered; 240 deaths) 209 cases per million; 5 deaths per million

Taiwan: 429 (99 active; 324 recovered; 6 deaths) and 18 cases per million; 0.3 deaths per million
- April 25: 429 (148 active; 275 recovered; 6 deaths) and 18 cases per million; 0.3 deaths per million

In North America on May 2:

USA: 1,131,030 (903,714 active; 161,563 recovered; 65,753 deaths) and 3,417 cases per million; 199 deaths per million
- April 25: 926,530 (763,855 active; 110,432 recovered; 52,243 deaths) and 2,799 cases per million; 158 deaths per million

Canada: 55,061 (28,919 active; 22,751 recovered; 3,391 deaths) and 1,459 cases per million; 90 deaths per million
- 43,888 (26,117 active; 15,469 recovered; 2,302 deaths) and 1,163 cases per million; 61 deaths per million

Mexico: 19,224 (5,942 active; 11,423 recovered; 1,859 deaths) and 149 cases per million; 14 deaths per million
- April 25: 12,872 (4,502 active; 7,149 recovered; 1,221 deaths) and 100 cases per million; 9 deaths per million

In Central America and the Caribbean on May 2:

Dominican Republic: 7,288 (5,588 active; 1,387 recovered; 313 deaths) and 672 cases per million; 29 deaths per million
- April 25: 5,749 (4,719 active; 763 recovered; 267 deaths) 530 cases per million; 25 deaths per million

Panama: 6,532 (5,768 active; 576 recovered; 188 deaths) and 1,514 cases per million; 44 deaths per million
- April 25: 5,338 (4,865 active; 319 recovered; 154 deaths) and 1,237 cases per million; 36 deaths per million

Cuba: 1,537 (759 active; 714 recovered; 64 deaths) and 136 cases per million; 6 deaths per million
- April 25: 1,285 (820 active; 416 recovered; 49 deaths) and 113 cases per million; 4 deaths per million

Honduras: 804 (617 active; 112 recovered; 75 deaths) and 81 cases per million; 8 deaths per million
- April 25: 591 (478 active; 58 recovered; 55 deaths) and 60 cases per million; 6 deaths per million

Costa Rica: 725 (364 active; 355 recovered; 6 deaths) and 142 cases per million; 1 death
- April 25: 687 (465 active; 216 recovered; 6 deaths) and 135 cases per million; 1 death per million

In South America on May 2:

Brazil: 92,109 (47,660 active; 38,039 recovered; 6,410 deaths) and 433 cases per million; 30 deaths per million
- April 25: 54,043 (22,684 active; 27,655 recovered; 3,704 deaths) and 254 cases per million; 17 deaths per million

Peru: 40,459 (28,206 active; 11,129 recovered; 1,124 deaths) and 1,227 cases per million; 34 deaths per million
- April 25: 21,648 (13,518 active; 7,496 recovered; 634 deaths) and 657 cases per million; 19 deaths per million

Ecuador: 26,336 (23,360 active; 1,913 recovered; 1,063 deaths) and 1,493 cases per million; 60 deaths per million
- April 25: 22,719 (20,777 active; 1,366 recovered; 576 deaths) and 1,288 cases per million; 33 deaths per million

Chile: 17,008 (7,756 active; 9,018 recovered; 234 deaths) and 890 cases per million; 12 deaths per million
- April 25: 12,306 (5,805 active; 6,327 recovered; 174 deaths) and 644 cases per million; 9 deaths per million

Colombia: 7,006 (5,141 active; 1,551 recovered; 314 deaths) and 138 cases per million; 6 deaths per million
- April 25: 4,881 (3,653 active; 1,003 recovered; 225 deaths) and 96 cases per million; 4 deaths per million

In Africa on May 2:

South Africa: 5,951 (3,453 active; 2,382 recovered; 116 deaths) and 100 cases per million; 2 deaths per million
- April 25: 4,220 (2,668 active; 1,473 recovered; 79 deaths) and 71 cases per million; 1 death per million

Egypt: 5,895 (4,029 active; 1,460 recovered; 406 deaths) and 58 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- April 25: 4,092 (2,723 active; 1,075 recovered; 294 deaths) and 40 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

Morocco: 4,569 (3,315 active; 1,083 recovered; 171 deaths) and 124 cases per million; 5 deaths per million
- April 25: 3,889 (3,232 active; 498 recovered; 159 deaths) and 105 cases per million; 4 deaths per million

Algeria: 4,154 (1,880 active; 1,821 recovered; 453 deaths) and 95 cases per million; 10 deaths per million
- April 25: 3,127 (1,304 active; 1,408 recovered; 415 deaths) and 71 cases per million; 9 deaths per million

Nigeria: 2,170 (1,751 active; 351 recovered; 68 deaths) and 11 cases per million; 0.3 deaths per million
- April 25: 1,182 (925 active; 292 recovered; 35 deaths)

In Oceania on May 2:

Australia: 6,767 (929 active; 5,745 recovered; 93 deaths) and 265 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- April 25: 6,695 (1,243 active; 5,372 recovered; 80 deaths) and 263 cases per million; 3 deaths per million

New Zealand: 1,479 (208 active; 1,252 recovered; 19 deaths) and 307 cases per million; 4 deaths per million
- April 25: 1,461 (325 active; 1,118 recovered; 18 deaths) and 303 cases per million; 4 deaths per million

Guam: 142 (5 deaths)
- April 25: 136 (5 deaths)

French Polynesia: 58 (7 active; 51 recovered) and 206 cases per million
- April 25: 57 (16 active; 41 recovered) and 203 cases per million

New Caledonia: 18 (1 active; 17 recovered)
- April 25: 18 (1 active; 17 recovered)

Haut de page

(To access articles individually click on the black headline.)



Website:   Email: