Welcome to the FOCAL archive
The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is no longer in operation. This website documents FOCAL's activities and accomplishments throughout its existence. Thank you for your interest in the work of FOCAL.
|FOCALPoint June 2011|
Open as PDF
More could be done to boost development outcomes in sending countries and ensure fairness for all workers.
Go to this month's editorial cartoon
According to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the Government of Canada plans to reintroduce a bill targeting human smugglers when Parliament resumes.
Bill C-49: An Act to Prevent Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System was introduced in response to the arrival of a cargo ship off the coast of British Columbia carrying 500 Sri Lankan refugees in August 2010. Human smugglers were said to be behind the operation.
The government claimed that Bill C-49 would toughen penalties for human smugglers and make it easier to prosecute them. Opposition parties denounced the bill, saying it was flawed and unconstitutional. Critics argued the bill penalized migrants who arrive via human-smuggling operations, since it imposed penalties such as detention of the foreign national and inability to apply for permanent residency for five years.
The bill died when the recent federal election was called. With a majority government, the Conservatives no longer need the support of opposition parties to pass the proposed law.
“Criminal networks” are charging people “tens of thousands of dollars” to transport them to Canada illegally, Kenney told CTV’s Question Period on May 22. “We know those operations are still going on in East Asia. So this legislation will come forward fairly early to try to deter them.”
Peru must do more to combat slavery within its borders, said United Nations (UN) rights expert Gulnara Shahinian on May 20.
Shahinian, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, spoke after a 12-day fact-finding visit to the country. She said that while Peruvian authorities have “demonstrated a strong will to combat contemporary forms of slavery, a lot remains to be done”.
A 2010 report by the U.S. Department of State estimated that several thousand people are subjected to forced labour conditions in Peru. It stated that Peru “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.”
Shahinian focused on forced labour in logging and mining, domestic servitude and child labour. Slavery in domestic servitude is largely invisible, and many of the victims are young, female and unaware of their rights, Shahinian said. She also blamed the gold rush in the Madre de Dios region in Peru’s southeast for bringing lawlessness, forced labour, and sexual exploitation of minors and adults. In the logging sector, residents of remote, indigenous communities are often bound by debt for equipment and loans that lock them into a cycle of poverty.
Shahinian recommends enforcing existing legislation, creating separate criminal sanctions for slavery, “developing comprehensive protection mechanisms” and “reintegration and compensation schemes for victims.”
In February 2011, FOCAL launched the web-based mapping tool, Mapping Migration from the Americas (www.mappingmigration.com), providing researchers with a simpler and more dynamic way of accessing migration data collected both in Canada and in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
The Mapping Migration from the Americas project maps the flow of temporary foreign workers from six countries in the LAC region to Canada, along with key complementary information such as labour market and development indicator data.
Labour flows from LAC to Canada have been increasing over the past decade. In 2010, Canada attracted more than 182,000 temporary foreign workers in both skilled and low-skill occupations. Many of these workers came from traditional source countries such as Jamaica and Mexico, but an increasing number of temporary workers are arriving from Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala.
“There is a need to better understand the nature and changing patterns of temporary foreign worker flows to Canada from the LAC region, but also to better understand the social and economic impacts of migration both in Canada and in sending countries. [The maps] will also allow user groups such as government agencies, policy-makers, and migration experts and organizations to better understand the relationship between migration and development,” says FOCAL Project Manager, Tandy Shephard.
This is the first time migration data has been mapped utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to display the spatial distribution of temporary foreign workers across Canada and in sending countries.
Since the launch, researchers such as Evelyn Encalada Grez, author of FOCAL’s recent policy brief Vulnerabilities of female migrant farm workers from Latin America and the Caribbean in Canada, have made use of the data in their research.
The project thus far has mapped migration flows from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago. This interactive mapping tool allows this migration data to be layered and crossed with other datasets. Users can zoom in for detail or pan across maps, perform refined searches and sort results using the query function. FOCAL has made the maps available for public use in publications, presentations and educational materials, if properly referenced.