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FOCALPoint June 2011

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Government to reintroduce human
smuggling legislation

UN expert calls on Peru to take action against slavery

FOCAL launches new research tool to
visualize migration

FOCAL Views: Temporary migration in support of development

More could be done to boost development outcomes in sending countries and ensure fairness for all workers.


Cartoon_June_2011_snippetGo to this month's editorial cartoon





Canada's highest court rules against farm workers
Kerry Preibisch
The Supreme Court upholds Ontario law denying agricultural workers collective bargaining rights.



Canada’s growing temporary workforce: a worrying trend
Olivia Chow
Denying workers a route to permanent residency makes them more vulnerable to abuse.


Présence accrue de travailleurs étrangers au Québec | EN
René Mantha

Des pénuries de main-d’oeuvre persistantes ont compliqué la gestion des programmes en place.


Worker picking tomatoes

Those left behind: Impacts of migration on Guatemalan women
Christine Hughes
Migration brings unexpected change in home communities.


Réforme fédérale et maintien sous silence des travailleurs migrants victimes d’abus au Canada | EN
Eugénie Depatie-Pelletier
Les récents changements en immigration renforcent la vulnerabilité des travailleurs migrants.


Una nueva era de migración temporal mexicana en Canadá | EN
Ofelia Becerril Quintana

El crecimiento del programa no está beneficiando a los trabajadores temporales.




Government to reintroduce human smuggling legislation

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.”

UN expert calls on Peru to take action against slavery

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.”

FOCAL launches new research tool to visualize migration

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.


Drawing of enormous Statue of Liberty barring the way to people trying to get to Canada

Sin palabras

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