The IHSP Policy Talks Seminar Series at McGill University is hosting a seminar on the impact of COVID on immigrant and racialized communities in Montreal. The talk presents the findings of a study on the impacts of the COVID crisis on vulnerable groups within Montreal's immigrant and racialized communities. In April-May 2020, interviews were conducted with 50 key informants from community groups providing services to newcomers and ethnocultural associations in Montreal. Findings suggest that the COVID crisis disproportionately affects racialized groups with certain characteristics, including low SES, precarious migratory status, non-English or French speaking, or employment in the health sector or certain other ‘essential’ sectors.
The seminar will take place on November 3, 2020 12:30-1:30pm EST. The speakers include:
The Brooklyn Community Bookstore is hosting a virtual event on Oct 27, 2020, with Dean Spade, author of the book Mutual Aid, and Whitney Hu, organizer and founder of South Brooklyn Mutual Aid.
Mutual aid is the radical act of caring for each other while working to change the world. Around the globe, people are faced with a spiralling succession of crises, from the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change-induced fires, floods, and storms to the ongoing horrors of mass incarceration, racist policing, brutal immigration enforcement, endemic gender violence, and severe wealth inequality. Dean Spade's book is about mutual aid: why it is so important, what it looks like, and how to do it. Writing for those new to activism as well as those who have been in social movements for a long time, Dean Spade draws on years of organizing to offer a radical vision of community mobilization, social transformation, compassionate activism, and solidarity.
In this article by The Guardian, migrant workers highlight the exploitation and poor working conditions they face as they pick food from Spain's Plastic Sea.
Workers employed by Spanish food companies connected to UK supermarkets have claimed they don’t have electricity, running water, sanitation, and sufficient personal protective equipment.
“The pandemic has exacerbated the unacceptable conditions facing migrant workers and the Spanish government must urgently act. But two-thirds of all fruit and vegetables consumed across Europe and the UK come from these greenhouses and all the companies and retailers up these supply chains have a responsibility to these workers as well."
The United Nations' International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) will host the webinar "Vulnerable and Essential - Migrant Farmworkers, Wildfires and COVID-19" on October 7, 2020 from 11-12:30pm EDT. The webinar will focus on disaster impacts to California migrant communities and lessons in inclusive disaster planning. Panelists will include academics, community organizations, and government representatives.
An article by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, highlights the importance of protecting human rights of marginalized populations during and post-pandemic. Particularly in the case of temporary foreign workers in Canada, a right to health approach is critical.
“The right to health has two dimensions. It’s about access to health care but it’s also about securing the underlying social determinants of health in the realization that health care alone will not satisfy good health among the population,” says Brigit Toebes, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Groningen, “what we see is that problems surrounding COVID-19 are more prevalent in settings where there’s poverty and other forms of deprivation emphasizing the need to improve socioeconomic living conditions.”
This article by Global News describes the challenges many migrant families are facing in terms of seeking asylum in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families describe how they are being "swept up by Customs and Border Protection using extraordinary power available during public health emergencies to expel Mexicans and many Central Americans immediately to Mexico and waive immigration laws that include rights to seek asylum."
"The Border Patrol in June put 27,535 people on a track to expulsion under the public health emergency and made only 2,859 arrests under immigration law."
This article in CBC News describes how Ontario's undocumented migrants are slipping through the provinces COVID-19 net. Several foreign farm labourers do not have the proper permits to work in Canada and are now facing the fear that getting tested for COVID-19 may get them deported. An outbreak in Southwestern Ontario has resulted in over 1,000 migrant farm workers getting sick and killed 3 of them.
"I think is it's common knowledge that most of the workers that are hired through a temp work agency are undocumented," says Santiago Escobar, a national representative with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and a co-ordinator of the Agricultural Workers Alliance. Escobar. "And due to their precarious status, unscrupulous employers and temporary work agencies are taking advantage of these workers."
The documentary "Who Gets In?" by Barry Greenwood explores the various questions regarding Canada's immigration policy. The documentary was shot in 1988 in Africa, Canada and Hong Kong. "The film reveals first-hand what Canadian immigration officials are looking for in potential new Canadians, and the economic, social and political priorities orienting their choices."
This article by CBC News conveys how foreign workers are facing unsafe work conditions and demanding federal action amidst the several deaths of migrant workers from COVID-19.
"The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change heard complaints from more than a thousand workers on a variety of issues, including a lack of access to protective equipment, crowded conditions that don't allow physical distancing, poor access to proper food during quarantine and unfair gouging on wages and meal costs."
Our blog ECHOES features an original contribution by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). KIND is the leading national organization advocating for the rights of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children in the U.S. In the article, Wendy Young and Jasiel Fernández from KIND discuss the need to foster intentional spaces for migrant children's voices and identity.
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