Union Speaks Out Against Immigration Raids In Southern Ontario

Union speaks out against immigration raids in Southern Ontario

UFCW Canada members join community groups in rally outside immigration holding centre on Sunday April 5

Attention: Agriculture Editor, Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor

TORONTO, ONTARIO/MEDIA ADVISORY–(Marketwire – April 5, 2009) –

Emergency Action
Rexdale Immigration Detention Centre
Sunday April 5, 2008 @ 11am
385 Rexdale Boulevard

Dozens of migrant workers in Bradford, Markham, Leamington, and East Toronto have been arrested, detained and are likely slated for deportation at the Rexdale Immigration Holding Centre after a series of US style immigration raids carried out by CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) throughout this week.

These raids in Southern Ontario are reminiscent of those carried out in 2006 by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at six plants owned by Swift & Company. Over 1300 UFCW meat processing workers were detained and taken away. A national commission was subsequently established at the urging of UFCW to investigate ICE misconduct and violations of the US Constitution.

“Clearly Harper and his Minister of Immigration are moving closer to a U.S. style immigration system where fear and enforcement are routinely used to terrorize migrant workers,” exclaimed UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley.

UFCW Canada will join other immigration activist groups on Sunday April 5 at the Rexdale Immigration Holding Centre to speak out against these US style immigration raids and demand a just immigration system.

“These workers came here to do honest work in order to be able to support their families back home. Restrictive temporary worker programs that tie people to unscrupulous employers and leave workers prey to dishonest recruiters also act like a bridge to precarious immigration status,” added Hanley.

UFCW Canada has a long history of advocating for the rights of migrant workers. With nine Agricultural Workers Centres across Canada including one in Leamington Ontario, UFCW Canada has been working with migrant workers to allow them to collectively voice their concerns over rights violations.

“We need a just immigration system that treats migrant workers like people not inhumane policies that allow employers to use immigrants as disposable labour,” stated Hanley.

Speaking about the overwhelming resources utilized by CBSA to carry out these raids, Hanley noted, “enforcement measures should be used to ensure fair and equitable working and living conditions for all workers regardless of their immigration status, not to further stigmatize vulnerable workers through detention and deportation.”

UFCW Canada is the country's largest private-sector union with more than 250,000 members coast-to-coast working in every sector of the food industry from field to table, including bargaining units at agriculture operations in British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec. Our union believes that all Temporary Foreign Workers should be provided with an avenue to permanent residency.