Ontario crash shines light on Canada’s migrant workers

Photo by John Lehmann/Globe and Mail

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 – Globe and Mail

They pour coffee, care for children, pick berries and wrangle chickens – unglamorous, often low-wage jobs that are vital to Canada’s economy.

The umbrella term “temporary foreign worker” covers upward of a quarter of a million people coming to Canada from 80 countries every year. Many are recruited by private agencies that run the gamut from respected international organizations to tiny operations accused of charging exorbitant fees for the privilege of a short-term, minimum-wage job in Canada.

Monday’s horrific crash in southwestern Ontario, in which 10 migrant workers were killed when the van transporting them smashed into a truck and careened into a building by the side of the road, exposes a growing sector of Canada’s labour market that, despite its size, tends to go unnoticed.

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In China, out-of-work migrants destabilizing

Friday, January 23, 2009 – San Francisco Chronicle

Anna Mehler Paperny


On a recent Sunday morning, the scene on the K290 train heading west from Shanghai to China’s rural heartland was one of chaos.

The hard-seat cars teemed with passengers, many of them migrant workers fighting to place their baggage in overhead compartments or find space to sit in the aisles.

Chun yun, or spring festival transport, is the world’s largest human migration, involving hundreds of millions of people annually traveling home before the Lunar New Year. But this year, migrants returning home before the Year of the Ox begins Monday got an early start after hundreds of thousands of workers lost their city jobs.

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