Shavan is a father of three from Jamaica who’s been coming to Nova Scotia as a migrant farm worker for eight years. This past year, his bunkhouse was overrun with large rats. He says, “I know that’s not part of Canada’s standards.” Even during the heatwave over the summer, Shavan and other migrant workers were working 10-hour days in the blistering sun for minimum wage.

As we brace for the second wave of COVID-19, Stacey Gomez, Asaf Rashid, Jessica Tellez and Wanda Thomas call for uregnt action to end systemic racism faced by migrant workers.

PSA: Join us for a screening of the groundbreaking documentary “El Contrato” (The Contract), directed by Min Sook Lee. This film follows the story of Teodoro and other migrant workers who come from Mexico to work in tomato greenhouses in Leamington, Ontario. We’ll also hear the story of Shavan, a father of three from Jamaica who’s been coming to Nova Scotia as a migrant farm worker for 8 years (through a pre-recorded interview). This will be followed by Q & A discussion.

Today, actions are taking place across the country to call for full and permanent immigration status for all. In the early hours of the morning, migrant justice group No One is Illegal – Halifax/K’jipuktuk (NOII-Hfx) attached a banner to the Halifax Regional Municipality’s welcome sign on Highway 102, which reads “Status for All: No one is illegal.”

On July 22, 2020, the Federal Court of Canada ruled the so-called Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) to be unconstitutional and in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. Civil society groups across Canada are hailing the ruling as an important victory, while highlighting that more work needs to be done to ensure that Canada respects refugee rights.

Stacey Gomez, Asaf Rashid, Jessica Tellez and Wanda Thomas explain how racist immigration policies keep migrant workers temporary. “In Nova Scotia, approximately 2000 migrant workers arrive each year through Temporary Foreign Worker Programs, to plant and harvest crops, and to process our agriculture, as well as seafood products. Abuse of migrant workers is rampant in Nova Scotia and across Canada. The recently released report Unheeded Warnings includes accounts from migrant workers in Nova Scotia about being coerced into speaking positively of their employers during a government inspection under threat of deportation. Other workers report having racist slurs used against them when they spoke out about poor conditions. We’ve also received reports of migrant workers being unlawfully prevented from leaving Nova Scotia farms.”

“We’ve seen migrant workers being impacted by COVID-19 from coast to coast, and that highlights that this is a systemic issue. It’s not a coincidence that so many migrant workers are becoming ill.” We speak with Stacey Gomez of No One Is Illegal – Halifax/K’jipuktuk about migrant workers in Nova Scotia, their exposure to both Covid-19 and xenophobia, and what the province should do.