We live in Canada; a country that knows few bounds when it comes to multiculturalism, diversity, free speech, democracy, opportunity and riches.
We are by no means a perfect country, especially when we look back at the roots of our colonization, but we are a persistent bunch, a proud bunch, and through immersion and assimilation we have tended a culture that is uniquely Canadian.
The End of Immigration is a film that demonstrates one of the few things not to be proud of as a Canadian.
Directed by Marie Bolti and Malcolm Guy, this film is about the unspoken truths of migrant workers who come to Canada on temporary contracts. It’s a documentary which uncovers the privatization of migration, whereby foreign workers are treated as commodities and sent to Canada to work for specific companies.
A Canadian law passed in 2011 stipulates that all foreign temporary workers must leave Canada after four years, effectively shutting out any opportunity for a temporary foreign worker who wishes to stay, and essentially institutionalizes an unsystematic approach to filling a drained labor force. And that’s essentially the problem. Instead of dealing with the labour shortage, the government has pushed the problem onto the private sector by allowing private companies to bring foreign workers to Canada.
As stated by an interviewee in the film, the foreign workers are not the stereotypical agricultural laborers or domestic workers that come to mind when thinking of foreign workers, but workers we interact with on a daily basis at fast food restaurants, gas stations, and even line workers on the CBC towers of Montreal. According to Dominic Parent of Quebec’s Paranet Cleaners, having foreign workers coming in to do jobs that Canadians do not want is a “solution.”
A production manager of Olymel in Alberta agrees; he needs foreign workers to work in the slaughterhouses with wages and working conditions which Canadians tend to pass up for better paying jobs in the oil fields.
The harsh reality of this film is that we bring foreign workers to Canada under private company contracts which they are bound to. They cannot find better jobs upon arrival, they cannot demand higher wages or a change in working conditions. They are bound to a corporate piece of paper which takes away the freedoms which we as Canadians are accustomed to. Breaching the contract gets them a plane ticket home.
The core of this issue is that Canada is not holding itself accountable for its shortage in labour and instead passes the issue onto the private sector, which does not have the required resources or management skills needed to ensure that foreign workers are being treated fairly and ethically. So where is the line drawn? While Canada is providing the opportunity for foreigners wishing to work, it is also taking advantage of these workers who are desperate to provide for their families and improve the quality of their lives.
The End of Immigration will be featured on Oct. 15, 1455 de Maisonneuve W. Room H-110 at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation. For more information, visit cinemapolitica.org/concordia