Toronto-based artists, Althea Balmes and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo are creating a community comic book in collaboration with Filipina migrant workers in the Live-in Caregiver Program.
The artists will present work in-progress and caregivers will share real-life stories as a part of the Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts:
Sunday May 12, 2013
Artist Talk & Community Sharing
Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas Street West
Seminar Room 1
Doors open at 12:30 pm
Fully accessible space
Free childcare provided
When IT worker Dave Moreau went public about the fact that the largest bank in Canada was firing him and 44 of his RBC colleagues while bringing in temporary workers from another country to learn their jobs, he blew the lid off a program hidden in plain sight.
Since coming to office in 2006, the Conservatives have massively expanded the pipeline that brings workers from around the world who often toil for less money and endure little to no meaningful workplace protections or human rights.
The Royal Bank of Canada has now apologized for displacing Canadian workers following the whistle blowing by an IT specialist which revealed the plan to replace some 50 Canada-based RBC workers with outsourced work via temporary migrant workers. But the issue is ongoing and beyond RBC. Canadian banks and other employers have been importing temporary migrant IT workers for various projects for some time, and they will continue to do so -- likely with ample support of governments.
I first learned of the use of temporary migrant IT workers in Canadian banks from a Toronto-based bank IT worker back in October 2012, when I was presenting on temporary labour migration at the Academics Stand Against Poverty Conference at Ryerson University.
Sunday's revelation that the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will be bringing in "temporary guest workers" to replace some of its Canadian employees captured headlines, sparking outrage and surprise, and leading many to threaten a bank boycott and move their accounts elsewhere.
The outrage is certainly understandable -- as one would think that RBC, with its more than $2 billion in first quarter profits, could afford to retain these workers -- but the surprise isn't.
Once again the temporary foreign worker program has erupted in controversy where it is being used to pit workers against each other.
News reports point out that the Royal Bank of Canada has decided to move its information technology department abroad. To do so, it has brought in temporary workers from India that will learn the ropes from their Canadian counterparts. Following this training, the Canadian workers will be laid off, and the Indian workers will transition the IT department to India and return there.