Conditions of Worth

Interview by Luigi Pastò

Mohamed is a Tunisian born foreign worker recruited in 2012 at a job fair sponsored by the government of Canada. He worked for a year at a Wendy’s restaurant in New Brunswick. When his employer asked Mohamed to pay for the renewal of his work permit, an illegal request on the part of the employer, he moved to Montreal to seek other opportunities. Since leaving New Brunswick, Mohamed has remained in Canada on 8 consecutive visitor visas. He does not have a job or a reliable place to sleep, and has no access to social services or health care.

Noé is a temporary foreign worker from Guatemala. He was recruited by the government of Canada in 2008 to work in a produce company in Quebec. When a coworker was injured on the job and then unfairly treated by the employer Noé stood up to the employer on his behalf. Noé was then fired from his position. A wrongful dismissal legal challenge vindicated Noé, but the employer had already declared bankruptcy. Much of Canada’s produce is picked by workers like Noé, who face precarious employment and barriers to integration into Canadian society.


Inti is a poet and performance artist from Mexico. She entered Canada on a temporary work permit in 2011. Her artistic performances focus on the plight of migrant workers, and in particular their struggles against victimization by profit driven commercial enterprises. She has now returned to Mexico.


Carmelo entered Canada from Mexico as a political refugee in October of 2008. His request for refugee status was rejected in 2013 and he was placed on the deportation list. He was arrested in 2016 for being in Canada illegally and spend 5 days in an immigrant detention center despite having previously applied for residency on Humanitarian grounds. His request for residency was granted 10 days after being released from the detention center. Since arriving in Canada, Carmelo has volunteered for organizations that support workers’ rights such as the Immigrant Workers Centre and Mexicans United for Regularization.



Niel is a worker from Indonesia recruited by a private Canadian company in 2009. After a year of working in Canada, it became clear to Niel that the recruiter had misrepresented the opportunities that would be available to him. He requested, and was granted in 2014, refugee status in Canada. Despite this, he has struggled to find stable long-term work and to be granted the rights and privileges of other Canadian citizens. He works with local and international organizations promoting the rights of migrant workers.

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