Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Transient servitude: migrant labour in Canada and the apartheid of citizenship

Document type Article
Author Walia, Harsha
Journal Race & Class
Volume 52
Date 2010 07 1
ISSN 0306-3968
Pages 71-84


Shifts in Canada’s immigration policy, most recently linked to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) with the US and Mexico, have created an increased reliance on temporary migrant workers, who constitute a disposable workforce, driven from their own countries by the same forces of neoliberal capitalism which foster their super-exploitation in the Canadian labour market. In this article, the operation of two migrant worker programmes, the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), are considered in the context of the province of British Columbia. The various means by which migrant workers are maintained in a state of vulnerability, available as a pool of cheap labour but excluded from belonging to the nation, are discussed. The article concludes by examining examples and further possibilities of alliances across social movements in BC in order to advance the struggle for human dignity.