Toronto Action Alert: Southern Ontario Immigration Raids and Detention Reviews

Economic downturn, recession, new depression. Call it what you will, but in times of economic crisis, non-status workers are more vulnerable than ever.  No One Is Illegal-Toronto is having an emergency demo at the Heritage Detention Centre to protest the detention of hundreds of people following workplace raids across Southern Ontario over the past two days. This might be only the beginning of a coordinated attack on refugees and migrants among Canada's working poor. If you live in the Toronto area, here are the details:

3:00pm, 3 April 2009

11am, Sunday, 5 April
385 Rexdale Boulevard
Buses leave 9:30 am (St. George and Bloor)

Actions are urged in other cities!

Yesterday and today, Immigration enforcement raided a number of workplaces
in Southern Ontario, arresting and detaining workers with precarious
immigration status on their way to and from work.

Hundreds of workers are now languishing in detention centres.

Hundreds of families and friends are wondering why their loved ones did
not return from work. The hundreds of thousands of non-status people
across Canada have woken up to a horrible day in Stephen Harper's Canada.

Mass arrests do nothing but create fear, harassment and intimidation, and
force all people with precarious status further in to the grey and black
market - unable to work good jobs.

In these times of economic crisis when a regularization program would
ensure much needed cash inflow in to the EI program, the Tory government
would rather spend money and energy on arresting people, piling them in to
centers and buying their plane tickets.

Instead of regularizing the millions of dollars of contributions to
Canada's economy by non-status people, the Tory government would rather
use the Bush doctrine of fear, intimidation and racism against the migrant

Following from the large workplace raids in June 2008, these coordinated
attacks and arrests show Harper and Kenney's intention to terrorize those
they consider the weakest - Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai,
Phillipino and Chinese workers trying to work and earn money.

Detention Reviews are taking place in Toronto at various locations
including the Heritage Detention Centre on Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds
of us will be outside the Heritage Inn on Sunday at 11am to show our
disgust and anger - we are not disposable cloths to be used and tossed
away at Harper's whims. We refuse to be brutalized and silenced! Condemn
Harper and CBSA that migrant communities will not tolerate these attacks!


Buses depart at 9:30 am from Bloor and St. George Street.

Allies across GTA are urged to get on cars, buses and trains and meet us
at the Heritage Inn (385 Rexdale Boulevard)

Further details will be released as we learn more. These raids are
continuing right now.

Also, please note: If you have any information about any immigration raid
across 'Canada', please email so that we are
able to get a sense of what we think is a national attack. Please find
attached a Know Your Rights document.

No One Is Illegal-Toronto
Migrante ON
Justicia for Migrant Workers
PCLS Workers Rights Division


By: on 4 Apr 2009


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Also if you work among

Also if you work among refugee/(im)migrant communities in Canada, check out (and distribute, and translate) their excellent Know Your Rights During Workplace Raids.

you might find these links

you might find these links about the australian experience useful:

The documentary titled "A Well-Founded Fear" may be useful.  Not sure how it would translate into the candian context but well worth having a look at.

Best wishes with this.  I think getting stories out to the Canadian public is the key (eg. or, .  Hope the same mistakes can be avoided.


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