Workers urgently need your support



November 2016

Workers urgently need your support


The IWC is working with a group of Temporary Foreign Workers. These workers had worked for different farms and companies in and around Victoriaville.  For various reasons linked to difficult working conditions and labour code violations, they left their employers and sought work elsewhere.  They found a temporary placement agency that had them sign contracts and pay for the transfer for their work permits to the company.  As they worked, the new employer started to deduct money from their salaries stating that he was paying himself back the recruitment fees and other fees related to their applications for new work permits.  They were of course defrauded and when one of the former employers denounced the agency the CBSA along with SQ raided their work place and arrested 15 of the workers. They spent up to three weeks in detention while the recruiter walked scot-free


One worker has a son in the hospital in Guatemala with a serious head injury and will not be able to follow-up on his treatment if the family can’t pay.  He is also in debt as he borrowed money to pay money lenders to ensure his recruitment back in Guatemala. Many of the workers are in similar situations – when they were put in detention, it appeared that they would be deported without a chance of filing complaint processes to get their money back.


The staff and volunteers of the IWC along with lawyer, Susan Ramirez, worked relentlessly to secure the release of all the detained migrant workers in this case. With the support of our network and allies they were given guarantees for food and lodging. The IWC team has filed a collective complaint with the CNESST to try to get back the money stolen from the workers, while their lawyer has filed cases with the SQ against the placement agency and the immigration consultant that colluded for fraud and criminal threats.
Our goal now is to get the workers TRPs and open work permits. This will allow them to stay to follow through with their complaints processes and allow to work to gain some income to support themselves and their families back in Guatemala.


There is still a mountain of work to do while the centre has very limited resources. We hope to support several of the workers’ families back in Guatemala, who rely on their income. While we fight for their right to earn income while they stay, their families are in dire need. There are also fees related to legal applications, not to mention travel cost associated with many of them having to meet all together at the centre to participate in the decision making surrounding their claims and the Program and the regulation of unscrupulous temp placement agencies.


These are the core campaigns of the centre and we have gained powerful actors for change in the Guatemalan workers who seek justice. But we need you help to continue! Please donate to the Immigrant Workers Centre to help with this great endeavour


Please go to our website and donate through our PayPal Account



Eric Shragge, President of the Board of Directors, on behalf of the IWC Team





In the Shadow of Borders: documentary film screening followed by discussion
Monday, June 13 , 2016
6pm at L’auditore
5214 St Laurent (L’auditore )
(Radio Centre-Ville)

Cost: Free
Accessibility information: This venue is wheelchair accessible. There are accessible washrooms.
Language: English, French and Spanish with french subtitles


Please join us Monday, June 13, to watch In the Shadow of Borders, a 37 minute documentary film produced in 2015. Is Canada the welcoming country for migrants it likes to call itself? In the Shadow of Borders challenges this myth and, through personal stories of detention, denial of essential services, labour exploitation and deportation, exposes how precarious are the lives of those without status.

By connecting histories—of indigenous sovereignty, of Canada’s role in displacement, of its discriminatory policies—this documentary portrays grassroots resistance to xenophobic governmental practices and the struggle of migrants for freedom of movement.

We also invite you to stay after the screening to talk about the film and ongoing migrant struggles. People who participated in making the film, along with some of those interviewed and active in organizing around these issues in Montreal will be present for the discussion. The film is in English, French and Spanish and this projection will be of the English subtitled version, however DVDs of the Spanish and French subtitled versions will be available at the event.

This documentary is meant to serve as a popular education film, so if you cannot make the event or would like to share the film with others, we encourage you to organize your own screening! It could be shown in your home, workplace, school, community group, local park, etc. We can also help to organize screenings with someone to answer questions, facilitate a discussion and provide materials for workshops. Please be in touch at and we can get you what you need to set up your event. Also keep following our website and Facebook page to receive news of other screenings 





Solidarity Across Borders declares June 2016 a “Month Against Deportations.”

In the context of ongoing struggles for justice and dignity for all migrants, refugees and undocumented people, Solidarity Across Borders and allies are organizing actions throughout the month of June to publicly denounce the violence, racism and oppression of border controls, and their daily impact on tens of thousands of people in Montreal.

This summer we will amplify our voices as community members, lovers and fighters, with public art projects, demonstrations, community meals, and a variety of activities in fierce resistance to colonial borders and economies built on the deportation of certain people.

We invite you to join us this June, and into the future!
Not one more deportation! Down with colonial borders!

Schedule of events ::

★ Saturday June 4th @1pm: Borders are bonkers, theatre action
★ Saturday June 4th @7pm
(location to be announced): Demo and block party with le Collectif de résistance antiraciste
Saturday June 11th from 8am to 6pm: Picnic and soccer tournament with Antiracist Soccer  []

★ Monday le 13 juin @18h: atelier ” FILM Audiotorie”

★ Tuesday June 14th @6:30pm, QPIRG Concordia (1500 de maisonneuve Ouest, room 204): “Building a Solidarity City” workshop
★ Thursday June 16th, evening in Parc Jarry: Film screening with Cinema Politica
★ Monday June 20th @6:30pm, QPIRG Concordia:
workshop for new members of Solidarity Across Borders
★ Saturday & Sunday June 24&25
(location & times to be announced): Party and mural painting!

Over the past decade, deeply racist and Islamophobic border controls have strengthened. These border controls fortify the “Global North” in order to manage the migration of people from the “Global South”, who are only permitted entry if they can contribute to the destructive advancement of Canadian capitalism, or be exploited under it. Extending its power through imperialism and colonial occupation of Indigenous land, the Canadian state uses these border controls to assure that the majority of those who migrate to Canada live and work in precarity.

As we fight this reality, we want to celebrate the inspiring struggles that have taken place this past year against racism and exploitation, by migrants here in Montreal and around the world.
We have taken to the streets under the banner of ‘Refugees Welcome’ along with others across the world, as the “migrant crisis” was spotlighted within global mainstream consciousness. We know that this crisis is nothing new, although we also know that there has been a notable increase in deaths, by the thousands, this past year, as a direct result of increased border militarization.
Here in Montreal, we have seen the inspiring mobilization of the Haitian community in a collective fight against deportations, following the lifting of the moratorium on deportations to Haiti and Zimbabwe, with the Non-Status Action Committee.
We have seen the Non Status Women’s Collective in Montreal courageously denounce their conditions of oppression and exploitation, demanding status for all. These non-status women have spoken about living their everyday lives as if hidden under a mask, invisible, and struggling for a life of dignity, security and peace. Non status people continue to live in precarity in the shadows of our society.

As we celebrate resistance in our communities, we also want to mourn those who lives were stolen while in the custody of immigration and border authorities.
Since the year 2000, 14 people have died in Canada Border Services Agency custody. Most recently, Francisco Javier Romero Astorga died while being detained at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton, Ontario, in March 2016.
This is part of a larger struggle against police violence and anti-Black racism, which has seen the mobilizing, in Montreal, of Montreal Nord Republic and Montreal Noir, following the death of Jean-Pierre Bony by Montreal police in April 2016.

We know that struggles against immigration controls, for justice and dignity, are fought by thousands of people in our city, in our communities, often in isolation, and we want to honour those individuals and families for whom courageous resistance is part of daily life.

In confronting and actively fighting the systemic racism inherent in Canada’s exploitative immigration regime, and its oppressive foundations in capitalism and ongoing colonialism, we aspire towards strengthening our networks of solidarity and mutual aid, to counter this reality, here in Montreal.
Join us!



Reparations for Noé, Justice for Migrant Workers!

Sunday, 19 July at 2pm
corner of Queen Mary and Côte des neiges (in the park)

Fundraiser (indiegogo)

Our comrade and friend Noé Arteaga Santos has struggled for almost 7 years to get justice from Savoura, his former employer. Savoura is a Quebec-based tomato producer which relies on the labour of temporary migrant workers.

Noé came to Quebec in 2008 under the Temporary Foreign Workers programme, to work picking tomatoes for Savoura. After Noé participated in the organization of a very short strike to demand that a sick co-worker receive medical care, Savoura abruptly fired him. Noé was then forced to return to Guatemala.

Returning to Canada, Noé brought a human rights complaint against Savoura. More than six years later, the tribunal decided in his favour: Savoura fired Noé without just and sufficient cause. Moreover, Savoura contravened articles 10 and 16 of the Charter of rights and freedoms, discriminating against its workers on the basis of their ethnic origin and language (read the entire decision here:

This constitutes a huge victory, not only for Noé but for all temporary migrant workers and all farm workers, almost invisible in our society. Working in precarious conditions, often exploited by their employers, they provide us with food.

However, in spring 2015, before an agreement on compensation for Noé was reached, Savoura declared bankruptcy. However, the Savoura label continues.

We are launching a compaign in solidarity with Noé and all temporary migrant workers, to demand that Savoura and the Quebec Minister of Labour, Sam Hamad, assume their responsibilities in this affair and that they end the exploitation of migrant workers.

Justice for Noé Committee
supported by Immigrant Workers Centre, Mexicans United for Regularization, Solidarity Across Borders, le Comité pour les droits humaines en Amérique latineObservatoire critique de droits humains des immigrants et immigrantes and the Industrial Workers of the World

Reparations for Noé, Justice for Migrant Workers!



Reparations for Noé, Justice for Migrant Workers!

Our comrade and friend Noé Arteaga Santos has struggled for almost 7 years to get justice from Savoura, his former employer. Savoura is a Quebec-based tomato producer which relies on the labour of temporary migrant workers.

Noé came to Quebec in 2008 under the Temporary Foreign Workers programme, to work picking tomatoes for Savoura. Savoura abruptly terminated his contract and asked the Guatemalan consulate to intervene. The consulate forced him to return to Guatemala before the end of his contract. The role that he played in organizing a very short strike to demand that a sick co-worker receive medical care seems to have been the main reason he was deported.

With enormous courage and persistance, this migrant worker returned to Quebec and brought a human rights complaint against Savoura. More than six years later, the tribunal decided in his favour: Savoura fired Noé without just and sufficient cause. Moreover, Savoura contravened articles 10 and 16 of the Charter of rights and freedoms, discriminating against its workers on the basis of their ethnic origin and language (read the entire decision here: This constitutes a huge victory, not only for Noé but for all temporary migrant workers and all farm workers, almost invisible in our society. Working in precarious conditions, often exploited by their employers, they provide us with food.

However, before an agreement on compensation for Noé was reached, Savoura declared bankruptcy.

We are now asking: WHO WILL PAY?

We are launching a compaign in solidarity with Noé and all temporary migrant workers, to demand that Savoura and the Quebec Minister of Labour assume their responsibilities in this affair.

We realize that, realistically, it is going to be a long time before the State and Capital agree to make reparations and stop exploiting workers … In the meantime, we are turning towards you, members of our communities, to ask for your support and solidarity, to provide the compensation due to him.

We are aiming for $50,000. This is the amount identified by Noé as damages in negotiations with Savoura. It is a calculated on the basis of $10,000 lost salary per year for five years. The money we gather will be used to reimburse Noé for previous costs in his campaign (airplane ticket for his deportation and return to Quebec, administrative legal fees, travel costs, etc.) as well as future leg



Picket in support of Temporary  Migrant Farm Workers

Thursday, 2 December, 9am
99, ave. Viger Ouest (métro Square Victoria)

Come out for a short rally in support of the struggle of temporary migrant farm workers for justice and respect in Quebec!

Two migrant farm workers, Noé Arteaga Santos and Isaias Garcia Castillo, have brought a complaint before Québec’s Commission des relations du travail against Les Serres du St-Laurent Inc, a Quebec company which produces Savoura tomatoes. The company summarily fired and deported Arteaga Santos to Guatemala after he and other workers participated in a work stoppage to draw attention to the plight of a fellow worker who was not receiving the medical treatment he needed. After returning to Canada, he and Garcia Castillo launched the complaint to protest this and other unjust treatment by Savoura. The complaint has gone to arbitration, and the first of two arbitration hearings will take place on 2 December.

In solidarity with all migrant farm workers, we will rally to demand that these workers be re-instated at work and that their other demands for basic justice – such as overtime pay, the cost of the plane ticket to Guatemala, and an apology – be met by Savoura. We also demand that they be given status and we call for the full regularization of all non-status people.

–> Article in Hour, 20 August 2009:
–> Statement by Arteaga, 1 December 2009:

Under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Programme (TFWP), Quebec agri-businesses increasingly rely on cheap “disposable workers” from Guatemala, Mexico and other countries in Central America and the Caribbean. More than 4000 temporary Guatemalan farm workers are employed in Canada, mostly in Québec.

Canada in fact relies on foreign workers to satisfy different industry and service demands for short-term cheap labour in sectors like seasonal agriculture, live-in care-givers, oil sands construction, and food-processing. But reforms that were brought in last December prevent temporary workers from getting status in Canada by restricting them to working four years in Canada and then barring them from returning to the country for six years. While workers are barred after four years, employers are free to continue to bring workers from different source countries. This entrenches a permanent workforce that is expendable and powerless in exercising workers’ rights – an exploitable underclass of vulnerable workers who live without status and who are deprived of the most basic protections.

In this context, those who dare to speak out against violations or insist on their contract rights, like Arteaga and Castillo, are quickly and brutally dealt with. It is crucial that others in Quebec, who benefit from the fruit of their labour, stand up in solidarity.

The 2009 reforms are part of a larger shift in Canada’s immigration policy towards creating a disposable migrant workforce with few rights. In 2008, for the first time, more people entered the work force through exploitive temporary work programs than those with access to permanent residency. Refugee quotas for 2010 were slashed by 60%, and deportations have doubled in the last decade. The number of permanent residents is decreasing each year. Funding for family reunification programs has been cut, and there is restricted access to citizenship through skilled worker programs for people who respond to a designated 38 occupations. The newly introduced Bill C-49 proposes further reforms that will make it more difficult for refugees to get to Canada and will punish some of those who do make it with mandatory detention and more barriers to status.


Picket endorsed by:
Solidarité sans frontières
Immigrant Workers’ Centre



memoires-migrantes Mémoire Migrante. Photo Biron Desbois.

From Janurary 25 to Feburary 28, unit 138 will host the residency of an interdisciplinary artist collective, The Artists’Bloc of the IWC (Immigrant Workers Center). They invited everyone to meet them while they’ll be working and doing research for their artistic project Migrant Memory, Living Memory in the opening hours of the local, or for their free activities and workshop. Anyone who step in and meet them will get to know more about their artistic vision and/or to take part in their creations. Follow their facebook page for happining activities.

Unit 138 Opening Hours:

Friday: 4pm to 9 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

The Artists’ Bloc of the IWC is a group of immigrant workers diverse in origin and immigration situation. Artists, activists, workers and their allies, we create at the intersections of community, artistic practice, and social justice. We are united in our shared project to empower, support and listen to those that are most affected in confronting their situations of precarity, and to cultivate their dynamic leadership in giving direction to this project.

Together we move from critical thought to social action, from critical capacity to reinforcing autonomy, by sharing our stories of the good and the bad in our immigrant experience: people’s stories, stories of struggles that have led to victories, stories of our vulnerabilities materialized, of our unity that leads to strength.

The Artists’ Bloc is a group that manifests through spoken words and gesture. Our workshops regularly take place in French, English, Spanish and Arabic. Our creations take form in physical theatre, performance art, public interventions, and our messages are spread through our bodies, our banners, costumes, paint, and visual installations. Our work has been covered by radio, television, media, video and online. Our networks exist across this continent.

The Immigrant Workers’ Center (IWC) defends the rights of immigrants in their places of work and fights for dignity, respect, and justice. Some of our principal objectives include: improving living and working conditions for immigrant workers; mobilsing around workplace issues (including workplace accidents, harassment, unpaid wages or overtime, maternity leave, etc.); providing a safe place for immigrant workers to receive information, resources, and referrals. We offer these references and resources in several languages.

Free Activites & Workshops!

Saturday January 31: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Open House

The theme of immigration sits at the meeting between Canadian and Quebecois societies. This social phenomenon is explored through a diversity of voices attempting to explore the different dimensions of their experiences in Quebec.

Come meet members of the Artists’ Bloc of the IWC, a collective of artists, activists and (im)migrants working at the intersection of art, community and social justice. Video projections and installations of past works will be on display, as well as members of the collective to share their work.

Saturday February 7: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Stories & Migration

Immigration knows many causes and effects. Our personal stories are intermixed with structural factors allowing for the transfer of goods and global capital. This workshop will facilitate voices that speak of the origins and reasons for seeking out a possible future in other places.

A day for exchange, a storytelling workshop, the sharing of stories of migration – across the city of Montreal, and across this continent.

An intergenerational workshop, open to all ages!

Saturday February 14th: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. – We Make the Road by Walking

Temporary work has become more and more of a constant in immigrants’ lives in Canada and Quebec. Similarly temporary agencies become a constant in immigrants’ lives, giving direction to migrant and immigrant labor. These voices invite us to reflect on the effects of this reality on their daily lives.

A day for collective creation, these discussions will take place around an interactive and creative sculptural installation. Artists, agencies, workers, (im)migrants and witnessing will all be called upon.







Dinner is free ! and please invite your friends, your co-workers, and families! 

If you work for a temporary placement agency, you are invited to our Summer Meeting and Dinner  

Where we will come together and discuss our campaigns for better  

workplace health and safety for agency workers and make agencies pay for their boots!,

Working on making a campaign for more permanent and stable work not temporary jobs,  

For an increase to the minimum wage! 

Also decide on how we can improve together our work conditions, and services to help each other like immigration services, workplace problems, employment insurance, english and french courses.. 

So if you are a temporary agency worker join us because together we can have  



MayWorks! 2014

Celebrating immigrant worker struggles through the artsSaturday May 17, 2014

Doors at 6pm, dinner and performances at 7pm

CÉDA (2515, rue Delisle),
Métro Lionel-Groulx
Admission is free, donations are welcome!


may fly

The Immigrant Workers Centre will be hosting its ninth annual MayWorks! festival. Join us for

a family friendly evening of food, music and performances celebrating migrant workers struggles through the arts.

This MayWorks will feature a performance by the IWC Artist Bloc, an ongoing community activist art project, co-created by and for immigrant artists and workers. Since 2013, the IWC Artist Bloc has incorporated new media, music, storytelling, visual arts and participatory theater approaches into their community arts activist work. A roving renegade theater squad, they bring stories of struggle to picnics, protests and public space.

The evening will also feature performances from Pinay, the South Asian Women’s Centre, Amir Amiri, and DJ Grenadier. The IWC will also present a photo exhibition by Luigi Pasto, documenting the living and working conditions of immigrant workers involved in the Centre”s campaigns.

Please note that the space is wheel chair accessible. Childcare and activities for children will be provided on site.



Entre nosotras, en español, en confidencialidad y con respeto hablamos de:

Los problemas que enfrentamos las mujeres inmigrantes

Compartimos información, aprendemos juntas, extendemos nuestras redes de apoyo, desarrollamos actividades y estrategias para resistir y hacernos fuertes.


Ven y únete a Entre Nosotras este sábado 17 de mayo de 2014 a las 15:00 hrs.

En el Centro de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores Inmigrantes, 4755 Van Horne, bureau 110. Métro Plamondon.

514-342-2111 / WWW.IWC-CTI.ORG

Se compartirá información sobre derechos del trabajo e inmigración, en una próxima sesión sobre salud, educación y familia.

¡Todos los peques son bienvenidos, tenemos guardería!