Artistic Residency at the Plaza Côte-des-Neiges:

 Montreal February 3, 2015 – From January 25 to February 28, unit 138 at the Plaza Côte-des-Neiges will house the residency of a collective of immigrant artist-activists, The Artists’Bloc of the IWC (Immigrant Workers Center). Hosted by a project created by the theatre group Projet MÛ, they invite everyone to join them while they’ll be working and doing research for their artistic project Migrant Memory, Living Memory in the opening hours of the residency space, or for their free activities and workshops. Anyone is welcome to meet them in the space and get to know more about their artistic vision, and take part in their creations. Follow their facebook page for upcoming activities.

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.




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.


And more activities to come!


WHEN :                        January 25 to February 28, Saturdays 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


LOCATION :                             Unit 138, Plaza Côte-des-Neiges, 6700 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges


For information:    





Rally for decent work!

Montreal, October 7 – On World Day for Decent Work, the Coalition Against Precarious Work is organizing a rally in Square Victoria, just outside the office of the Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity, 800 Square-Victoria. Representatives from organizations like Pinay – a community organization of Filipino domestic workers, the Temporary Foreign Workers Association and the Temporary Agency Workers Association will be testifying about the growing use of precarious labour in Quebec and their demand for decent work.

The organizers are inviting media to cover the event. Workers who have been directly affected by the issues around precarious work will be available for interviews.

DATE AND TIME: October 7, 2014 at 5:30pm

PLACE: Square-Victoria, Metro Square-Victoria-OACI, Montreal, Quebec

For information: Joey Calugay, Immigrant Workers Centre
514-342-2111 (Office)




September 24, 2014

For immediate release


What: Media scrum to demand meeting with Minister Sam Hamad

When: 11:00 am, September 25th, 2014

Where: Tour de la Place Victoria, 800 rue Square Victoria (outside the office of Quebec Labour)

Who: The Coalition Against Precarious Work


On September 25th, 2014 members of the Coalition against Precarious Work will present themselves outside the office of Quebec Labour Minister Sam Hamad, with the objective of meeting with the Minister. The coalition, which includes the Temporary Agency Workers Association, Temporary Foreign Workers Association, PINAY, Immigrant Workers Centre of Montreal, Dignidad Migrante, Mexicans United for the Regularization and The Spanish Immigrants Collective of Montreal, hopes to bring to the attention of the Minister, several specific demands that we, the Coalition, believe would improve the living and working conditions of those who hold precarious employment. One of our central demands is our Living Wage campaign, which urges the increase of the minimum wage to above a subsistence salary, to a “living wage” of 15$/hour, so that workers can provide decently for themselves and their families.

According to the 2011 public report by the provincial Director of Public Health, there are over 450,000 workers in Quebec that have precarious jobs, with low wages, no or few benefits, few protections and no job security. As members of the coalition, we hold a unified position on the detrimental effects of this kind of precarious work for all members of society, in that it contributes to the abolition of stable, decently paid and often unionized work. Precarious labour is seen in many different forms, such as placement agency work, temporary employment, low-wage work, domestic work, and in Canada’s guest worker programs. Many of those who hold jobs in these positions are new immigrants, temporary foreign workers, women, and people without status. The Coalition would like to highlight that these individual’s suffer greatly from their precarious employment, which provides disincentive for workers to negotiate just and stable working conditions, and prevents them from qualifying for certain social benefits. As such, we will once again demand that the situation faced by immigrants and migrant workers must be heard, and that we are given a meeting with the current administration, in particular the office of Sam Hamad, to reiterate our demands for the establishment or revision of specific policies and regulations that would improve the quality of life and work, for those who hold precarious jobs.





Immigrant Workers Center (IWC)                           514-342-2111



Media Advisory

Guatemalan Independence Day: Nothing to Celebrate for Agricultural Workers

We continue marginalized, exploited, and excluded through Quebec’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)

Press conference
Monday, September 15th, 10am
4755 Van Horne Avenue, office 110

Noe Arteaga
Noé Arteaga, ex-foreign agricultural worker from Guatemala at “Savoura” and volunteer at the Immigrant Workers Centre

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, are governed byagreements such as the one between Canada and Guatemala. These programs are questioned by academics, activists, and human rights and grassroots organizations due to their systematic violation of human rights. Migrant workers are vulnerable because of their migrant status and the lack of labour regulations. Labour deregulation increases the labour precarity. Labour precarity is increasing not only among temporary migrant workers, but among all immigrant workers as well as Canadian citizens.

Media coverage of Noé Arteaga’s case brought visibility and knowledge of the unfair labour conditions and rights violations that occur within the SAWP. It also called attention to the lack of regulation of employers and recruitment agencies. Noé’s case demonstrated that the problem is not a few “bad apples” – as officials try to make out – but a structural problem in the programs themselves.

Noé Arteaga worked for the agricultural enterprise Savoura. This enterprise fired him in 2008 when he complained about injustices in the workplace and labour conditions. Noé returned to Montreal in 2009 to start legal action against Savoura because of the unjustified dismissal. The action against the SAWP was without legal precedent in Quebec and was an important step to regaining the dignity and rights of temporary agricultural foreign workers. Noé Arteaga demanded reintegration into work, payment of supplementary work hours, a refund of the airline ticket he paid to return to Guatemala when he was fired, and a public apology from the enterprise.

After more than five years, and despite a hunger-strike waged by Noé, the legal action has yet to produce any results. The undue length of the legal process highlights the vulnerability of foreign workers to abuse and exploitation. The difficulties that foreign workers face in seeking justice means that employers can abuse these workers with impunity. Many suffer these violations of their fundamental labour and human rights without any pathway to permanent residency.

contact 438-985-5399

Source :

Temporary Foreign Workers Association /attet/
Tél. 514-342-2111
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Press Conference
Wednesday July 9 at 7
Immigrant Workers Centre
4755 Av Van Horne, Montréal, QC H3W 1H8


On Friday, July 11 at 6pm, the first edition of the Antiracist Football Tournament in Montreal will kick-off. This event aims to spread a culture of solidarity, anti-racism and anti-fascism in the face of austerity policies that hit the hardest those who are systematically discriminated, exploited and impoverished.

In Canada, fundamental human rights are being violated by new reforms on immigration and refugee protection, as well as reforms to the Indian Act. Laws such as Bill C-31, C-38 and C-45 are evidence of the discrimination committed by the Canadian state. For its part, the Quebec government is no better with its “Plan Nord” and its Charter of Values. Its xenophobic statements highlight a non-inclusive political vision, which seeks to subdivide society into isolated cultural ghettos based upon American individualism.

In addition, the movement against the World Cup in Brazil shows us, once again, that the sport is subjected to financial lobbying and how this has disastrous consequences on local populations. In the face of the commodification of the sport, we are convinced that we must create social spaces and while expanding the opportunities to raise awareness and learn about discrimination.

The summer of 2014 is the ideal moment to demonstrate our solidarity with the Brazilian people and their social movements, to question the business behind the World Cup, while creating a social space and promoting antifascist struggles.

Press Conference
Wednesday July 9 at 7
Immigrant Workers Centre
4755 Av Van Horne, Montréal, QC H3W 1H8




20130714-0168© Photo: Victor Vargas Villafuerte .

When: Sunday 20th July at 3:00 pm
Where: Main entrance of the Oratoire Saint-Joseph, 3800, Queen Mary Road (metro Côte-des-Neiges), Montréal (Québec).
Who: Noé Arteaga, ex-temporary foreign worker and member of the Immigrant Workers Centre of Montreal.

This Sunday 20th July, Noe Arteaga will hold a press conference about Bill 8 which makes certain amendments to the Labour Code of Quebec (Chapter C-27). Organizations that defend human rights, labour rights, and immigrant and migrant workers should be deeply worried about these modifications because they exclude from legislation the ability of agricultural temporary foreign workers to unionize and to defend their rights in front of employers. “It is about a gradual increase of the private sphere of labour relationships, then giving more power to agricultural employers and adding more vulnerability to workers,” says Arteaga. These amendments are specifically applicable to workers of “farming business” that ordinary and continuously employ fewer than three workers. This Bill was presented in the context of the upheaval of the end of the parliamentary session of the last government, and it is not receiving enough attention from media, public opinion, unions, employers, employees, and the government. The modifications this Bill proposes infringe on the rights of agricultural workers whose great portion includes temporary foreign workers.

According to the proposed modifications by Bill 8, the dispositions of sections 2 and 3 of the Chapter II, and also, the Chapters III to V of the Labour Code will note be applicable to workers of farming business with fewer than three employees (Section 111.27). In that way, this measure excludes these workers from the legislation that regulates the unionizing and organizing processes of agricultural workers. The organizing and unionizing is an elemental and basic right of any worker, as much as the setting of collective agreements that legally ensure the respect of employers to basic rights of workers. As well, the proposed section 111.28 says the employer must give an association of employees of the farming business a reasonable opportunity to make representations about the conditions of employment of its members. Besides the ambiguity of terms as “reasonable opportunity”, in practice this section means workers shall not have the option to dialogue and negotiate with their employers about issues of wages, social security, neither they have right to strike. This will happen because the representation of workers will be excluded from the legislation that certifies their association. In this way their rights to exert political and collective pressure in front of the abuses of employers, and in front of the system that exploits them, are taken out of legislation.

The Temporary Foreign Workers Programs have been questioned since a long time ago because the systematic infringement of human and labour rights that migrant workers suffer. This situation takes place due to the combination of factors derived from their migrant status and location, and the labour de-regulation. This problem tends to increase labour precariousness, also spreading among the same Canadian citizens.

Media Invitation: Noé Arteaga Holds Press Conference on Labour Minister Sam Hamad’s Bill 8


Noé Arteaga fera un  Point presse concernant le projet de loi no 8
© Photo: Victor Vargas Villafuerte.

Media Invitation: Noé Arteaga Holds Press Conference on Labour Minister Sam Hamad’s Bill 8
Montreal, July 18 2014

Media representatives are invited to attend a press point in which Noé Arteaga, ex-Temporary Foreign Worker, will give his position concerning the bill proposed by Labour Minister Sam Hamad that aims to prevent migrant workers from unionizing.

Date: 20/07/2014

Location: Main entrance of St. Joseph Oratory, 3800 Queen Mary (Cote-des-Neiges metro), Montreal

Contact: 438-878-5416


Usage and archival of this photograph is limited to illustrate the event described on the communiqué. Right of usage of the photographs can not be granted to a third party or syndicated. Author has to be credited on the caption. This license of usage is limited and revocable at any moment. For any additional usage of the photograph communicate with the author.



© Video:.  Usage and archival of this photograph is limited to illustrate the event described on the  press release.  Right of usage of the photographs can not be transferred to a third party or syndicated.  Author has to be credited on the caption.  This license of usage is limited and revocable at any moment.  For any additional usage of the video communicate with the author.

Press Release

When: 14th July, at 10:45 a.m.

Where: 5252 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest, (metro vendome)

Who: The Coalition against Precarious Work

 On Monday 14th July a coalition of organizations that defend the rights of workers struggling against precarious work which are the Temporary Agency Workers Association, Temporary Foreign Workers Association, PINAY, Immigrant Workers Centre of Montreal, Dignidad Migrante, “Mexican united for the regularization”, and The Spanish Immigrants Collective of Montreal will deliver a letter to the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion of Quebec Kathleen Weil regarding the recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP). This action searches to find a response about how the provincial government will be accountable in reacting positively to better protect migrant workers given that the federal changes to the program will entrench precarity even further for migrants and drive down labour conditions for all.

This delivery is made to ask for a public meeting with the Minister regarding the recent changes in these programs. The Coalition considers these changes are ambiguous and with unclear effects upon foreign worker rights and upon other Quebec workers.

Some of the modifications include that the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is increasing from $275 to $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer. This measure will decrease possibilities of migrant workers to find employment if they stop working with an employer. This measure also increases their vulnerability and the pressure to accept work and labour conditions more and more hard and precarious. But also the new LMIA -which replaces the LMO- is more rigorous than their predecessor, then finding a new job or employer for migrant workers will be harder.

At the same time, the duration of work permits will be reduced from the current two-year standard duration to one-year periods as set out in the Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) which means more reduction of migrant workers´ possibilities to find a job in Canada. But also employers seeking to hire high-wage temporary foreign workers will now be required to submit transition plans to demonstrate how they will increase efforts to hire Canadians, including through higher wages, investments in training, and more active recruitment efforts to recruit Canadians within Canada. This measure obviously is creating worst conditions for foreign workers to compete and access to better paid jobs and with less precarity.

In this sense, the new regulations worsen the work conditions and labour rights of foreign workers. As Noé Arteaga says “The debate about the abuses made against foreign workers has been manipulated by the government and the conservative and traditional media. They make believe to the population that the “abuses” are the excesses employers and enterprises do using too much the programs, then displacing and taking jobs from Canadian citizens. Actually the abuses are those made by enterprises and employers against foreign workers inside the programs”. In the case of the Live-in Caregiver Program, there is uncertainty among workers about the possible changes to come. According to Jasmin Calzada, member of PINAY, “it is unclear which modifications the Live-in Caregiver Program will suffer and how workers of this program will be affected.”

Community Tree Planting


We apologize because this post is only in English and French.

Ninth annual MayWorks! festival to celebrate migrant workers struggles through art


may fly


Ninth annual MayWorks! festival to celebrate migrant workers struggles through art
When: Saturday May 17, 2013 from 6:00pm-10:00pm
Where: CEDA, 2515 Delisle (metro Lionel-Groulx)MONTREAL- May 13, 2014- Montrealers will be gathering for the annual MayWorks !festival, a family-friendly evening of food, music, and performances. Now in its’ ninth year, the festival aims to mark May Day- the real Labour Day- which commemorates the struggles of working people around the world and has traditionally been rooted in immigrant worker struggles.

” MayWorks! has always meant to be an evening to highlight our victories and to remember our struggles”, said Mostafa Henaway of the Immigrant Workers Centre. ” It also aims to give voice to immigrant workers and their communities, which have been silenced for so long”, he added. 
The evening will feature a performance from the Immigrant Workers Centre’s Artist Bloc, an ongoing community art activist project. Co-created by and for immigrant workers, the Artist Bloc incorporates new media, music, storytelling, visual arts and participatory theater approaches into their work. Since 2013, they have been bringing stories of struggle to picnics, protests and public spaces.
Rounding out the line up will be performances from the Cordillera People’s Support Group, the South Asian Women’s Centre, Amir Amiri and DJ Grenadier. A photo exhibition by Luigi Pasto will also be presented, documenting the living and working conditions of workers involved in the Immigrant Workers Centre’s campaigns. Participants are looking forward to celebrating the struggles of migrant workers in music, theater, dance, and song.
Media contacts:
For more information:
The Immigrant Workers Centre