| Migrant farm labourers at work in Vittoria Ontario | MR Online Migrant farm labourers at work in Vittoria, Ontario. Image credit: Michael Swan (Flickr).

Imperialism, Migrant Labor, and the Nation: The Canadian Example

In May 2014, Liberal Party-leader Justin Trudeau accused Stephen Harper’s federal government of ballooning Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)—a program whereby Canadian employers can hire foreign workers on a temporary basis—into a force that displaced Canadian workers and drove down their wages.1 Trudeau’s criticisms of Harper’s TFWP were nothing novel; they inflated the grievances of labor organizations and disgruntled Canadian workers who seemingly found in temporary foreign workers (TFW), as the industrial English proletariat did in the immigrant Irish proletarian, a competitor who lowered their standard of life.2 This chagrin was mirrored in various other formats—some notable examples include a 2014 research institute paper that linked the easing of hiring conditions under Harper’s TFWP to accelerated unemployment rates in several Canadian provinces; a Federal Court case, in which the British Columbia Federation of Labour fought a mining company in 2012–13 for purporting to only hire Chinese temporary foreign workers; threats of unions and workers in Ontario in 2013 as the Royal Bank of Canada planned to outsource its information technology services to temporary foreign workers; and the media by and large furthering controversies in the oil patches of Northern Alberta and Canada’s fast-food industry in 2014.3

Ostensibly responding to this line, in June 2014 reforms were announced for the TFWP that introduced “low-wage” TFW hiring quotas for employers and further residency restrictions on low-wage TFWs while easing restrictions on “high-wage” TFWs.4 Trudeau, curiously, seemed to have changed course on the matter. A few weeks after the reforms were announced, he campaigned in Fort McMurray, Alberta—a Conservative Party stronghold and then booming oil town—and called Harper’s brand new “anti-Alberta” restrictions “caps that were going to hurt the people of Fort McMurray.”5 This statement resonated with some Albertan politicians lamenting the lack of unemployed Canadians available to fill positions in the labor market, as the Albertan unemployment rate, hovering around 4.6 percent from 2012 to 2014, was lower than the national average of around 7 percent over the same period. Over the next year of campaigning, Trudeau thus attempted to sell the Liberal’s “nation-building” immigration platform as an assuagement of the different groups’ concerns with immigration in general and migrant labor in particular. The Liberals assured that Canadian workers would always come first in hiring processes, but that Canadian employers could still access migrant labor pools if they had trouble finding workers, and that newcomers to Canada would be able to bring their families more easily—a promise that some commentators believed would benefit migrant workers.6

The Liberals, in power in October 2015 and executing reform in 2016, so maintained the separation between low-wage and high-wage migrant workers by scrapping some residency restrictions on low-waged TFWs but upholding the hiring quotas imposed by the previous government.7 It follows that the TFWP as a whole remained comparatively subdued under Trudeau, although by 2019 there had been a slight rebound in TFWP utilization in many occupations and the number of TFWs receiving positive Labour Market Impact Assessments for natural resources, agriculture, and related industries—industries whose migrant worker access was never condemned by the Canadian populace or hampered by Harper’s reforms—increased by more than 19,500 since Trudeau took office.8 Meanwhile, under the Liberals, there was a continuation of rapid growth in the Harper-consolidated International Mobility Program (IMP), a stream for temporary laborers who do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment to work in Canada. As charts 1 and 2 show, the growth in new and existing IMP work permit holders was almost entirely attributable to the profusion of international students receiving post-graduation work permits in Canada. While there was a relative shift in temporary residency, there was also an absolute increase (its trajectory thwarted by COVID in 2020).

The controversy surrounding imported temporary labor had largely fizzled out after the buildup to the 2015 election, though the topic occasionally resurfaced over the years following.9 Despite the absolute increase in imported temporary labor, there was no widespread outcry about immigration-driven wage stagnation, prospects for employment, or unfair competition. Migrant workers and their advocates, meanwhile, never stopped struggling to be heard throughout the unfolding of a “nation-building” platform that was providing little to no improvement to their working conditions, labor rights, or prospects for status.10 Reforms under Trudeau, as they had under Harper, predominantly focused on Canada’s labor market outcomes and largely ignored the experiences of the migrants themselves; when it came to deciding who had access to permanent status, for instance, the Liberals did not stray far from the prior government’s policy of permanently recruiting “a higher calibre of economic immigrant.”11 Chart 3 begins to visualize this by noting the number of permit-holding temporary residents that transitioned to permanent residency in Canada between 2007 and 2020 as a proportion of all newly admitted permanent residents. Even without filtering by national occupation classification skill levels among permit holders, the data shows a 1.2 percent decrease in TFWP migrants’ (already paltry) proportional transition rate and a growth of 6.7 percent in temporary residents receiving permanent status through post-graduation work from 2015 to 2020—a predictable result considering the trends identified in charts 1 and 2. The increasing proportion of international students among temporary residents, including those transitioning to permanent residency, marks a demographic shift that is likely to continue as Canada’s “two-step” immigration policies mature.12

| Chart 3 | MR Online

Source: Author compiled data sourced from: Government of Canada Open Government, “IRCC Monthly Updates” and “Facts & Figures 2015: Immigration Overview”.13

The above is admittedly not a complete statistical or historical picture of temporary migrant labor in twenty-first-century Canada. Non-status migrant workers without a permit, and trafficked human laborers, for example, are not included in any statistical databases; their presence in Canada can only be estimated.14 Combined with the lack of consistent statistical data amid the reorganizing of the TFWP and IMP, it is difficult to make comparisons across time.15 Nonetheless, there is enough information to challenge the idea that imported temporary labor is contentious in and of itself, for it would appear that the “ballooning” of the TFWP previously criticized by Canadians was but an inflation of a certain type of migrant worker: the low-skilled migrant who would “compete” with Canadian nationals. To understand this, it is necessary to dispel the ideological fog surrounding modern Canadian immigration and get to the root of its logic. Modern capitalist immigration policy, taking the form of temporary migration programs and selective residency schemes, controls labor mobility and reproduces globally unequal relations of production.

Indeed, by centering “human capital” and providing more pathways to work and residency for higher-skilled migrants, despite lower-skilled migrant workers having a far greater desire to temporarily migrate and permanently settle, Canada is able to continually reap the benefits of both high-skilled and low-skilled labor without having to socially reproduce either.16 In doing so, the ruling class has the support of a national constituency who, reacting to guard their national interests, ensure that the continual “restriction of migration of low-wage Third World labour” is “a highly popular policy.”17 Put together, this politically unchallenged, selective immigration scheme simultaneously reproduces Canadian national prosperity at the expense of the Global South: Canada welcomes increasing amounts of skilled labor, or “global talent,” while keeping low-skilled labor, save for a select few who are allowed to temporarily fill certain positions, locked in the Global South.

Migrant Labor and the Canadian Nation

Like all its forerunners, the capitalist production process proceeds under specific material conditions, which are however also the bearers of specific social relations which the individuals enter into in the process of reproducing their life. Those conditions, like these social relations, are on the one hand the presuppositions of the capitalist production process, and on the other its results and creations; they are both produced by it and reproduced by it.18

It would be impossible to analyze Canadian immigration policy if it were not first situated in a global-historical context. Canadian immigration policy cannot be considered in a vacuum, nor as a historically detached series of political and legal decisions. It is inextricably tied up in a domestically articulating capitalist world system that has, in some ways, shifted throughout the unfolding of political economic history. This, of course, occurs within the confines of a temporal global capitalism; what exists as Canadian immigration policy today is not the exact same as what existed over a hundred years ago, yet there are some themes that recur—or more aptly put, prevail—alongside the perpetuation of its internationally capitalist-imperialist and domestically settler-capitalist mode of production. Temporary migrant worker programs may be a relatively modern feature of the Canadian immigration system, emerging alongside Canadian labor market restructuring in the 1980s and the shift to temporariness in the immigration framework, but the primarily economic impetus for immigration and the greater exercising of sovereignty over national borders have always been central forces in determining the cross-border flow of labor. Immigration is both an effect and effector of global capitalism’s social relations.

The clash over what immigration is acceptable might seem at first to be one ideological symptom of class struggle. Put shortly, as the social existence of humankind determines its consciousness, the struggle of social consciousness within the superstructure—intellectually, legally, and politically—is an observable manifestation of the endeavor of each class to socially reproduce its existence.19 The ideas of any ruling class—the ruling ideas of a given society—are bent toward justifying the existing relations of production, which reproduce the mode of production over which they rule.20 The oppressed classes struggle to establish their social consciousness as against the presence of these hegemonic ruling ideas, and so bursts forth a struggle in the ideological spheres that drives zig-zagging superstructural development via these class antagonisms.21 Immigration law and policy, the national control of labor mobility, would not be separate from these antagonisms, but conditioned by them.

Capitalist immigration policy—regulating the flow of human labor across national borders—can be partially understood as a mechanism by which the capitalists of a nation ensure the reproduction of a surplus population.22 A greater supply of potential labor, sourced internationally, presses downward on wages and, by and large, the bargaining power of the working class. This capacity of imported labor is not lost on domestic workers; an immediate point of contention emerges between the domestic and imported proletarian, and as Marx pointed out in his letters to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt, it is in the interest of the ruling class to stoke this tension between the two while continuing to reap the benefits of a divided class.23 A Canadian working class that mobilizes against immigration would appear to be guarding its perceived class interest, and a ruling class that imports labor would appear to be doing the same for its own. In light of this, some have argued for acknowledging this downward pressure that immigration places on wages and refocusing the native-born working class’s attention on the common interests they share with migrant workers.24

The trouble with dogmatically mapping this hypothesis onto Canadian history is made evident when the struggle against immigration’s reproduction of capitalist social relations is supplanted by a seemingly progressive struggle for reform within national capitalism, that is, by the efforts of the national working class to raise or maintain its position at the expense of the international working class, or at the expense of entire nations. A working class divided by material interest, where one section enjoys relative privilege at the expense of another, presents a challenge for class solidarity. The racialization of immigration in Canadian history challenges the argument that the Canadian working class has been a progressive, historical proletarian force; an accurate depiction would note the apparent interclass solidarity of Canadian history.

A poignant and well-cited example begins in the 1880s, when prime minister John A. MacDonald’s federal government contracted Canadian Pacific Railway to build a transcontinental railroad reaching Canada’s west coast. Chinese laborers—30 to 50 percent cheaper than white labor and thought to be unlikely to unionize—were highly sought after by the railway contractors and endorsed by the federal government, but the subject of violent reaction from settler white labor. Racist organizations such as the Workingmen’s Protective Association and the Anti-Chinese Association had sprung up and dissolved before the contracting of the railroad, and racially exclusionary immigration legislation was repeatedly enacted by the British Columbia legislature and struck down by the federal government for infringing on federal powers. Unions—at first only in British Columbia, but soon in other parts of Canada as well—grew increasingly belligerent at the Chinese labor they claimed drove down wages and took the jobs of white laborers, and on several occasions, groups of white laborers attacked Chinese workers. In 1882, MacDonald said that his hands were tied: he did not like the prospects of Chinese immigrants either, but he could not do anything until the railway was completed, at which point he would “join to a reasonable extent in preventing the permanent settlement…of Mongolians or Chinese immigrants.” True to this, in 1885—the year of the railroad’s completion—the first Chinese Immigration Act was installed, imposing a $50 head tax on immigrants from China and restricting the number of Chinese people a ship could carry.25

Racist reaction against Chinese and other Asian laborers continued after the enforcement of the act. The British Columbia government, with the popular support of white labor, continued to ratify immigration policies that would restrict Asian immigration and minimize opportunities for Asian workers. Some policies stuck, but were struck down federally, as the government attempted to accommodate the strivings of industrialists who saw profit in Asian immigration—viewing Asian labor as essential for offsetting “labor shortages” and the wage increases of white labor that, in some cases, had increased from $1.50 to $3.00 daily between 1903 and 1907. The racist outcry, however, continued to mount: amid the economic recession of 1907 and a report that the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway were to import Japanese laborers to complete a portion of their railroad, the Asiatic Exclusion League organized a public rally in Vancouver that devolved into a destructive riot targeting Vancouver Chinatown, and in 1919, a resolution introduced by a British Columbia member of parliament—advocated for by unions, farm organizations, the Canadian Ku Klux Klan, and the Trades and Labor Congress—called for complete restriction of Asian immigration to Canada. It bore rotten fruit in 1923 when a new Chinese Immigration Act effectively restricted Chinese immigration, with only fifteen Chinese citizens immigrating to Canada in the twenty-four-year period between the act’s enactment and its repeal in 1947. The period saw similar restrictions levelled against immigrants from other Asian nations, including India and Japan, but no such restrictions on immigrants from European nations.26

The discrepancy between Canadian and Chinese wages, a pivotal point in this story, was, as it still is today, rooted in global capitalism’s uneven development, as remains the impulse of the citizens of Global South nations to migrate in search of a better life. As V. I. Lenin argued in the early twentieth century, advanced capitalism, establishing itself on the world stage, drags the workers of these countries into its orbit as they flee poverty and are attracted to the higher wages of countries in the Global North.27 Immigration into imperialist nations thereby takes on a different character depending on the country of origin; immigrants from what are considered less developed countries compete for “unskilled” positions while immigrants from “more advanced” countries—along with many local workers—take the “skilled” positions, and thus the working class is split into “privileged” and “non-privileged” sections.28 This connection between maturing global capitalism and the diverging national class character of the proletariat was brought up to date by Lenin in the age of imperialism, but had first begun to be traced by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels over decades of correspondence while observing capitalism’s development in England.29 Through Lenin, writing and organizing in the age of a global “rotten-ripe capitalism,” the splitting of the world into oppressed and oppressor nations and the subsequent consideration of nations as a whole became a pressing political question; first in his struggle against opportunism and social chauvinism in the Second International, and later in the Third International after he had passed away in 1924.30 The historical emergence of a “bought off” working class, or labor aristocracy, in the core nations—charted by Zak Cope—provides valuable clues as to the material roots of the Canadian nations’ interclass solidarity, with this also being immensely helpful for understanding the recent reaction to the attempts at expanding the import of temporary migrant laborers.31

The premise of globally uneven capitalist development producing nations that profit off other nations, and the resultant international wage differences producing a relatively privileged working class in the core, provides conceivable grounds to explain working-class xenophobia. International wage discrepancies alone, however, are not enough to explain the working class’s intervention in historical Canadian immigration since immigrants from poorer European nations did not face similar restrictions and backlash. It is necessary to indicate that national oppression necessarily takes on a racial character; the intersection of race and global class structure both a product of and a justification for a neocolonial capitalism that reproduces unequal exploitation and thus unequal material status. “Xeno-racism,” Cope argues, is the attempt of an oppressor nation, or any of its members, to exclude members of a subject population from its borders in order to maintain their colonial dominion.32 Further:

Whereas the labour aristocracy seeks to protect its privileged position on the job market by means of restricting employment opportunities for particular national, racial or ‘ethnic’ groups, businessmen prefer to substitute cheap subordinate labour. Where all agree, however, is on the necessity of using the state to repress subject groups for the purpose of drawing superprofits or super-wages and of embedding racial lines in society so as to keep power in the hands of the dominant classes.33

It is not correct to say that the Euro-white Canadian working class has never faced any exploitation. The central distinction is the impetus to maintain their relative status against Indigenous nations who struggle to reassert themselves and reclaim their land, and Global South proletarians who migrate in search of a better life. The story of Canadian interclass solidarity and xeno-racism thereby begins with the genocide and national dispossession of Indigenous populations for purposes of accessing their land and resources. If there exists an unequal privilege shared by the historically white Canadian nation, it is primarily rooted in settler history; only later tapping into the spoils of capitalism beyond the borders it placed on stolen land. An examination of Canada’s entire ongoing, neocolonialist history would more solidly ground the racialized propensity toward European immigration, and would remind us that the First Nations that “Canada” oppressed—indeed, the nations whose violent dispossession spawned the conditions for the emergence of the class-collaborating, white Canadian nation—were the Indigenous nations.34 There is no understanding of national oppression without an understanding of the oppressed internal nations; nations whose free mobility were also restricted by national legal-political outcomes that, for instance, locked them in reservations and continue to disproportionately incarcerate and murder them today.35

The Canadian nation, then, in the image of the national project’s architects, includes all classes and strata, living in the same stolen territory in the same unity of economic life and psychological formation produced at the expense of the oppressed nations, and thereby unified in using the mechanism of the state to oppress the subjugated nations.36 This Canadian nation was birthed from the class collaborationism of Canadian primary accumulation: European white settlers and the bourgeoisie mutually benefited from the settler-colonial murder and displacement of Indigenous peoples—a “clearing of the land.” That is not to say that there is never any contention between the classes making up the Canadian nation: fluctuating historical trends in immigration—the capitalists’ attempts to import more labor and the tendency of the domestic working class to push back—present a struggle over deciding who gets included in the Canadian nation. This directs us to the historically uneven solidity of the Canadian national alliance, as the simultaneity of a settler-colonialist accumulation regime and capitalist-imperialist regime, complete with their respective relations of production, come up against the very limits of capitalist accumulation. Due to Canada’s national origins and imperialist accumulation, however, the outrage of the working class has been directed downward against the assertion of both external and internal nations whose exploitation and dispossession, respectively, reproduce its relatively privileged existence, while its progressive politics have largely been limited to maneuvers within the existing capitalist system.37

Contemporary Canadian adaptation to new relations of production, as has occurred per globalization and the flexibilization of domestic labor, has manifested a contemporary liberal ideology that denies its ongoing ties to, and even condemns, settler racism. Beginning in the latter half of the twenty-first century, Canada has outwardly celebrated itself as being a multicultural society, accepting of differences, that has learned from its racist past.38 This ideology tails the statistical shift in immigration: while nearly all immigrants to Canada up to the 1980s were of European origin, contemporary Canadian immigration, increasingly so in the twenty-first century, is predominantly made up of economic migrants from India, China, the Philippines, Nigeria, and other highly populated Global South countries like Pakistan.39 The question, then, is how the racialized Canadian immigration framework transformed into a seemingly more accepting, multicultural system—or, more aptly put, how the Canadian immigration system was able to hide its continued racialization and violence—with the majority consent of the Canadian working class.40 At the same time, with the persistent resurgence of populism and xenophobia in Canada (as in other parts of the world), we must ask how deep the support for immigration really runs.41 The resurgence of theories of imperialism and the labor aristocracy in Marxist spheres open up possibilities for reapproaching a Canadian immigration policy that, painted with a more humanitarian sheen, tries to distance itself from its embarrassing early history.42

Neoliberal Globalization and Temporary Migration

Contrary to its neoliberal ideological tint, and although global capitalism’s exact relations of production have changed since Lenin’s time, the modern world is still divided into oppressed and oppressor nations. Immigration policy in the modern period (from the 1980s onward), as connected to the global capitalist system, affects and is affected by the neoliberal globalization of production; a paradigm shift in global labor that saw the outsourcing of many lower-level production processes to so-called underdeveloped countries. There were two sides to this. First, domestic labor was loosened from these production processes to allow for their exporting; second, an adequate pool of international labor was needed to absorb the outsourcing. Hence, this globalization of production networks saw a decline in domestic labor’s share coinciding with the creation of a global reserve army of labor toward which the outsourcing of labor has been directed over the past five decades, and it would be fallacious to claim that the closer incorporation of Global South nations into production networks has made global capitalism more equitable or has allowed for them to catch up.43 As John Smith shows, the divide is as great as ever.44

This massive offshoring of production—namely in manufacturing and services industry—was necessarily preceded by a deep economic restructuring in all Global South countries it reached. As Marx noted, the maturation of capitalist production is preceded by an expropriation of the peasantry and agricultural wage laborers from their lands and occupations, hence creating “a mass of ‘free’ and unattached proletarians” to be “hurled onto the market.”45 Marx was, of course, directly referencing the genesis of English capitalism and the colonization of the Americas, yet the historical emergence of “late” imperialism has shown that capitalism continues to dispossess Global South populations to sustain itself.46 The decollectivization of Chinese agriculture—the process of exposing communal agriculture to market competition that forced millions of rural migrant workers to drive China’s export-oriented economy—and the current attempted agricultural restructuring of India are some obvious parallels.47 Similar restructuring in Latin America, Africa, and Asia loosened more potential labor, while the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the resultant “shock therapy” also provided for a Global South reserve army of labor that John Bellamy Foster, Robert McChesney, and R. Jamil Jonna estimated at 2.4 billion in 2011.48 In Mexico, the (re)production of a superfluous labor population that competes for employment in maquiladoras and commodity agriculture, risks their health and safety to migrate to the United States in search of precarious work, and walks a tightrope to land seasonal agricultural positions in Canada, results from the International Monetary Fund’s “structural adjustment” and the North American Free Trade Agreement’s policies. There could be no outsourcing of production or importing of temporary migrant workers without the existence of this surplus population.

Smith points out that the Global South reserve army of labor, working in miserable conditions for low wages, produces a heap of products and an enormous, internationally mobile surplus that can cross the borders they cannot.49 In order that imperialist economies might continue to extract super-profits from this Global South reserve army of labor, the excess population—prone to migrate in search of better opportunities—must not be able to drain. Without intervention, manifesting in the militarization of imperialist borders and the strict immigration policies that dominate today, a massive migratory exodus of productive Global South proletarians to countries with higher wages would dramatically reduce the international difference in unit labor costs and thereby slash the profitability of global production networks.50 Despite these draconian restrictions, millions of Global South workers take the risk of migrating to seek out a better life for themselves and their families, with their precarious and frequent undocumented status leaving them vulnerable to a level of exploitation not experienced by most workers of imperialist countries. As was previously pointed out, the working class of the imperialist core tends to struggle against the very existence of these migrants instead of struggling for their rights and status. This conflict is further exacerbated by the fact that, as domestic profit rates in the Global North have fallen, core countries have increasingly relied on their plunder of the Global South to maintain their economic growth and consumption.51 Therefore, 104 years after Lenin dubbed imperialism as that which “sets the seal of parasitism on the whole country that lives by exploiting the labor of several overseas countries and colonies,” the material status of entire imperialist nations grows increasingly at odds with that of Global South nations.52

The emergence and national acceptance of some level of temporary migrant labor in Canada under these conditions has taken on the following specific form: capital-immobile, low-level labor processes like that of seasonal agriculture, domestic caregiving, and some service industries, said to be undesirable for Canadian workers, present the need for a cheap, ready, flexible, external source of labor. Canadian immigration policy has thereby drafted and enacted strict labor-import programs that, though constantly reformed, pivot on labor market outcomes.53 The national rejection of the attempted expansion of migrant labor programs to wider low-skill industries prevents greater systematic usage of migrant labor. Consequently, under the close eye of the Canadian constituency, the inbuilt mechanisms of such programs systematically alter the chances of permanent settlement while dressing such policies up in legal and political language that centers the health of the nation. Thus, the decision of admitting or excluding a foreign national based on the proclaimed “needs” of Canada at any given time is expedited by a laundry list of requirements for residency and reasons for inadmissibility.54 Generalized “economic development,” for example, is a central determinant and mainstay of Canadian immigration politics and law, finding its most modern iteration in section 3c of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.55 With no comparable history of chattel slavery and an Indigenous population that has never been proletarianized, immigration-driven prosperity has always been predicated on furnishing the labor force, but now more than ever, considering neoliberal globalization and a low domestic population replacement rate, it requires a strict program that can fill the gaps in the uneven labor market without upsetting global transfers of value.

A two-step process emerges that, constrained by the general consciousness of the voting population, first brings in all types of migrant workers on temporary status, and second guilefully whittles down or expands their transition prospects according to, in addition to other requirements, the migrant’s “skill level.” Through programs like the TFWP and IMP, Canadian employers are able to access international labor at national occupation classification level 0 (managerial class), A (occupations requiring university training), B (occupations requiring college, specialized, or apprenticeship training), C (occupations requiring secondary schooling or occupation-specific training), and D (occupations requiring on-the-job training). Once employed in Canada, however, migrant workers in level C and D occupations are locked out from nearly all pathways to permanent residency than more “skilled” migrants can access. Aside from caregivers, who have their own specific pathway (with its own issues, bottlenecks, and abuses), these less skilled migrants will most likely gain status—if possible through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) operating on a points-based system, with a shifting minimum points threshold, that prioritize those with higher economic indicators.56

Since level C and D migrants must have a full-time, permanent job offer to be accepted through the PNP—which, besides family relations and humanitarian categories, are their only pathway—they are included in permanent resident admission statistics by their national occupation classification skill level. As applicants to these programs must have Canadian work experience and be currently employed in Canada at the time of application, they must be legal temporary residents at the time of application. Charts 4 and 5 can thereby contextualize the previous charts by comparing across skill level instead of program, showing (1) how many level C and D migrants are granted permits as a proportion of all new temporary workers, and (2) how many are granted permanent status each year as a proportion of total new permanent residents. The proportion of level C and D migrant workers receiving new work permits has levelled off at about 21 percent, while those transitioning to permanent residence remain well below 3 percent amid Canada’s continual import and retention of higher skilled, though still flexible, labor. The proportion of level C and D migrants in each graph was certainly greater before the Harper reforms, yet Canada’s continued need to import temporary migrants for the seasonal agriculture industry has kept the share of new level C workers comparatively higher than level D. What the statistics hide is that temporary migrant workers can work in Canada over protracted periods—thus, while Canada can suck the labor value of seasonal agricultural migrant workers year after year, for example, the workers themselves experience protracted exclusion, with an approximately 2 percent chance of receiving permanent status even after their tenth year working in Canada.57

Indeed, what has emerged from the age of globalization is not a more humanitarian immigration scheme but a thinly veiled prevention of impoverished workers being dragged into the orbit of the capitalist core in search of better wages. Immigration’s role—increasingly taking the form of temporary migration—in reproducing the Canadian nation thus requires that different citizens of the Global South be provided with different experiences of labor mobility. Canada needs highly skilled immigrants not only to grow economically, but to maintain its status in the world system. The cream of the crop—the affluent and skilled laborers of the Global South—are incentivized to migrate, permanently settle, and naturalize in the same country that locks most of their countrypeople out. Such incentivization has prior been given a legal basis:

In Lavoie v Canada, a differentiation between permanent residents and citizens was held to be discriminatory, but nevertheless it was held that the differentiation was justifiable under section 1 of the Charter, on the ground that there were good reasons to privilege citizens and to thereby create incentives to individuals to become citizens. The questionable premise on which the court based this view was that, in a multicultural society, citizenship is the glue that holds society together, and therefore it is defensible to attach privileges to it.58

The higher wages and social programs afforded to citizens of imperialist nations are thereby dangled in front of desirable migrants to entice them to come and stay. Temporary migrants working seasonal agriculture, meanwhile, are extremely unlikely to receive a sniff at permanent status and, shamefully, remain excluded from receiving even the proceeds of the social programs that they pay into.59

On the international scale, migratory incentivization to imperialist nations, coupled with capitalism’s underdevelopment (superexploitation) of the oppressed nations, facilitates value transfer by producing a brain gain for Canada via a brain drain of the Global South.60 Not only is this a net transfer of skilled labor, it reproduces monopoly. The mobility of capital—including “human” capital—and immobility of labor continually reproduce imperialist relations of production that reinforce the oppressor nation’s position in the world system. In other words, in addition to the flow of other high-skilled workers in areas like medicine, potential talent from Global South countries strive for lucrative positions in Global North firms that hold monopolies over technology and higher labor processes on the global value chain, and this imbuement of young global talent, fed with massive research and development spending, thus reinforces the monopoly that massive multinational corporations hold over non-monopoly firms and their Global South suppliers.61 As a whole, Canada can continuously reap the immediate and long-term benefits of an expanding, upwardly mobile “middle class” from developing nations that it did not pay to produce, with entire industries, such as the postsecondary sector, thriving off this type of migration.62 Global South nations, on the other hand, doubly lose out, while Global South women in particular bear the double yoke of social reproduction (their labor and children looted by transnational capital).

The strengthening role of such immigration is implicitly understood by a large part of the nation.63 In contrast with lower-skilled migrants and refugees, who are inaccurately characterized in populist reaction as un-naturalizable opportunists who fled their underdeveloped countries to leech off taxpayer dollars, high-skilled immigrants are often thought of as generators of social surplus and hardworking contributors to the nation. Yet the Canadian population, incapable of fully supplanting its national chauvinism, cannot avoid racist characterizations and distortions.64 The racist stereotype of Chinese immigrants, once caricatured as unhygienic, uncivilized, docile, and low-skilled laborers, is now the stereotype of luxury shoppers who flaunt their intergenerational wealth; once blamed for driving down wages and dispossessing workers, now accused of driving up the cost of real estate and spying for the Chinese government.65 As such, racism and national chauvinism surfaces in abundance in times of crises, as it has during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.66 It remains to be seen whether Canada can continue to maintain its liberal, multicultural sheen while preserving its domestically and internationally parasitic economic structure, especially as this positioning requires that Global South nations be sources of surplus and not competitors of the imperialist core.

The “Crucial” Migrant

The two-step process of temporary migration to Canada was shaped and reshaped by a tug-of-war between Canada’s colonially rooted settler racism and its role as an exploiter nation in the imperialist world system. Analyses of Canadian immigration must not ignore the interventional role of the Canadian working class in maintaining its material status, as citizens of a relatively privileged nation, at the expense of externally and internally oppressed nations, and the effects that this has on national policy. This class maintenance involves a restriction of the Global South proletarian’s free movement—in contradistinction to the façade of modern immigration and neoliberal globalization—that does not end when the migrant worker is permitted to enter Canada. In the “hidden abodes” of migrant work—in seasonal agricultural work, for example—the labor process that the migrant takes part in is strictly controlled, as demands for flexibility and just-in-time production are transferred onto the worker.67 Further, a migrant’s time in Canada balances on the tip of a pen while a blind eye is turned to their daily experience, a possible parallel being drawn between the legal tether geographically holding the agricultural migrant worker to the farm and the Indigenous subject to the reservation. Although the logic behind the oppression of the first is superexploitation and behind that of the latter is elimination, they share a common experience as oppressed nations under capitalism, and so the resistance of each population against capitalism can be linked.68

This absolute control contrasts with Canadian attempts to make national room for the flexible and upwardly mobile sections of the Global South, although even this selective openness has been put into question by the violent contradictions of an interconnected and decaying global capitalism. In light of the spiraling climate crisis and falling rate of global profit, it is uncertain how long the national alliance between the Canadian ruling class and settler working class can be maintained. The second it cannot—the second that the co-maintenance of the foundational settler-colonialist accumulation regime and modern neoliberal-imperialist accumulation becomes impossible—the Canadian nation as it is today will cease to exist.69 Temporary labor import has heretofore allowed Canada to reconcile the two and reproduce itself, the roots of such an attempt lying with the Chinese railroad workers of the late twentieth century (and their working-class rejection) and now, in the age of late imperialism, becoming nearly perfected through the crafting and continuous refining of temporary migrant work programs alongside an ideological shift to multiculturalism. As these programs were shaped and reshaped via their articulation with the capitalist-imperialist world system, so too do they act back on it; not only on the semiperipheral and peripheral nations whose high-skilled labor they poach and low-skilled labor they consume and throw away, but also on the core nations that, competing with Canada for global talent, find in its temporary migrant programs a structure worth emulating. Just as the Canadian settler-colonial model of reserves and passes for Indigenous populations inspired South Africa and Israel, Canada’s labor-import programs have emerged as a global prototype for labor migration.70

Ideologically, however, even with the large façade of multiculturalism, the perpetual oppression and neglect of migrant workers, and the reality of whose interests the temporary work programs actually serve, cannot remain hidden. Despite their continued scapegoating and ignored abuse, today’s temporary migrant laborers remain “crucial” for Canadian supply chains, if only when access to their labor power is threatened completely, as it was for Canada’s agrifood industry during the 2020 COVID-affected growing season; so crucial, in fact, that they would get the green light to cross a border that was closed to all international travelers due to the COVID pandemic.71 The government found this necessary to “strengthen Canada’s food security and provide other vital services,” for the then upcoming growing season of fruits and vegetables in Canada was at significant risk if the usual supply of migrant farm workers could not enter the country.72 A year later, the results are as follows: in close working and living conditions, migrant farm workers in Ontario alone contracted COVID at ten times the provincial rate (more than 1,780 cases and 3 deaths) and, because not as many migrant workers risked the trip in 2020, those in attendance were made to work harder, reportedly resulting in up to seventeen-hour days and seven-day workweeks.73

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture sees a different picture: sure, the catastrophe was averted, but the flow of migrant labor was down about 20 to 30 percent year over year, and even a full cohort of migrant labor will not be enough to fulfill the agrifood industry’s ambitions in 2021. Further, there is a new problem. The federal government requires all migrant workers to pay for a mandatory COVID test within the seventy-two hours preceding their flight to Canada, and that cost would prevent many from making the yearly trip. The industry, Canadian Federation of Agriculture vice president Keith Currie said, would like to see government-covered tests be administered once the workers get off the plane; after all, testing is a minimal cost compared to the profit of the harvest, and the agricultural sector had already reported losses of $2.9 billion in 2019 due to unfilled vacancies.74 It is telling that government lobbying from the sector only seeks to ensure that labor be made available; status, worker rights, and safe work conditions during a pandemic are steps too far.

This brief slice of 2020 for agricultural migrant workers is but a tiny sliver of the exploitation that migrant workers in Canada have experienced, and an atom of the superexploitation that the Global South proletariat have experienced as a whole as a result of global capitalism. This superexploitation is built on the back of an imperialist world system and, additionally in the Canadian case, a settler colonialist clearing of people and land, both of which require the support of a domestic constituency pacified by the relative privilege afforded to it as part of the Canadian nation. False struggle, then, is the (true) statement that Canadian workers would be paid better if the TFWP did not exist, whereas an internationalist understands that (im)migrant workers are part of the local worker’s struggle—and, in fact, all workers would be paid better if immigrant workers were paid better—and it is part of the greater struggle of all the oppressed nations, internal and external, against the political economic reproduction of their superexploitation.75 There is no challenge to the reproduction of xeno-racist national outcomes without a challenge to capitalism itself.76


  1. Justin Trudeau, “How to Fix the Broken Temporary Foreign Worker Program,” Toronto Star, May 6, 2014.
  2. Temporary Foreign Worker Program Being Used to Drive Down Wages: Harper Government Interfering in Labour Market by Taking Sides with Anti-Union Employers,” Alberta Federation of Labour, October 20, 2011; “Temporary Foreign Worker Program Misuse Sanctioned by Harper Government, Union Says,” CBC News, August 15, 2014; Karl Marx, “K. Marx to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt,” April 9, 1870, available at marxists.org.
  3. Dominique Gross, “Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada: Are They Really Filling Labour Shortages?,” CD Howe Institute, April 24, 2014; “B.C. Mine’s Temporary Foreign Workers Case in Federal Court,” CBC News, April 9, 2013; Jeremy Nuttall, “Unions Threaten to Pull Billions out of RBC,” Toronto Sun, April 18, 2013; “Oil Sands Workers Complain They Were Laid Off and Replaced by Foreigners Making Half the Wage,” Financial Post, February 7, 2014; Kathy Tomlinson, “McDonald’s Accused of Favouring Foreign Workers,” CBC News, April 14, 2014; Anna Mehler Paperny and Jacques Bourbeau, “Who Hires Temporary Foreign Workers? You’d Be Surprised,” Global News, April 25, 2014.
  4. Overhauling the Temporary Foreign Worker Program,” Employment and Social Development Canada, June 20, 2014.
  5. Lee-Anne Goodman, “Trudeau: Temporary Foreign Worker Program ‘Anti-Alberta,’” CTV News, June 26, 2014.
  6. Liberals Unveil New Plan for Immigration Focused on Family Reunification, Middle Class Growth,” Liberal Party of Canada, September 25, 2015; Elizabeth McSheffery, “Migrant Workers Call on Trudeau to Reform Temporary Foreign Worker Program,” National Observer, March 10, 2016.
  7. Liberals Scrap ‘4-in, 4-out’ Rule for Temporary Foreign Workers,” CBC News, December 13, 2016.
  8. Activity Stream – Permanent Residents–Monthly IRCC Updates–Records,” Government of Canada, accessed April 1, 2021.
  9. Notable examples include: Thomas Walkom, “Trudeau Liberals Tiptoe into Temporary Foreign Workers Minefield: Walkom,” Toronto Star, August 24, 2016; “Report 5—Temporary Foreign Worker Program—Employment and Social Development Canada,” Office of the Auditor General Canada, May 5, 2017; Brian Cochrane and Manuel Alvarnaz, “Opinion: HD Mining Allowed Temporary Foreign Workers while Canadian Miners Are Unemployed,” Vancouver Sun, February 19, 2018.
  10. Indeed, the struggle of migrant workers and their advocates has been ongoing for decades. Migrant worker advocacy organizations such as Justicia for Migrant Workers and the Migrant Workers Centre British Columbia (previously the West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association) have become vehicles for this struggle, while earlier organizing efforts, such as those of South Asian migrant farmworkers in the 1970s and ’80s, preceded the formation of the Canadian Farmworkers Union (Adriana P. Ramirez and Jennifer J Chun: “Struggling Against History: Migrant Farmworker Organizing in British Columbia,” in Unfree Labour? Struggles of Migrant and Immigrant Workers in Canada, ed. Aziz Choudry and Adrian A. Smith [Oakland: PM, 2016], 87–104).
  11. Joe Friesen, “Canada to Open the Door Wider to ‘Higher Calibre’ Immigrants,” Globe and Mail, October 31, 2014.
  12. The temporary and permanent recruitment of international students is a central policy as Canada competes to increase its share of such global talent with other Global North countries and, increasingly, China. See Building on Success: International Education Strategy (2019–2024) (Ottawa: Government of Canada, 2019).
  13. All Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada statistics, if ending in a 5 or a 0, have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 to limit the chances of identifying the individuals who make up these statistics. These charts, therefore, should be considered as estimates rather than exact.
  14. The Migrant Rights Network estimates the number of undocumented people in Canada at about 500,000. See “Migrant Rights and Health Experts call for Safe and Dignified Access without Fear to COVID19 Vaccines for Migrant and Undocumented Residents,” Migrant Rights Network, February 24, 2021.
  15. This includes the lack of historical transition data on post-graduation work permits. Statistics Canada notes that, of a population of 1,432,000 international students who received their first study permit between 1990 and 2014, about 270,000 had transitioned to permanent residence by 2014. The post-graduation work permits, however, really only became a feasible pathway to permanent residence after its 2008 reform, even then reportedly having an unsatisfactory utilization rate. Despite the lack of statistics, it is likely that the number of post-graduation work permit holders who transitioned between 2007 and 2014, while most definitely growing in number over those years, was of a relatively minimal amount compared to its post-2015 surge. See Yuqian Lu and Feng Hou, “International Students Who Become Permanent Residents in Canada,” Statistics Canada, December 10, 2015; “From Permits to Permanency: Supporting the International Student in Status Transition,” Canadian Bureau for International Education, July, 2016.
  16. Elena Prokopenko and Feng Hou, “How Temporary Were Canada’s Temporary Workers?,” Statistics Canada, January 29, 2018; Yuqian Lu and Feng Hou, “Temporary Foreign Workers in the Canadian Labour Force: Open Versus Employer-specific Work Permits,” Statistics Canada, November 18, 2019.
  17. Zak Cope, Divided World, Divided Class (Montreal: Kersplebedeb, 2015), 229.
  18. Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 3 (London: Penguin, 1981), 957.
  19. Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (Chicago: International Library Publishing, 1904), 11–12.
  20. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology (New York: Prometheus, 1998), 67.
  21. Frederick Engels, Anti-Duhring: Herr Eugen Duhring’s Revolution in Science (New York: International Publishers, 1939), 105.
  22. Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1 (London: Penguin, 1976), 786.
  23. Marx, “K. Marx to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt.”
  24. David L. Wilson, “Marx on Immigration: Workers, Wages, and Legal Status,” Monthly Review 68, no. 9 (February 2017): 20–28.
  25. Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998).
  26. Kelley and Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic.
  27. Vladimir I. Lenin, “Capitalism and Workers’ Immigration,” Za Pravdu, October 19, 1913, available at marxists.org.
  28. Vladimir I. Lenin, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” in Lenin Selected Works, vol. 1 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1963), 667–776.
  29. For example, Engels wrote to Marx in 1858 of an English proletariat “becoming more and more bourgeoisie.” Frederick Engels, “Engels to Marx,” in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 40 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 2010), 343–45.
  30. Vladimir I. Lenin, “Imperialism and the Split in Socialism,” Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata, December, 1916, available at marxists.org; Anonymous, “Lessons from the Comintern: Continuities in Method and Theory, Changes in Theory and Conditions,” MIM Theory 10 (1996): 21–45.
  31. Cope, Divided World, Divided Class.
  32. Cope, Divided World, Divided Class, 65.
  33. Cope, Divided World, Divided Class, 67.
  34. While the historical emergence of a white nation in the United States has been shown in such a way, as in J. Sakai’s Settlers (Montreal: Kersplebedeb, 2014) and in Gerald Horne’s many works (including The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America [New York: New York University Press, 2014]), the historical emergence of Canada’s class-collaborationist racial contract largely remains uninterrogated.
  35. For a better historical understanding of the Indigenous nations of Canada, see, for instance, Howard Adams, Prison of Grass (Saskatoon: Fifth House, 1989).
  36. Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, The National Question (Paris: Foreign Languages Press, 2020), 21.
  37. For a historical study of Canadian policy that centers Canada’s settler-capitalist project, see Tyler A. Shipley, Canada in the World: Settler Capitalism and the Colonial Imagination (Winnipeg: Fernwood, 2020).
  38. For a rebuke of liberal Canada’s ideological incorporation of the Indigenous nations into the Canadian nation, see Glen Coulthard’s Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014).
  39. According to the International Organization for Migration’s World Migration Report: 2020, 21% of Canada’s population was foreign-born in 2019, with the growing majority of them being born in Asia. This percentage, a number that has increased from 2000’s 18%, will increase as Canada admits more and more permanent residents (410,000 being 2021’s target number, ostensibly to make up for the COVID-affected 2020 season).
  40. Aziz Choudry & Adrian A. Smith, “Introduction: Struggling against Unfree Labour”, in Aziz Choudry & Adrian A. Smith, eds. Unfree Labour? Struggles of Migrant and Immigrant Workers in Canada (Oakland: PM Press, 2016), 1-20; Harsha Walia, Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism (Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2021), 155-167.
  41. There has certainly been an increase in populism and anti-immigrant rhetoric and violence in this same era, such as can be seen by the founding of the People’s Party of Canada, the yellow-vest movement, and Islamophobic legislation and violence in Quebec etc., with the primary targets being refugees. That is not to say that migrant workers do not face extensive racism and violence, in fact their entire existence is subject to racial oppression, abuse and exploitation, but this is made invisible by neocolonial capitalism and the separation of the migrants from greater society.
  42. Zhun Xu, “The Ideology of Late Imperialism: The Return of the Politics of the Second International”, Monthly Review 72, no. 2 (March 2021): 1-19.
  43. John Bellamy Foster, Robert W. McChesney, and R. Jamil Jonna, “The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism,” Monthly Review 63, no. 6 (November 2011): 1–31.
  44. John Smith, Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2016).
  45. Marx, Capital, vol. 1, 878.
  46. See, for example, Fred Magdoff, “Twenty-First-Century Land Grabs: Accumulation by Agricultural Dispossession,” Monthly Review 65, no. 6 (November 2013): 1–18.
  47. Zhun Xu, “The Political Economy of Decollectivization in China,” Monthly Review 65, no. 1 (May 2013): 17–36; Fusheng Xie, Xiaolu Kuang, and Zhi Li, “The Reserve Army of Labor in China’s Economy, 1991–2015,” Monthly Review 70, no. 4 (September 2018): 23–34. Thus, the struggle of Indian farmers. For discussion of the would-be effects of the Farm Laws in comparison to the agricultural restructuring of Mexico, see “The Mexico Model and Lessons for India’s Agriculture,” Research Unit for Political Economy, February 6, 2021.
  48. Foster, McChesney, and Jonna, “The Global Reserve Army of Labour and the New Imperialism.”
  49. Smith, Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century, 124.
  50. Unit labor costs are chosen to reflect the productivity of Global South labor despite its low cost. See Intan Suwandi, R. Jamil Jonna, and John Bellamy Foster, “Global Commodity Chains and the New Imperialism,” Monthly Review 70, no. 10 (March 2019): 1–24.
  51. Jason Hickel, Dylan Sullivan, and Huzaifa Zoomkawala, “Plunder in the Post-Colonial Era: Quantifying Drain from the Global South Through Unequal Exchange, 1960–2018,” New Political Economy (2021): 1–18.
  52. Lenin, Lenin Selected Works–Volume 1, 742.
  53. Jenna Hennebry, “The Road Taken: Temporary Labour Migration in Canada’s Immigration System,” in International Affairs and Canadian Migration Policy, ed. Yiagadeseen Samy and Howard Duncan (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 183–204.
  54. These can include medical inadmissibility due to medical conditions that would cause excessive demands on social services, and inadmissibility on the grounds that a person would be unable to support themselves. Egregiously, migrant workers can be, and are, deported for getting injured on the job! See Lorne Waldman, Inadmissible to Canada: The Legal Barriers to Canadian Immigration(Toronto: LexisNexis, 2018).
  55. Jamie C. Y. Liew and Donald Galloway, Immigration Law (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2015); Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Statutes of Canada, c.27, section 3c, in Inadmissible to Canada, 428.
  56. These include, but are not limited to, work experience, education, language ability, region of job offer, skill level, and wage. Every applicant also needs a full-time, permanent job offer in an industry that the specific province declares is in need of workers.
  57. Prokopenko and Hou, “How Temporary Were Canada’s Temporary Workers?”
  58. Liew and Galloway, Immigration Law, 85.
  59. Chris Ramasaroop, “The Case for Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Migrant Agricultural Workers in Canada,” in Unfree Labour?, 105–22.
  60. Zak Cope, The Wealth of Some Nations: Imperialism and the Mechanics of Value Transfer (London: Pluto, 2019), 18.
  61. Intan Suwandi, Value Chains: The New Economic Imperialism (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2019); Samuel T. King, “Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism Today: The Global Divide Between Monopoly and Non-Monopoly Capital” (PhD dissertation, Victoria University, 2018).
  62. For example, “in 2018, international students in Canada contributed an estimated $21.6 billion to Canada’s GDP and supported almost 170,000 jobs for Canada’s middle class.” Building on Success: International Education Strategy (2019–2024).
  63. Ana Gonzalez-Barrera and Phillip Connor, “Around the World, More Say Immigrants Are a Strength Than a Burden,” Pew Research Center, March 14, 2019.
  64. Immigration: Half Back Current Targets, but colossal Misperceptions, Pushback Over Refugees, Cloud Debate,” Angus Reid Institute, October 7, 2019.
  65. Vanmala Subramaniam, “The Theory of Immigrants and Foreign Investors Driving Canada’s Property Market Is About to Be Tested,” Financial Post, June 23, 2020; Robert Fife and Steven Chase, “CSIS Warns China’s Operation Fox Hunt Is Targeting Canada’s Chinese Community,” Globe and Mail, November 10, 2020.
  66. Bhinder Sajan and Kendra Mangione, “Hate Crimes up 97% Overall in Vancouver Last Year, Anti-Asian Hate Crimes up 717%,” CTV News, February 18, 2021.
  67. Intan Suwandi, “Labor-Value Commodity Chains: The Hidden Abode of Global Production,” Monthly Review 71, no. 3 (July 2019): 46–69.
  68. Patrick Wolfe, “Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native”, Journal of Genocide Research 8, no. 4 (December, 2006): 387-409.
  69. For a similar question posited in the historical Japanese context, see Zachary S. Gottesman, “The Japanese Settler Unconscious: Goblin Slayer on the ‘Isekai’ Frontier,” Settler Colonial Studies 10, no. 4 (2020): 529–57.
  70. Walia, Border and Rule, 159.
  71. Marielle Hossack, press secretary of employment minister Carla Qualtrough, quoted in Nicholas Keung, “Could New COVID-19-Testing Rules Keep Some Migrant Farm Workers out of Canada?,” Toronto Star, January 12, 2021; Kate Dubinski, “Canada Lifts Restrictions on Foreign Workers, Including Migrant Farm Labourers,” CBC News, March 21, 2020.
  72. Immigration minister Marco Mendicino quoted in “Canada Provides Update on Exemptions to Travel Restrictions to Protect Canadians and Support the Economy,” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, March 20, 2020.
  73. Fay Faraday, “COVID-19’s Impact on Migrant Workers Adds Urgency to Calls for Permanent Status,” Conversation, February 24, 2021; Mark Kelley, Karen Wirsig, and Virginia Smart, “Bitter Harvest,” CBC News, November 29, 2020; Vivianne Landry et al., “The Systemized Exploitation of Temporary Migrant Agricultural Workers in Canada: Exacerbation of Health Vulnerabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Recommendations for the Future,” Journal of Migration and Health 3 (2021): 100035. Already in 2021, nine migrant agricultural workers have passed away, six while in federal quarantine.
  74. Keung, “Could New COVID-19-Testing Rules Keep Some Migrant Farm Workers out of Canada?”; “Canada’s Ag Sector Loses 2.9 Billion Due to Labour Shortages,” Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, June 25, 2019.
  75. Şahizer Samuk, “Can Integration Be Temporary? The (Dis)Integration of Temporary Migrant Workers in Canada and the UK,” in Politics of (Dis)Integration, ed. Sophie Hinger and Reinhard Schweitzer (Cham: Springer, 2020), 61–79; Sedef Arat-Koc, “Unfree Labour, Social Reproduction, and Political Community in Contemporary Capitalism,” in Unfree Labour?, 179–91.
  76. Smith, Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century, 155.