Why is Labour Trafficking Increasing In Canada?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO

New research reveals most Canadians are unaware that labour trafficking is a major issue across the country. But Canadian authorities recently shut down an international labour trafficking ring operating in York region and across the GTA and rescued 64 Mexican nationals who were being exploited. Steve Paikin talks to experts about what labour trafficking entails, why this issue flies under the radar, sweeping changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, the pandemic’s impact, and policy recommendations.

With Loly Rico, Executive Director of the FCJ Refugee Centre; Julia Drydyk, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking; and Syed Hussan, Executive Director of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

The Roxham Road dilemma: What are Canada’s options in the border controversy?

Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star

[…] Loly Rico, the executive director of Toronto’s FCJ Refugee Centre, said Canada has a more fair asylum system that processes cases faster and allows claimants to work while waiting for their hearings. With Biden’s administration continuing Trump’s policies, Rico said the push for irregular migrants to Canada won’t end anytime soon.

[…] Abolishing the border agreement “is not going to open a flood gate but would distribute migrants more evenly across Canada,” said Rico, who with her late husband, Francisco Rico Martinez, fled El Salvador in 1990 under a program to grant asylum to those trapped in their own country that was spiked by the Harper government in 2012.

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‘This is our only hope’: Undocumented migrants risk arrest to make their case in Ottawa

Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star

Rose Celest always fancied the idea of visiting the picturesque Rideau Canal and seeing the gothic architecture of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, but the Canadian capital just seemed so out of reach for the Toronto woman.

In her 14 years in Canada — the last nine spent as an undocumented migrant — the former live-in caregiver’s travels have been limited to accompanying her employer’s family to their cottage in Collingwood and to their hometown, Montreal.

Celest avoids leaving her tiny apartment, except for work, to prevent any encounter with authorities — and possible deportation to her native Philippines.

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A refugee crisis looming, advocates say

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

There’s a storm coming, warns FCJ Refugee Centre executive director Loly Rico. “Our numbers have increased very highly,” Rico told The Catholic Register.

As one of a handful of organizations that serves asylum seekers in Toronto, Rico is seeing a significant slice of a staggering 61,890 asylum claims processed in Canada the first eight months of this year — already more than twice the 24,930 asylum claims processed in 2021. As COVID travel restrictions eased this spring, it wasn’t just vacationers on the move. The eight-month total of asylum claims for 2022 is 97 per cent of the total for 2019, the last full year before the pandemic and the all-time record.

At the front door, FCJ is greeting an average of 60 people a day looking for help. “Every day we see families coming,” Rico said, and those families typically need housing, English classes and legal help with their asylum claims. All are in short supply. […]

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Loly Rico, YWCA Women of Distinction Award, at ‘Our Toronto’

Our Toronto, CBC

Shannon Martin interviewed FCJ Refugee Centre Executive Director Loly Rico on CBC’s Our Toronto, at the ceremony where Loly received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the category of Refugee Rights. Watch it at minute 24:35.

COVID impact on non-status migrant workers

Maleeha Sheikh, CTV

CTV reports on the study Pandemic precarities, which is shedding light on how the pandemic has affected non-status migrants in the GTA when it comes to their economic and health conditions. The study was directed by Luin Goldring (York University) and Patricia Landolt (University of Toronto) in collaboration with Francisco Rico–Martinez and Loly Rico, from the FCJ Refugee Centre. Diana Gallego and Natasha Rollings also directed the FCJ team.

Health Coalition wins right to intervene in important refugee health care case

Canadian Health Coalition

The Canadian Health Coalition has won the right to intervene in an important case before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that could impact the ability of refugees to access Canada’s medicare system.

The CHC, the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues (CCPI) and the FCJ Refugee Centre were granted leave to intervene in the case of Nell Toussaint v. Attorney General of Canada by Justice Belobaba on January 14, 2022. Their application was opposed by the Attorney General of Canada. The coalition was represented by well-known human rights lawyer Martha Jackman, past board member who also represented the CHC and CCPI in the Chaoulli case.

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Francisco Martinez arrived as a refugee and devoted his life to helping others make a home in Canada, too

Joe Gunn, The Globe and Mail

You always knew when Francisco Rico Martinez was in the room: he was brash, outrageous and had the loudest laugh. His life was characterized by feet lovingly planted in both his native, as well as his adopted, homelands. He wore the red sweater of his favourite hometown soccer team (Salvador’s FAS) but quickly switched whenever it became time to don the colours of the Blue Jays or Raptors.

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Quebec’s Roxham Road reopens to asylum seekers after pandemic ban

CBC News

Asylum seekers hoping to cross the border at unauthorized border points, such as Quebec’s Roxham Road, will once again be allowed to enter the country to make a claim. The federal government lifted the ban on Sunday, citing the improving public health situation and the re-opening of the land border with the United States. The ban, which has been in place since late March of last year, saw would-be refugees denied at the border and returned to the United States.

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