Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has always vehemently denied bringing cheap foreign labour into Canada. Employers had to pay foreign temporary workers “the prevailing wage,” he pointed out.
That indeed is what the rules said – until Wednesday, when Human Resources Minister Diane Finley quietly changed them. Employers will now be allowed to pay foreign temp workers 15 per cent less than the average wage.
“We are taking action to ensure that the temporary foreign worker program support our economic recovery and effectively responds to local labour market demands,” she said at a manufacturing plant in Nisku, Alta.
Kenney chimed in from Ottawa. “Going forward our government will consider additional measures to strengthen and improve the program,” he promised.
Business leaders, eager to recruit low-cost workers abroad, were delighted. Immigrant support groups, already fighting to protect temporary foreign workers from exploitation, were heartsick. And labour leaders warned that the wage cut would bring down the pay scale for all workers and make it harder for Canadians to compete for jobs in their own country.
Under the new rules, foreign temporary workers will still covered by provincial employment standards, meaning they must be paid the minimum wage. But in booming Alberta, the minimum wage ($9.40) is a far cry from the average wage ($26.03).
Despite her 15-per-cent wage cut, Finley expects the influx of foreign temporary to swell. She’s undoubtedly right. Employers will always be ready to find workers overseas who are eager to come to Canada and willing to work long hours for low pay. And under the Conservatives, boosting economic growth will always eclipse protecting workers’ rights.
Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper assumed power in 2006, the number of foreign temporary workers admitted into Canada has grown by 40 per cent. The temporary worker stream is now larger than the stream of permanent workers intending to set down roots and become citizens.
Foreign temp workers man oil rigs, serve coffee at Tim Hortons, harvest crops and work in fish processing plants.
When Canada introduced its temporary foreign worker program in 2002, the governing Liberals vowed never to adopt the European model route in which “guest workers” are paid less than nationals and treated as second-class residents.
But under Harper, the country is now moving in that direction.
“It has rained for five days
the world is
a round puddle
of sunless water
where small islands
are only beginning
a young boy
in my garden
is bailing out water
from his flower patch
when I ask him why
he tells me
young seeds that have not seen sun
and drown easily.”—“Coping,” by Audre Lorde (via jiminwestwood)
This interactive anthology includes work by women of color in UBUNTU (a women of color/survivor led coalition committed to creating a world free from sexual violence and full of sustaining transformative love), as well as a reading list and activities designed to help you rename yourself.
“As a queer Black feminist, the adventure of loving myself and the transformative journey of loving other Black women are intricately tied together. so I identify as queer, not only because my romantic love exceeds the bounds and norms of heterosexuality, but also specifically because I center all forms of my love on Black women and radiate to the rest of the world from there. this is a queer thing in our society because loving Black women is not the norm in our contemporary society. it is radical for us to love ourselves and each other as Black women, and it challenges the norms of our culture. so my queerness lives in the way I love my mother, my sisters, my community AND my romantic partner.”—Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Wikipedia defines self-care as, “personal health maintenance…Self care includes all health decisions people (as individuals or consumers) make for themselves and their families to get and stay physically and mentally fit.”
The way that I incorporate self-care into my own life is geared more towards caring for my mental health, as it seems to be for most of my followers. Oftentimes, however, taking care of myself physically can lead to reduced stress and an improved mental state.
When I start to become very depressed or anxious, I know it’s time to engage in my self-care routine. This is, firstly, to prevent it from getting worse, and then to give myself the strength to move past those feelings / that state of mind.
In my own words, I would say self-care is the personal work I do away from therapists and institutions to preserve and care for my mental state. Self-care, for me, also ties into self-love. Believing that self-care is productive and important has led me to take better care of myself, and that has increased my self-esteem and self-worth.
Examples of the self-care I regularly partake in :
embroidery (just started this with a best friend!)
taking a walk
eating food that makes my body feel good (that sometimes means fruit and vegetables and it sometimes means taco bell — just depends on how I’m feeling!)
music — listening to it, making it
tumblr — seriously! i follow so many self-love and self-care oriented blogs, and reading them energizes me and reminds me that my state of being is important and worthy of time and care
watching a comforting / funny / witty movie
dressing up in clothing and makeup that makes me feel good
cutting myself a break — reminding myself that I am just as important as work, school, and friends, and that I deserve to invest time in myself
calling a friend who understands self-care and depression and enlisting their help
Those are just a few!
Here are some additional resources discussing what self-care is tips for incorporating it into your routine :