Logo en Global Donate now


Document Details


Print and save


Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of "Migrant Workers" in Canada

This document is a key resource




Nandita Sharma


A massive shift has taken place in Canadian immigration policy since the 1970s: the majority of migrants no longer enter as permanent residents but as temporary migrant workers. In Home Economics, Nandita Sharma shows how Canadian policies on citizenship and immigration contribute to the entrenchment of a system of apartheid where those categorized as ‘migrant workers’ live, work, pay taxes and sometimes die in Canada but are subordinated to a legal regime that renders them as perennial outsiders to nationalized Canadian society.

In calling for a ‘no borders’ policy in Canada, Sharma argues that it is the acceptance of nationalist formulations of ‘home’ informed by racialized and gendered relations that contribute to the neo-liberal restructuring of the labour market in Canada. She exposes the ideological character of Canadian border control policies which, rather than preventing people from getting in, actually work to restrict their rights once within Canada. Home Economicsis an urgent and much-needed reminder that in today's world of growing displacement and unprecedented levels of international migration, society must pay careful attention to how nationalist ideologies construct ‘homelands’ that essentially leave the vast majority of the world's migrant peoples homeless.

Number of pages


Place published



University of Toronto Press


Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers, Occupations in services - Domestic work, Sales and service occupations - general, Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations - general, Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations - general, Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing, Dancers, and Other

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups

Policymakers, Journalists, Public awareness, Researchers, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

Canada, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Other provinces, Federal, Nova Scotia, and National relevance

Spheres of activity

Economics, History, Law, Political science, and Sociology