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Report/Press release

Resist the “Divide and Rule” tactics against the working class in Canada




Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians


It is important to include the temporary foreign workers in the social movement and not to divide the working class.

Series title

National Statement

Number of pages


Responsible institution

Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians

Full text

The recent report in CBC’s news segment Go Public about temporary foreign workers (TFW) in Canada highlights, once again, the vulnerability of the working class in Canada against the relentless offensive of capital for profit and accumulation. The Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians (CPFC) stands firm in its position that temporary foreign workers in Canada have become the latest fodder in this continuing clash between labour and capital in the current structural crisis of global capitalism. The pitting of one segment of the working class (TFW) against another (Canadian workers), with Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney and the Conservative government seemingly showing concern, is a classic case of ”divide and rule” and diversion of real issues facing the working class.

Supporting the demand of Canada’s capitalist class for temporary, disposable, and hard-to-unionize working class, the Federal government responded with the rapid expansion of the TFWP. An employer-driven program, the TFWP functions to satisfy the need for workers in selected jobs that the “labour market opinion” deems as jobs where there is a lack or absence of available workers or, in short, “jobs that no other Canadians would take.” As the expansion of TFWP intensifies, temporary foreign workers are now used by employers, such as McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, and other low-wage chains of business enterprise, to further amass profits. As such, temporary foreign workers, which now represent the transnational working class, have become today’s version of Canada’s “reserve army of labour” – cheap, temporary, vulnerable, and easily disposable because they are outside the purview of the nation-state, constantly in a state of impermanence and bereft of political and civil rights.

Notwithstanding tough words from Minister Kenney against supposedly abuses to the TFWP, this program will surely continue to be around for a long time. It might even be refined further for easy accessibility and use for Canadian capital. The reserve army of labour that it brings into Canada helps stabilize wages for capital “discipline” and silence the working class in Canada, to give Canadian capital a competitive edge in its global contention with the other capitalist countries for markets, investments and further accumulation. The TFWP, therefore, is functional to the Canadian capitalist class and its dominant political economy, and further exposes the role of the Canadian state not as a neutral power that helps mediate political, economic and social conflicts in society, but as a power that works for the common interest of one class over another class.

Thus, the working class in Canada must continue to deepen its understanding and critique of issues surrounding its interests. Foreign temporary workers and the transnational working class must be directly incorporated into the struggle for socialism in Canada and not be treated as mere adjuncts whose rights and interests are apart from the Canadian working class. As the Canadian state continues to stand and serve as the enabler of Canadian capital against the working class in Canada, the temporary foreign workers and transnational working class in Canada must be transformed into a direct army of the working class for social liberation.

Defend the workers right to work and employment!
Resist the “divide and rule” attempts against the working class!
Forward the struggle to help build the socialist movement in Canada!



Temporary Foreign Workers, Union, Federal government, working class

Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Policy analysis and Support initiatives

Geographical focuses

Federal and National relevance