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Journal article

Transient servitude: migrant labour in Canada and the apartheid of citizenship

This document is a key resource




Harsha Walia


Shifts in Canada’s immigration policy, most recently linked to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) with the US and Mexico, have created an increased reliance on temporary migrant workers, who constitute a disposable workforce, driven from their own countries by the same forces of neoliberal capitalism which foster their super-exploitation in the Canadian labour market. In this article, the operation of two migrant worker programmes, the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), are considered in the context of the province of British Columbia. The various means by which migrant workers are maintained in a state of vulnerability, available as a pool of cheap labour but excluded from belonging to the nation, are discussed. The article concludes by examining examples and further possibilities of alliances across social movements in BC in order to advance the struggle for human dignity.

Journal title

Race & Class





Page numbers



SAGE publications

Place published

Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC

File Attachments


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 and Documented cases of abuse

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