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“What about migrant worker families?” protestors ask Finley





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Simcoe, Ontario -- Migrant worker families shut out of basic EI benefits have little to celebrate say critics who are planning to gather outside Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley’s office Friday afternoon. A large banner will be draped over the Simcoe office by her constituents to shame the Minister for her Christmas cuts to EI benefits for migrant workers.

What: "What about migrant worker families?" delegation to Minister Finley's office

Who: Concerned residents of Norfolk County and migrant justice activists

Where: 76 Kent St. Simcoe, Ontario

When: 12:30pm. Friday February 22nd, 2013

Visuals: Simcoe residents and migrant justice activists draping a banner over Minister Finley’s office

In December 2012, Diane Finley announced that EI benefits will be eliminated for migrant workers. This program is solely funded by workers and their employers. Migrant workers have been paying into Employment Insurance since 1966. But migrant workers only became aware that they were eligible for E.I. special benefits in 2002.

Caribbean and Mexican workers have used E.I. maternal and paternal benefits to provide much needed support for their newborn children, explained local activists.

“Norfolk County is an agricultural community, which heavily relies on the contribution of agricultural workers for its economic survival and its branded identity as Ontario’s Garden. These men and women leave their families and children for months at a time, year after year, premiums are deducted from their salaries and this is a benefit that they are entitled to” says Donnaree Douglas a resident of Simcoe, Ontario.

Tzazna Miranda Leal, a member of Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) argues that “these benefits meant families could stay healthy, and in some cases have kept children alive. We are calling on the Federal Government to restore them immediately” continues Miranda Leal.

It’s estimated that migrant workers and their families pay over $400 million into the E.I. system and are now barred from receiving any of these funds.

“This is money migrant workers and their employers paid in to the system, now Finley has decided to be a miser and steal it all away,” added migrant justice activist Amar Bathia. “Norfolk County’s agricultural industry would not survive without migrant workers. They have been subsidizing Canada’s EI system for almost half a century. Is this how we re-pay that debt?”


Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Geographical focuses

Ontario and National relevance