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Recession bad here, but worse elsewhere




Evelyn Myrie y Evelyn Myrie


The impact of the global economic downturn has had far-reaching effects on individuals and families here in our community and around the globe


The Hamilton Spectator

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The impact of the global economic downturn has had far-reaching effects on individuals and families here in our community and around the globe.

As the global recession tightens its grip, and the unemployment rate rises to unacceptably high levels, workers are becoming increasingly worried and fearful about the future. These fears are not unfounded. Statistics Canada reports that unemployment remained at 8 per cent in April, the highest level in seven years. And workers in Ontario have reasons to become fearful as they see the elimination of jobs due to plant closings and market slumps.

Since October, Ontario has lost 171,000 jobs. The economic crises at manufacturing giants such as Chrysler and General Motors do not offer any comfort about the future.

The fact that the recession is being felt by less fortunate folks around the world is also little comfort to the many in our community who have lost their jobs, and risk losing their homes, who line up at food banks to get food for their families and who receive a mere pittance from Employment Insurance to make ends meets.

But the stark reality is that many people here are faring markedly better than the millions of the world's population who are bearing the cruel brunt of the financial greed that led to the collapse of the financial markets.

Amnesty International's report on how the economic crisis is affecting human rights around the world is reason to reflect on others in less wealthy places.

It was no surprise when Amnesty International director Irene Khan said last week, as she released the 2009 report on the State of the World's Human Rights: "We are sitting on a powder keg of inequality, injustice and security, and it is about to explode."

The report acknowledges that suffering by the world's poor and marginalized pre-dates the global recession, but the growing crisis has fuelled even greater repression around the globe. It's a sobering report that pulls no punches.

In Africa, India and Latin America the economic impact of the financial crisis in the west has made life almost unbearable for the poor, the majority of whom are women and children. Human rights abuses have been heightened by the economic crisis.

Earlier this year, a UN official said the global economic crisis threatens to swell the ranks of victims of human trafficking, the 21st century's hidden version of slavery. Women and children are increasingly sexually exploited.

The economic crisis has put people in more vulnerable positions than they previously faced, locally and globally.

Here in our own back yard, there is growth in the number of migrant workers, or those in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program entering Canada's workforce annually as live-in-caregivers, agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, construction workers, and service and hospitality workers. That is troubling as these workers have fewer rights than Canadians or landed immigrant workers. These vulnerable workers are often exploited and marginalized in the workplace.

While it's a natural reaction for people to deal with their own situation, it is,and should be, difficult to ignore the plight of others.

Amnesty International's recent report provides ample information on abuses of the rights of others around us. Despite our personal economic struggles, we ought not to give in to complacency.

Archivos adjuntos


Los sectores económicos

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, y Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing

Tipos de contenido

Análisis de políticas

Los grupos destinatarios

Conciencia Pública

Relevancia geográfica

Canada, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Colombia Británica, Otras provincias, Federal, Nueva Escocia, y National relevance