PRINT - Probashi Kantho - Toronto, 23/05/2020 - ARTICLE, Bengali
Image Source: Probashi Kantho website (photo: Citynews-Winnipeg)
Summary Translation: No byline - According to CBC News, people from specific socio-economic conditions or socio-economic communities in Toronto are being infected with the coronavirus to a greater extent than others. Toronto Medical Officer Eileen de Villa said. She told reporters that people in low-income areas of Toronto who are recent immigrants and people with high levels of unemployment are more likely to be affected by corona than others and have a higher rate of hospitalization. The same picture has been seen in Montreal. According to a report by CBC News, the worst affected areas are the poorer areas of Montreal. And most of the people living in these poor areas are from immigrant communities in Asia or Africa. They work mainly on the frontline and on low pay. Many of these health workers live in those poor areas. About half of Toronto's residents live in places where maintaining social distance is a really difficult task. If you need to get out of the apartment for an emergency, there is a chance that someone will come too close. And in that case, the level of risk also increases.
WEB - Noticias Montreal - Montreal, 26/05/2020 - NEWS, Spanish
Image Source: Noticias Montreal website
Summary Translation: María Gabriela Aguzzi V. - The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that many of the workers in long-term senior care homes are asylum seekers with irregular status. Therefore, many people have been advocating in recent weeks for the government to allow the asylum seekers to stay in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he is not opposed to this option, recognizing that exceptional situations require exceptional measures. Trudeau said that the federal government could find a way to regularize the status of these people. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino is already in charge of finding a way forward in accordance with what the prime minister said: "We are analyzing how we can recognize this work in order to be able to accelerate the process." Meanwhile, the Quebec government said that it expects to consider the applications of asylum seekers who work in care homes as a priority.
TV - OMNI 1 TV 8:00 PM Italian News - Toronto, 23/05/2020 - FEATURE, Italian
Summary Translation: Valeria Lorenzetti - The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the situation for asylum seekers in Canada. A lot of asylum seekers work as front-line workers in Quebec. According to the Maison d'Haiti, at least 1,000 of the 5,000 Haitian asylum seekers who crossed at Roxham Road work in seniors' long-term care homes. One Nigerian lady who crossed at Roxham Road in 2018 with her husband and three children works in a long-term care home seven days a week. She has contracted COVID-19 due to a lack of personal protective equipment. She had wanted to leave the job because they were not given proper protective equipment, but she changed her mind because of the impact that would have on the seniors. Now that she is COVID-positive, she is home without any income and her employer does not return her calls. Refugee advocates including the Maison d'Haiti have presented a petition to the federal government to give status to asylum applicants who are front-line workers. Maison d'Haiti Director General Marjorie Villefranche said you are not going to say to all those people on the front line during this terrible situation, "Thank you very much, now go back to your country." Premier Legault's CAQ was the only party in Quebec to vote against a motion to ask the federal government to give preferential treatment to front-line workers who are asylum claimants.
By Muskan Sandhu
Image Source: Philippine Canadian Inquirer
COVID-19 has been hailed as the “great equalizer” by multiple influential entities including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s team, and American popstar Madonna. This statement presents only a part of the picture as the virus in itself may not be discriminatory, but its impact is mediated by a variety of pre-existing social identity markers, such as that of race, class, and gender, that often underlie discrimination. As racism rears its ugly head in Canada in the midst of a public health crisis, ethnic media reporting makes it amply clear that the virus’s repercussions are anything but a colour-blind phenomenon crashing through a vast expanse of a socially unmarked territory.
In the context of the Vancouver Police Department’s statement that it had “seen an uptick in the number of racially-motivated crimes,” the Filipino Post, a weekly Filipino newspaper from Vancouver, pointed out that “from Canada and the U.S. to Europe and across Asia, the global coronavirus pandemic has brought with it an increase in racist attacks and microaggressions against people of Asian descent.” The Punjabi BC Round Up on Zee TV Canada reported that in response to the increase in racist hate crimes, the BC government put together a committee to act against racism.
Many Chinese media outlets in Canada denounced the role mainstream media reports may have played in fueling anti-Asian sentiment. The Global News piece on the alleged role of the United Front in exporting PPE from Canada to China was the focal point of these stories. BCbay, a Chinese newspaper from Vancouver, didn’t mince words in stating that “over the past 20 years, there have been too many mainstream articles smearing China and smearing the Chinese community in Canada.” Similarly, another Chinese newspaper from Vancouver, Van People, wrote that the “noble behaviour” of overseas Chinese people “rushing to send” PPE to China “was painted negatively by the story [in Global News], which misled and deepened the local community’s fear of Chinese Canadians, leading to racial discrimination against Chinese and Asian groups.”
This Chinese media is also replete with discussions about whether Conservative MP Derek Sloan’s remarks questioning the loyalty of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam were racist or not. The majority of Chinese outlets were quick to note that while Tam may warrant criticism, the allegations of her favouring China would not have been made if she were of a non-Chinese descent and thus were racist in nature. Chinese newspapers Sing Tao Calgary and the Dushi.ca Vancouver edition compared Sloan’s criticism of Tam with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s criticism to illustrate how one was racist and the other wasn’t. The Markham-based Iask website wrote: “Unfortunately, just like in the U.S., when a politician sees how a racist dog whistle can mobilize votes, especially votes from xenophobic groups of people, they're bound to learn from Trump and keep blowing the dog whistle. Conservative leadership candidate Derek Sloan is clearly such a politician.”
Limited Chinese news outlets, however, sympathized with Sloan. Vansky, a Chinese newspaper from Vancouver, said that: “To determine whether Sloan is actually guilty of racial discrimination, we need to understand why he brought this topic up in the first place. Is it the expression of racial superiority? Or a political-ideological attack? If there is no evidence that Sloan said this out of racial superiority, he cannot be accused of racial discrimination, at most he can only be blamed for his indifference, misjudgment, or paranoia.”
The racism brought about by the pandemic isn’t limited to just the Chinese community. The discrimination against Filipino workers at the Cargill meat plant, who contracted COVID-19, is an example of the inequality borne out of the intersection of race, class, and resident status in Canada. Philippine Canadian News, a Filipino newspaper, reported that “Many Filipino workers and residents sent a letter to the company asking that the plant be closed so that safety measures could be put in place, but no actions were taken.” This inaction eventually caused the largest coronavirus outbreak in Canada. Consequently, as reported by Philippine Canadian Inquirer, Filipino people were not allowed to enter grocery stores or banks, and worse, blamed for spreading the virus.
On Red FM 106.7 The Evening Show, a Punjabi radio show from Calgary, the host commented that the poor economic standing of the migrant workers did not allow them the freedom of choice to quit their jobs because of dangerous working conditions. A guest doctor on the show added that since “companies want to make a profit and cut costs, they don’t care about how immigrants or temporary workers live,” that is, in group housing. Another host on the show noted that, “Since the workers at the plant are temporary foreign workers, they are afraid to speak up because it may cost them their job and consequently their permanent residence.” These factors coalesced together to lead to an unfair stigmatization of the Filipino community. The virus, if anything, has laid bare the deep inequalities present in our society and remains far from being the “great equalizer.”
PRINT - Hamdard Daily - Toronto, 07/05/2020 - NEWS, p. 1, Punjabi
Image Source: Hamdard Daily website
Summary Translation: At least ten taxi drivers who operate taxis from Pearson International Airport in Toronto have lost their lives due to coronavirus infection so far. The president of the Airport Taxi Association, which has 350 taxis and 700 member drivers, Rajinder Aujla, has expressed anguish at the tragedy saying no effective measures have been taken for the safety of drivers while we know people from all over the world have been landing at the airport.
Hiring temporary foreign workers for a permanent labour demand, a look at Canada’s ‘disposable’ workforce - Caribbean
PRINT - Toronto Caribbean - Brampton, 04/05/2020 - Article, p.12, English
Image Source: Toronto Caribbean website
Summary: Janiece Campbell - Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is a volunteer advocacy group for migrant workers. They help to bring awareness to the community and the exploitive conditions that the indentured labourers work under. For nearly 20 years, the group has been addressing the systematic inequalities that these workers face, some of which have heightened amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign workers are employed typically for up to 8 months through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) to assist with significant labour shortages. In recent weeks, a community in Leamington, ON shamed migrant workers online for their lack of applying social distancing standards. This prompted the Ontario Provincial Police to upload a YouTube video in an attempt to educate workers of their responsibility to socially distance in public. Failure to follow the rules will result in tickets or fines. On your next trip to the grocery store, before you pick up those crisp apples, remember the temporary migrant workers who are being used for a permanent labour demand.
Toronto data suggests COVID-19 disproportionately impacting lower income residents and immigrants - Cantonese
TV - Fairchild TV Ontario - Toronto, 05/05/2020 - News, Cantonese
Translated Summary: No byline - The COVID-19 outbreak might be disproportionately impacting Torontonians living in low-income areas or with the highest proportion of recent immigrations, the city's medical officer of health Eileen de Villa said. In April, Toronto Public Health began analyzing race-based and socio-demographic data related to COVID-19. She said the preliminary findings suggest people in areas that have the highest proportion of lower income earners or areas that have the highest proportion of recent immigrants and high unemployment rates are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
TV - OMNI News: Punjabi Edition - Toronto, 10/04/2020 - FEATURE, 6 min, Punjabi
Translated Summary: A lot of Canadians were detained in India because of the lock-down, but a number of Canadians have returned on recent repatriation flights. However, the odyssey from booking the flight to arrival in Canada will remain in their memory for life. One of the travelers, Dr. Dilbag Rana, said there were a lot of management problems. Entry to the airport was very slow. Ri Sihota is the moderator of the Facebook group 'Bring Canadians Home from Punjab.' Her father traveled on 6 April. She said the booking process was a lot of work and she was sleeping during the day [in Canada] to sort things out in India at night. Rana said they had to deposit the money for a non-refundable booking and then didn't hear anything for a long time. They traveled to New Delhi on a chartered bus that was quite chaotic in terms of luggage storage. Gurkirat Kular, who traveled on 6 April, said they were promised social distancing but the flight was over-booked. MP Ruby Sahota said emergency flights are negotiated with each country. The rules and protocols in each country keep changing. They tried to negotiate direct flights, but this was not possible. She said everybody coming from every country is paying a fee, not just people from India. The government is not making money on this, it is the cost of the airline. Sihota said the flights from India to London and from London to Toronto or Vancouver were 100% packed, without social distancing. Kular and Rana confirmed that the flight was fully booked. Sahota said they did consider social distancing and she knows the process wasn't perfect. Sihota said the repatriation was poorly organized and not safe. They are speaking out to ensure other Canadians stuck in India will not have the same experience.
WEB - The Philippine Reporter - Toronto, 14/04/2020 - English
Summary: Irish Mae Silvestre - While some international students may have chosen to return home as international borders closed, others have little choice but to stay and contemplate their future in the midst of a pandemic. A combination of school closures and mass layoffs have left many foreign students in precarious situations both in terms of their visa status and financial situation. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), as of December 31, 2019, there were 642,480 international students in Canada. Out of those, the Canadian Bureau for International Education stated that 60 percent of international students plan to apply for permanent residence. Although international students are expected to have enough money to cover their tuition and living expenses, the reality is that many students rely on the income from the twenty hours they’re allowed to work.
RADIO - CIAO 530 AM - Toronto, 14/04/2020 - TALK SHOW, Punjabi
Summary Translation: Gary Virk - There is a panic among foreign caregivers who came to Canada 10-12 months ago. Their jobs are discontinued as many of their employers are also sitting home in the current (COVID-19) scenario and not working. Many of them are concerned about whether they can be eligible to apply for permanent residency with 12 months of work experience. Foreign caregivers are required to have 24 months of work experience in Canada to qualify for PR. Last year, the government opened a special interim pathway for caregivers under which they were eligible to qualify for PR, even with one year of work experience. However, they must apply for education credential evaluation. The credential assessment may take six months.