Problems of Immigrant Women in the Canadian Labour Force

Anopoules, Sheila McLeod
Publisher:  Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Ottawa, Canada
Year Published:  1979  
Pages:  79pp  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX914

This report begins with the recognition that Canada has promoted immigration in the past for economic reasons.

Abstract:  This report begins with the recognition that Canada has promoted immigration in the past for economic reasons. This has been especially true for women. Ms. Anopoules purposes to analyze the immigrant woman's role and experience in the Canadian labour force. She sees this as an attempt to understand how Canada sees the immigrant woman as an answer to some economic problems.

The Immigrant woman is prominent in two areas of the Canadian labour market: garment factories and in domestic help. Both of these areas are exploitive of the immigrant woman, for they pay low wages, have weak or no unions, and demand long hours. Suggestions are made to improve conditions, such as allowing for stronger unions, including domestics under minimum labour standards legislation, and providing for a detailed worker employment contract.

Ms. Anopoules also highlights the position of the immigrant woman under the new Immigration Act of April 1978. This Act does not work for the improvement of the plight of the immigrant woman, but rather restricts her civil liberties protection. The old Act at least demanded that there be a proved act of subversion before deportation could take place; under the new Act, the existence of suspicion of such activity may be the basis for deportation. This only encourages those who hire immigrant women to hold this sword over their heads in a more explicit manner than was possible under the old Act.

One suggestion made at the conclusion of the report is that more money should be allowed for the "funding of community action groups which have the expertise to help immigrant women with various kinds of labour problems".

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