The book is divided into six chapters. The first chapter discusses background and the framework for the analysis. Chapters Two and Three provide an assessment of the changing contours and the development of Canadian immigration policy that shifted the construction of the “ideal” or “model” citizens – “white settler society” (p. 30) – to a policy which favoured those who could contribute to Canada’s labour market regardless of their country of origin. These chapters also address the broad implications of change. Chapter Four traces multiculturalism policy from its roots in the 1970s to current incarnations of multiculturalism that increasingly emphasize the commodification of “minorities” and “minority culture.” Special attention is paid to the consequences of changing policy directions for women and people of colour. Chapter Five provides a detailed look at the development of employment equity at the federal level and in Ontario, which adopted even more comprehensive employment equity measures than the federal government. However, this chapter also shows that there has been a retreat by the state from labour market regulation and equity, whereas business is embracing diversity as a business strategy to capitalize on market share. Chapter Six revisits each of the case studies in earlier chapters by expanding some of the findings for broader debates around globalization, public policy, and diversity.
The purpose of this dissertation is to understand why, when, and how migrant care workers in Canada have engaged in political actions to resist their living and their working conditions. I do so by analyzing primary source documents at the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian women’s movement archives, conducting interviews with 103 migrant care worker activists across Canada and in various activist sites in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Geneva, Switzerland and attending and observing various events sponsored by local and national organizations in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, by mainstram international organizations like the International Labour Organization (ILO) and by grassroots international organizations like the International Migrants Alliance (IMA). By assessing the multiple scales where migrant care worker activists resist their living and working conditions, I was able to trace the interlinkages between the ‘politics of everyday resistance’, of which migrant care workers’ individual and organizational forms of micro-rebellion are a part, and the ‘politics from below’ that characterizes the Canadian migrant care workers’ ‘movement.’ In doing so, migrant care workers counter academic and popular representations depicting them as being docile and compliant. They demonstrate their capacity to contest individual micro-aggressions at home and at work, to form ‘new’ transnational family arrangements to meet their needs, to shift the discourse on migrant care work, to faciliate important changes to Canada’s policies on migrant care work, to help ensure the passage of the landmark international “Convention on Domestic Work,” and to begin discussions on alternatives to labour migration and to sending countries’ economic dependence on receiving countries, among their many activities. Although the Canadian migrant care workers’ movement has key divisions – namely surrounding activist scope, strategy and normative inclinations – organizations representing migrant care workers are united in their conviction that migrant care workers’ interests matter and merit representation.