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Symposium: Facilitating Mobility, Fostering Diversity: The Challenges of Contemporary Migration Policies in a Free-Trade Context

17 February, 2015

A free one-day symposium at McGill University

When: Tuesday, 17 February, 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM, reception to follow
Where: Thomson House Ballroom, 3650 McTavish, Montreal
Registration: for organizational purposes, please RSVP to oppenheimer@mcgill.ca.

Schedule

8:30-9:00 — Welcome & Introduction

8:30-9:00— Welcome & Introduction

  • Welcome
    • Daniel Jutras, Dean, McGill University Faculty of Law
    • François Crépeau, Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, McGill University Faculty of Law
    • Thomas Cottier, Managing Director, World Trade Institute, Institute of European and International Economic Law; Professor, University of Bern (Switzerland) Faculty of Law
  • Introductory Remarks
    • Peter Leuprecht, Professor, Département des sciences juridiques, Université du Québec à Montréal; former Dean, McGill University Faculty of Law; former Special Representative of the Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia

Morning: Mobility

9:00-10:30 — Panel chair: Andrea Bjorklund, L. Yves Fortier Chair in International Arbitration and International Commercial Law, McGill University Faculty of Law

  • Trade and Migration: The role of multilateral treaties and preferential agreements
    • Thomas Cottier, Managing Director, World Trade Institute, Institute of European and International Economic Law; Professor, University of Bern (Switzerland) Faculty of Law
  • Highly-skilled migration in key FTAs and EPAs
  • Temporary low-wage migration programmes
    • Delphine Nakache, Associate Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

10:30-11:00 — Coffee Break

11:00-12:30 — Panel chair: Armand de Mestral, Jean Monnet Chair in the Law of International Economic Integration, McGill University Faculty of Law

  • The implementation of the Swiss Mass Migration Initiative: Conflict or Coherence with Swiss/EFTA FTAs?
    • Stefan Schlegel, PhD Candidate, World Trade Institute, University of Bern (Switzerland)
  • Reasonable labour market access and its decent work complement: Preliminary Reflections on a ‘Reverse Social Clause’
    • Adelle Blackett, Professor & William Dawson Scholar, McGill University Faculty of Law
  • Mapping Swiss Migration Partnerships, towards a coordinated approach building trust, maintaining dialogue and enhancing cooperation.
    • Rosa Losada, PhD Candidate, World Trade Institute, University of Bern (Switzerland)

12:30-2:00 — Catered Lunch

Afternoon: Diversity

2:00-3:30 — Panel chair: Sébastien Jodoin, Assistant Professor, McGill University Faculty of Law

  • The resistance to multiculturalism and ethnocultural diversity policies
    • Daniel Weinstock, James McGill Professor, McGill University Faculty of Law; Director, McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy
  • Assimilation or Tolerance? – How human rights can contribute to integration in times of immigration
    • Walter Kälin, Envoy of the Chairmanship, Nansen Initiative on disaster-induced cross-border displacement; Professor, University of Bern (Switzerland) Faculty of Law
  • The limits of the equality and non-discrimination strategies and institutions
    • Audrey Macklin, Chair in Human Rights Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law

3:30-4:00 — Coffee Break

4:00-5:30 — Panel chair: René Provost, Professor, McGill University Faculty of Law

  • The political disempowerment of migrants to access equality in law and in fact
    • Idil Atak, Ryerson University Department of Criminology
  • Language Rights and Obligations of Immigrants in Switzerland
    • Alberto Achermann, Co-Director, Swiss Centre for Migration Law; Professor, University of Bern (Switzerland) Faculty of Law

5:30-6:00 — Conclusions: Thomas Cottier, Managing Director, World Trade Institute, Institute of European and International Economic Law; Professor, University of Bern (Switzerland) Faculty of Law

6:00 – 7:00 — On-site reception for all attendees and participants

Mobility for employment reasons has been liberalized in the WTO/GATS, but also in free trade and economic partnership agreements, while bilateral migration agreements have so far rather been used to regulate flanking measures, like facilitating entry (visa) and the recruitment process overall, but also addressing fair treatment of workers abroad through post-admission rights, and finally, addressing voluntary return and repatriation. This first session of the seminar discusses the variety of mobility clauses in key free trade and economic partnership agreements which could be GATS-plus or GATS-extra and thus contribute to the paradigm of free movement of persons. On that basis, the seminar will add to the debate the issue of the skill divide, which queries to what extent free trade agreements exacerbate the duality between a high-wage labor market which is globally liberalized and facilitated, and a low-wage labor market which is regulated or else draws on the irregular migration of labor.

Diversity is the immediate future of all societies. Most societies are progressively recognising themselves as very diverse already. Gender diversity has been recognised thanks to over a century of feminism and has recently led certain jurisdictions to include an “other gender”. Acknowledging ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity has led to the recognition of national minorities and aboriginal peoples. Persons with disabilities have fought for a right of access to physical structures and to professions and jobs. Sexual diversity is more accepted, thanks to the work of the LGBTI communities. Ageism is also a form of discrimination which is attacked. Migration, mobility, internet connectivity and free trade are also adding layers of ethnic, linguistic, religious and social diversity to our complex societal mixes. We urgently need to further develop integration policies, practices and institutions that respond to the need to establish a common social framework, based on human rights, which represent the only common ground that can respect inclusively (although never entirely) our many “traditions”. Such policies will cover, inter alia, a number of issues: multiculturalism, anti-racism, combatting hate crime, school integration, youth employment, religious diversity, access to justice for all. All such policies, practices and institutions should be based on a common human rights framework, particularly on the equality and non-discrimination principle.

Presented by:

  • The Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, McGill University Faculty of Law
  • The World Trade Institute, University of Berne, Switzerland
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