The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (MWC), adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 1990, came into force 13 years later, on July 1st, 2003, after haven been ratified by 20 signatory countries. As was the case with women and children, the adoption of this specific Convention by the international community targeted the human rights protection of a particularly vulnerable group: non-citizens (workers and members of their families). Since coming into force in 2003, 14 other signatories have ratified the Convention (bringing the number of states that have ratified it to 34 as off 2006) and campaigns geared towards its ratification are underway in several countries.
Canada has a history based on immigration and systematic colonisation of its territory by recent arrivals, a national culture developed by waves of consecutive immigration and an economy that depends greatly on continued immigration policy. Furthermore, thousands of foreign workers are brought into Canada every year of which an increasing number are deemed not to have any “specific skills” or are “unskilled.”
Despite Canada’s official recognition of the importance of respecting human rights at different levels, and despite the fact that the Convention1 is a tool that allows the orientation and critical evaluation of its policies, Canada has still not ratified it. This report on Canada comes as a result of a UNESCO commissioned initiative to identify the obstacles to the ratification of the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. (MWC).