Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
In December 2018, a Philippine born immigrant, owner of a janitorial cleaning service in Halifax, pleaded guilty to a charge of misrepresentation under provisions of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The charges related to the exploitation of twenty-eight temporary foreign workers from the Philippines who were allegedly under-paid, as a group, by at least half a million dollars. This case is remarkable for its exposure of the social mechanisms of accumulation underscoring labour migration that prevail both in the Philippines and its various labour diasporas. The paper will examine the case, most especially the defence lawyer’s claim of employer-worker “collusion”, before moving on to situate the politics of acquiescence and confrontation in this contemporary example within the longer history of Philippine political struggles and class contradictions related to the state’s machinations of labour export policy. Theoretically, the paper revisits debates on geographically stretched social reproduction and speaks to the challenges of migrant worker’s mobilizations in a transnational context of capital privileging state policies.