Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
No Cover Image

Producing and Negotiating Non-Citizenship: Precarious Legal Status in Canada

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 400
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Producing and Negotiating Non-Citizenship
    Book Description:

    This timely volume contributes to conceptualizing multiple forms of precarious status non-citizenship as connected through policy and the practices of migrants and the institutional actors they encounter.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6386-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Contributors
    (pp. xvii-2)
  7. 1 The Conditionality of Legal Status and Rights: Conceptualizing Precarious Non-citizenship in Canada
    (pp. 3-28)

    State-defined legal status categories establish configurations of rights for people occupying these categories; this holds for political rights as well as civil, employment, and social rights. Access to public services is also based on legal status. Thus, status and rights have far-reaching effects on people’s lives. Citizenship status does not necessarily correspond to citizenship practice, nor does citizenship resolve inequality – many citizens live with discrimination and poverty. However, non-citizenship, by definition, is associated with limits in terms of voice, membership, and rights in a political community, and with social exclusion and vulnerability. Despite the development of international human rights protocols,...

  8. Part One: Producing Precarious Non-citizenship and Illegality

    • 2 The Museum of Illegal Immigration: Historical Perspectives on the Production of Non-citizens and Challenges to Immigration Controls
      (pp. 31-54)

      The (re)emergence of radical migrant rights campaigns in Canada and transnationally since the 1990s has challenged the existing frameworks of im/migrant and refugee rights and how the space of and for politics is conceived (Balibar, 2004). These campaigns often make a number of important intermediate demands for reform (“papers for all”/“stop the deportations”), but also challenge borders, immigration controls, and associated state practices and categories – perhaps most notably that of “illegal immigrant.” Recently, international literature has tried to develop a “no borders” theoretical framework in conjunction with ongoing organizing by migrant collectives and their allies (Anderson, Sharma, & Wright 2009;...

    • 3 The Shifting Landscape of Contemporary Canadian Immigration Policy: The Rise of Temporary Migration and Employer-Driven Immigration
      (pp. 55-70)

      One decade ago, taking a long view of Canadian immigration policy, policy analyst Ravi Pendakur underlined that “permanent migration has constituted the cornerstone of Canadian immigration policy since Confederation” (2000, p. 3). Not so long afterward, political economist Nandita Sharma argued that with the introduction of the Non-Immigrant Employment Authorization Program (NIEAP) in 1973, the Canadian state shifted immigration policy “away from a policy of permanent immigrant settlement towards an increasing reliance on temporary migrant workers” (2006, p. 20). Using the latest official statistical data available, this chapter maps the shift from permanent to temporary migration in Canada that began...

    • 4 The Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Regulations, Practices, and Protection Gaps
      (pp. 71-96)

      More people are entering Canada on a temporary basis, to the point that in 2008 Canada admitted more temporary than permanent residents (Goldring & Landolt, in this volume). In 2010, 45 per cent more international students entered the country than in 2004 (partly because Canada’s post-secondary educational institutions are making a concerted effort to attract them), but the highest increase was in the number of temporary migrant workers¹ (TMWs). Between 2002 and 2010, the number of TMWs present in Canada (on 1 December) rose by 179 per cent, from 101,259 to 283,096, while total entries of these workers (i.e., the...

  9. Part Two: Precarious Status and Everyday Lives

    • 5 “This Is My Life”: Youth Negotiating Legality and Belonging in Toronto
      (pp. 99-117)

      The migration process reverberates through everyday spaces and relationships. Precarious legal status in particular must be negotiated in relation to people and contexts in a range of interactions from health clinics, to recreation programs, to schools. I examine the everyday experiences of six youth living with precarious status in Toronto, focusing on spaces of school and family.¹ Their narratives reveal that belonging is multidimensional and negotiated. It is negotiated in the encounter with moments of uncertainty or tension when their identities might be revealed or must be reconciled with their contested presence. For these youth, age and immigration trajectory – including...

    • 6 Constructing Coping Strategies: Migrants Seeking Stability in Social Networks
      (pp. 118-136)

      It is not easy to live an undocumented life. Just ask Renato the construction worker or Carolina the house cleaner. These are two Brazilians living in Toronto who have faced challenges because of their precarious status, yet remain in Canada because they are seeking better lives and better opportunities, whether for themselves or for their children. Living a precarious life means living every day with instability; it means not knowing if the life one is trying to build will come to an abrupt end. For some, their vulnerability becomes evident when state regulations influence their lives, usually constricting their choices...

    • 7 The Cost of Invisibility: The Psychosocial Impact of Falling Out of Status
      (pp. 137-153)

      Little is known about the effects of precarious status on psychosocial health (Simich et al., 2007) and family well-being (Bernhard et al., 2007). In this chapter I clarify how the production of precariousness and illegality via the refugee determination system affects the psychosocial health of unsuccessful refugee claimants and their families. Drawing on the social-determinants-of-health approach, I argue that immigration legal status should be considered a key determinant of health. After introducing my research and reviewing the relationship between legal status and health, I discuss the particular pathway that leads refugee claimants to fall out of status, noting how this...

    • 8 The Social Production of Non-citizenship: The Consequences of Intersecting Trajectories of Precarious Legal Status and Precarious Work
      (pp. 154-174)

      The global age of migration has transformed the boundaries between citizenship and non-citizenship and how legal status, migratory movements, and employment relations intersect. Four interrelated trends are involved in this transformation: the absolute growth in the global population of irregular and undocumented migrant workers (Bacon, 2008; Dauvergne, 2008); the increasingly complex national and international regulatory framework that sometimes regularizes and at other times irregularizes migrant workers (Calavita, 1998; Goldring & Landolt, 2011); the proliferation of temporary migrant worker programs worldwide and their notable expansion into countries such as Canada and Australia with a decades-long focus on meeting labour market needs...

    • 9 Pathways to Precarity: Structural Vulnerabilities and Lived Consequences for Migrant Farmworkers in Canada
      (pp. 175-194)

      The expanding reliance on migrant labour in Canadian agriculture is part of a larger international trend in labour relations, which increasingly enables employers to evade or violate labour standards to maximize profit amid globalized competition. At the same time, state structures that are in place to monitor and enforce workers’ protections are further eroded in response to pressures towards deregulation (Bernhardt, Boushey, Dresser, & Tilly, 2008). Agriculture is among the most dangerous industries in Canada, yet farmworkers in general, and migrant farmworkers (hereafter MFWs) in particular, have historically been less protected than workers in other industries (Tucker, 2006). This is...

    • 10 Precarious Immigration Status and Precarious Housing Pathways: Refugee Claimant Homelessness in Toronto and Vancouver
      (pp. 195-218)

      Approximately 2.5 million homeless people currently live in Canada (Wellesley Institute, 2010). The vast majority (2.2 million) are “hidden,” meaning they are invisible for enumeration because they are “relatively homeless”: living in illegal, temporary, or inappropriate accommodation that is not meant for habitation or is not conducive to good health – doubled up in overcrowded dwellings, couch surfing, and at high risk of “absolute homelessness.” Research has shown that new immigrants are over-represented among the hidden homeless (Enns, 2005; Fiedler et al., 2006) and are at high risk of using shelters or sleeping rough (City of Toronto, 1999). Poverty and a...

  10. Part Three: Institutional Negotiations of Status and Rights

    • 11 Negotiating the Boundaries of Membership: Health Care Providers, Access to Social Goods, and Immigration Status
      (pp. 221-237)

      On 2 October 2009 a seven-year-old refugee claimant suffering from a head injury was turned away from a Toronto area emergency room. While refugee claimants are provided health coverage under the Interim Federal Health system, at the time of the incident the boy’s health benefit card had expired and he was awaiting its renewal. Unsure of her son’s eligibility for care, the boy’s mother called the health information line, Telehealth Ontario, where she was assured that her son would receive care. At the hospital registration desk, she was asked to pay a fee before her son was admitted. She explained...

    • 12 “People’s Priorities Change When Their Status Changes”: Negotiating the Conditionality of Social Rights in Service Delivery to Migrant Women
      (pp. 238-257)

      Canada welcomes migrants for economic, family, and humanitarian reasons, but it is increasingly conferring temporary legal status on migrants, mitigating their full inclusion into society (see Valiani, this volume), a situation that Goldring, Berinstein, and Bernhard (2009) refer to as “precarious migratory status.” Families with mixed or unclear statuses – including citizen children – may face deep social exclusion, which contributes to negative social and health outcomes (Bernhard et al., 2007; Fix & Laglagaron, 2002).

      Drawing upon conceptualizations of citizenship as a “negotiated relationship” (Stasiulis & Bakan, 2005), this chapter examines how social service providers are involved in determining social membership and...

    • 13 Getting to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” at the Toronto District School Board: Mapping the Competing Discourses of Rights and Membership
      (pp. 258-273)

      In 2007, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) unanimously passed the “Students Without Legal Immigration Status Policy” (TDSB, 2007). This policy, also known as a “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, stipulated that the board would “protect the rights of children and their families by not asking for, reporting or sharing information about any student’s or a student’s family’s immigration status” (TDSB, 2007, p. 2). DADT came as a result of community pressure against the non-compliance of Ontario school districts with Section 49.1 of the Ontario Education Act, which already delineated the right of students to attend schools regardless of...

    • 14 No One Is Illegal Movements and Anticolonial Struggles from within the Nation-State
      (pp. 274-290)

      Borders have been used as a colonial tool in North America to divide, to exclude, and to assert nation-state authority over the free movement of people. The Canada–United States border has divided indigenous territories like Awkwesasne in the east and the Coast Salish Territories in the west, just as the United States–Mexico border has divided numerous indigenous territories in the south. The border has been used to create a class of precarious migrant labour, from the Chinese workers who constructed the railroads in the nineteenth century to the Mexican and Caribbean farmworkers who pick fruit and tobacco today....

    • 15 From Access to Empowerment: The Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment and Its Work with People Living with HIV-AIDS and Precarious Status
      (pp. 291-304)
      ALAN LI

      Immigrants, refugees, and those who lack full legal status in Canada with HIV/AIDS (IRN-PHAs) face barriers in accessing health, legal, and support services. In addition to settlement stress and the marginalization that results from systemic and institutionalized racism, IRN-PHAs also face the stigma of having HIV/AIDS (Lawson et al., 2006). The fear of rejection by their own ethno-racial community compounds their lack of support and heightens their social exclusion (Li et al., 2008). This has a profound impact on their physical health and mental well-being. Their precarious status in Canada and the fear of deportation drive them underground, effectively preventing...

    • 16 Confidentiality and “Risky” Research: Negotiating Competing Notions of Risk in a Canadian University Context
      (pp. 305-316)

      Researchers face many institutional obstacles and methodological challenges when conducting research on vulnerable populations such as precarious status migrants. In our negotiations with the ethics review board at our institution, we were faced with a system of ethical governance adapted from medical models, which was inappropriate for research with people whose legal status was precarious. This chapter discusses how the various interpretations of risk and confidentiality among different stakeholders – university ethics review boards, academic researchers, and research participants – led us to make ethical, legal, and methodological decisions that shaped the outcomes of the research. Following a brief review of the...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 317-358)
  12. Index
    (pp. 359-376)