Viviana Medina testified via video before the Tribunal on the issue of female migrant workers. Born in Mexico, Ms. Medina first traveled to Canada in 2006 as a refugee. The Canadian government denied her application for refugee status, so she returned to Mexico, but returned to Canada in 2009 through the sponsorship of her husband. She currently works with the Immigrant Workers’ Center.
Ms. Medina shared her experience as an undocumented, female migrant worker in Canada. She expressed the vulnerability she felt while working in Canada. She worked “in all jobs from the countryside, picking apples, in textiles, in cleaning, in the kitchen.” According to Canadian law, a person waiting for sponsorship may not seek a work permit which forced Ms. Medina to work “under the table.” She received less than minimum wage frequently worked extremely long hours. As an undocumented worker, she could not seek redress which her employers knew very well. “They know you have no documents. Where will you go? Where does a person go? Where do we go to complain? Who will protect us?”
In addition to discussing the challenges she faced as an undocumented worker, Ms. Median described the effect of her gender on her ability to provide for her family. “Women do no earn as much money as men in the country where we migrate. For example, here [Canada], women earn less, at these agencies at least we get paid less because we are women. ”
“So I ask that more protection be given to women, better access. We should not be judged by our status, whether we have status or not, you have to have access. It is a matter of dignity and critical for the life of any human being.”
To read to full transcript of Ms. Medina’s testimony, please click the link below. To watch her testimony, see the link to the right of the page.