ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Christmas Eve Tragedy Sheds Light on Dangers Faced by Migrant Workers

Updated on January 9, 2010

Four construction workers with precarious immigration status fell to their
deaths on Christmas Eve in one of the worst workplace disasters that
Toronto has seen in decades. The swing stage scaffolding they were working
on broke into two pieces, plummeting the four workers over 13 stories to
the concrete below at 2757 Kipling Avenue. A fifth man is in critical
condition and will need medical attention for the rest of his life.

We mourn the deaths of these workers. We are enraged that such injustice
can take place. Migrant workers take care of children, feed communities,
construct housing, clean offices, and take up many other occupations in
almost all industries but are treated like second-class workers and denied
even the most basic protections.

The workers who died were provided insufficient safety harnesses and
forced to work on a site where a cease and desist order had been issued.
Workers without full status work the most dangerous jobs in the country
and are systemically prevented from being able to assert their rights.
These workers died because Canada denied them full status.

Fifty years ago, five Italian construction workers including Pasquale
Allegrezza, Giovanni Correglio, Giovanni Fusillo, and Alessandro and Guido
Mantella, died while working in a dangerous tunnel near Yonge Street in
Toronto, remembered as the Hoggs Hallow disaster. Knowing that workers
without full status were facing flagrant workplace violations, negligent
employers and little legislative protection from occupational hazards,
workers across the city rose up, and carried out a series of actions and
strikes in a fight to organize the building trades.

Today, fifty years later, racialized communities, immigrants, migrants and
undocumented people continue to work in dangerous and sometimes murderous
conditions. Not having full status means lax enforcement of health and
safety legislation, absence of meaningful laws to protect workers, and
negligent employers and recruiters who sacrifice health and safety of
workers to gain further profit for themselves. This long-term negligence
reveals the lack of social and political will in Canada to ensure justice
and protection of all workers.

Workers without full status are often denied just compensation when they
get injured or ill due to their labour. They are prevented from access to
healthcare and translation services. They get deported because they are
considered a burden on the health care system, and their injury is named a
"breached employment contract." They are unable to access full care in
countries they are deported to. Like all injured workers, compensation by
Workplace Safety and Insurance (WSIB) is inadequate.

Four men died on Christmas Eve, but every day, countless workers are
killed or maimed on the job, while those responsible, employers,
recruiters and government officials, do not face media or public scrutiny.
In 2008, 488 workers were reported killed because of their labour in
Ontario alone. Many more deaths went unreported. Thousands more workers
were injured, many of whom have to learn to live with their injuries
permanently. How many will have to die or be injured before this
government ensures that our communities are meaningfully protected?

Government officials, recruiters and employers need to be prosecuted while
those precariously employed need to be protected at work! While we
commemorate and celebrate the lives of these workers, we also demand
justice for the workers, their families and all migrant workers across
this province. Broad and far reaching changes are needed.

Dilshod Mamurov, Aleksey Blumberg, Fayzulla, Vladimir Korostin, and all
injured and killed workers demand this.

This is the first in a series of actions, please keep checking: and for updates.


Submit a Comment
  • MercuryNewsOnline profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    There is a ring of truth to your words. Undocumented workers are people who mostly left their country to find a better life for their families and children. Most of them were forced by historial and societal injustices to leave their home countries. Many of these undocumented workers juggle two to three jobs to make ends meet due to wage and labour exploitation by recruitment agencies and unscrupulous employers in First World countries like the US and Canada.

  • lmmartin profile image


    9 years ago from Alberta and Florida

    I find it extremely distressing that a human life is valued in accordance with his place of birth -- an accident of fate. This doesn't apply only to Canada, but most other places, particularly the U.S., where antagonism to undocumented workers runs strong. Isn't it strange that in two countries stolen by invading immigrants and settled by immigrants, the descendants of those very same immigrants say to the next wave "Thou shalt not come?"


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)