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BC Library Conference 2020

T05 - Library Services for “Invisibles and Disposables”.

Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 9:00 AM–10:15 AM EDT
Meeting Room #5
Session Description

“Invisibles and Disposables” are words oftentimes used to describe migrant workers, non-status (undocumented) workers, temporary foreign workers (TFWs) and domestic workers. The “temporary” nature of their work and their being foreign, have created a second class of workers, or guest workers, with little or no rights.

What is the role of public libraries in providing equal opportunities, access and services to precarious and migrant workers? How can libraries engage with migrant grassroots organizations, service providers, migrant advocates etc.? Join in this conversation with library workers, migrant workers and organizers when they discuss experiences, challenges and recommendations on this very timely topic.


Curated by Rose Jurkic, CUPE BC

Rose Jurkic is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Rutland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. For the past 4 years she has been responsible for the planning and delivery of the Summer Reading Club in her branch. She is currently the Regional Vice President- Okanagan for CUPE BC, Chair of the CUPE BC Library Committee and has been the President of CUPE 1123 Okanagan Regional Library Workers for over 15 years. Prior to moving to the Okanagan Rose worked for the Multicultural Centre focussing on Immigrant and Refugee settlement.

Angela Contreras

Angela Contreras is an adult education practitioner and researcher. She uses system thinking approaches to understanding how public legal programs and services for people with precarious employment and immigration status are developed, delivered, and evaluated.

She has worked with the Canadian Centre for International Justice, the Sex Workers’ Advocacy Network, MOSAIC, West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association, and the Canadian Council for Refugees, among other. Currently, when she is not working as an independent policy analyst and advisor, she develops legal literacy resources with R.E.D. Legal, a volunteer collective of researchers, educators and advocates for migrant workers.

Christopher Sorio, Migrante BC

Christopher Sorio is Vice Chair of Migrante BC, the grassroots organization of Filipino migrants and immigrants in BC. He is the Founding member of the Filipino Workers Network of BC, the Secretary General of Migrante Canada, and the Chair of Bayan Canada, an alliance of Filipino organizations across Canada. He's also the Co-Chair of the BC Employment Standards Coalition. Sorio was a student and community organizer during the Marcos dictatorship. He continued his migrants’ organizing and advocacy work in Toronto, Jasper, Alberta and now Vancouver. Christopher works as an ink technician in a local manufacturing company when not busy organizing!

Byron Cruz

Byron Cruz fled persecution for resisting inequity and State violence in Guatemala and came to Canada 26 years ago. Currently he is the organizer and outreach coordinator for the BC Federation of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Centre’s Migrant Worker Program in Vancouver. He is an active member of the Sanctuary Health Collective and of the Migrant Rights Network, a grassroots collective advocating universal access to healthcare, education, and social services for all. His passion to build a society rooted in equity, human rights, dignified working conditions, and high quality of life is behind his grassroots organizing.

Tania Thomas, Surrey Libraries

Tania Thomas is a Community Outreach Librarian for Surrey Libraries. Tania works with newcomer families with a focus on recently arrived newcomers and refugees. She collaborates with the school district, settlement agencies and other community organizations to deliver family literacy outreach services to newcomer families in Surrey. Behind the scenes Tania also works to align library resources with newcomer community needs and to build the capacity of the library’s and community partner’s staff to serve newcomer families. She supports the Library to innovate, to create new resources and tools, and to do systems change.