MRCC marks 5th year anniversary

Migrants Resource Centre Canada (MRCC) family pose for a group photo with other community organisations, advocates, and supporters at Christie Park in Toronto to commemorate the group's fifth anniversary.

Migrants Resource Centre Canada (MRCC) celebrated its fifth year of serving and empowering migrant workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on Saturday, October 29 with a picnic at Christie Pitts Park.

Jesson Reyes, Managing Director of MRCC, issued a statement in which he joins migrant workers in paying tribute to the men and women of MRCC, including its tireless volunteers, who have spent the past five (5) years serving migrant workers and empowering them through the institution’s various services.

In 2017, when many migrants were detained because of the 4-in 4-out rule, organizers from Migrante Ontario met with migrants to assist them with their needs. Reyes stated, “Although we knew we wanted to help them in the best way possible, we lacked a systematic approach to addressing their issues from a resource and capacity development standpoint.”

“As a non-profit organization, we strive to dispel the notion that it is difficult to organize migrant workers because they are only interested in bettering their own lives and are not concerned with larger and broader issues affecting their home countries. We accept this challenge to ensure that every migrant worker who walks through our door is exposed to issues that extend beyond immigration and labour issues.”

Numerous migrant workers, especially undocumented migrants, sought services that were unavailable to them due to their status prior to the establishment of MRCC. It is also difficult for migrant workers to access government service institutions’ resources when they need them due to certain requirements that are either difficult to produce or unavailable for migrant workers, particularly those without legal documents. The MRCC was established to assist migrant workers who lack access to government services.

Reyes also thanked the MRCC staff and volunteers, stating that they are “more than equipped to lead the work in the next 3 to 5 years of MRCC servicing the migrant workers in GTA because they believe and support MRCC’s vision of empowering migrant workers so that they can act as agents of change for themselves and their fellow migrant workers.”

MRCC utilizes volunteers such as Jill Anne Santiago, an environmentalist with a bachelor’s degree in biology who has chosen to continue working for the organization in a volunteer capacity rather than seeking a well-paying position elsewhere. Zharmaine Ante, a neuroscientist who came aboard the MRCC to aid migrants and staunchly advocate for migrant justice, acted similarly.

Ruth Silencio, a volunteer development worker who became a political refugee in Canada, also volunteered at the Migrant Resource and Community Center (MRCC), where she met with clients, assisted in the facilitation of workshops, and gained an understanding of the challenges migrant workers face in the Greater Toronto Area.

The MRCC anniversary celebration lasted the entire day and included cultural numbers, speeches, messages of solidarity, and sharing with other migrant groups including Migrante Ontario, Malaya Canada, Anakbayan Toronto, Bayan Canada, and International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-Canada (ICHRP-Canada), as well as Filipino Network Solidarity groups in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

“Providing services to migrant workers for five years is one way to ensure that these vulnerable members of our community have access to all the services they so justly deserve, and we will continue to do so for as long as MRCC continues to exist,” Reyes said.