You are on page 1of 12

Questions of Food Security stract of this article in the Box).

Reflecting this growing interest in The Work of Hunger:

the topic of food security, a number Security, Development and Food-for-Work
Questions of food security have of articles in this issue of the Social in Post-Crisis Jakarta
come up repeatedly over the last Justice Newsletter deal with food Jamey Essex
year at the Centre for Studies in and people’s access to it, both lo- ABSTRACT Food-for-work programs distrib-
Social Justice. Food security and cally and abroad. The articles by M. ute food aid to recipients in exchange for la-
insecurity, both locally and interna- Ruggles and S. Green focus on lo- bour, and are an important mode of aid deliv-
tionally, have been discussed in a cal, community-based efforts to ery for both public and private aid providers.
While debate continues as to whether food-for-
variety of fora including a guest lec- make people food secure by provid- work programs are socially just and economi-
ture by Melody Gonzalez of Fair ing them with the skills and space cally sensible, governments, international
Food Across Borders and a panel necessary to grow their own food. institutions, and NGOs continue to tout them
discussion on Food Security and The article by S. Segave focuses on as a flexible and cost-effective way to deliver
targeted aid and promote community develop-
Homelessness. Stephanie Segave issues of food distribution to margin- ment. This paper critiques the underlying logic
and Steve Green, whose articles are alized populations in Brazil showing of food-for-work, focusing on how this ap-
included in this issue of the Newslet- how municipal policies can benefit proach to food aid and food security promote
labour force participation by leveraging hunger
ter, contributed to the panel discus- producers and consumers thus in- against poverty, and how the ideological and
sion on Food Security and Home- creasing food security. A. Vasey’s practical assumptions of food-for-work become
lessness. Last May, the topic of food article on Pathways to Potential de- enmeshed within discourses of geopolitical
security. I rely on a case study examination of
security also came up at an event scribes how people are coming to- US-funded food-for-work programs imple-
entitled: Community Economic Re- gether in Windsor-Essex to engage mented in Jakarta, Indonesia following the
vival in Windsor During the Reces- the community in a poverty- 1997 financial crisis. The crisis produced acute
sion. One of the participants was reduction strategy with food security food insecurity and poverty in Indonesia, pro-
voking fears of mob violence by the hungry
Adam Vasey whose article appears as a part of the strategy. poor and the spread of radical Islamism in the
in this issue of the Newsletter. At the time, when homelessness post-crisis political vacuum. Food-for-work
In addition to these events, secu- and poverty have been on the in- programs were, in this context, meant to re-
solve the problems of both food insecurity and
rity, broadly defined, was the topic of crease, due to the economic reces- geopolitical insecurity by providing food to
a special issue of the journal Studies sion and cut-backs to social pro- targeted populations, employment to those
in Social Justice published last sum- grams, it is important to consider otherwise thrown out of work, and resituating
mer. In it, Jamey Essex has an arti- alternative strategies for providing the hungry poor in relation to broader scales of
local, national, and global power.
cle discussing food aid in Indonesia affordable and nutritious food to all.
as an issue of both food security and These issues, and more, are ad- The full article is available at:
geopolitical security (see the Ab- dressed in this issue.

P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P8 P9 P10
Focus on Research Food for Change Spotlight on Windsor Essex FedUp Windsor Pathway to potential Social Justice Building Welcoming
Teaching Community Practicum Communities
Volume 5, Issue 1, Winter 2010

Food for Change: Strengthening Food Security in a Brazilian City

By Stephanie Segave
determines a set price (about two-
thirds of the market price) for about
twenty healthy items and the store-
owner must adhere to these low
rates for the key products. All other
items can be sold at whatever prices
the retailer sets. Retailers with the
best spots are also required to de-
liver produce in a ―travelling market‖
to the poor neighbourhoods outside
of the city centre, so that everyone
may access the produce.
Belo Horizonte’s municipal food
security programs include extensive
community and school gardens as
well as nutrition classes for parents.
In addition, the federally funded
school lunch program in Belo Hori-
Diners at a “People’s Restaurant” in Belo which to sell to city residents. Farm- zonte was transformed and no
Horizonte, Brazil
ers’ profits grew, since no whole- longer serves expensive processed
Over the summer of 2008, I travelled saler was taking a cut, and at the food. Instead, schools support the
to Brazil’s fourth largest city, Belo same time, city residents, including local food system by serving whole
Horizonte as part of a study abroad those living in poverty, gained food that is generally sourced from
opportunity with the Ryerson Univer- greater access to fresh, healthy local growers. One teacher at the
sity Food Security program. The city food. school I visited told me that since
of Belo Horizonte is gaining interna- the transition her students never
tional attention for the success of its miss a day of school because they
municipal food security strategies do not want to miss out on the good
that have allowed the city to over- food.
come high rates of hunger and pro- Another cornerstone program is
vide healthy food for its residents the ―People’s Restaurant‖ (Restau-
through a series of innovative poli- rante Popular). More than 12,000
cies and programs. people show up for lunch and dinner
In 1993, a newly elected admini- each day to receive a meal of mostly
stration declared food a right of citi- locally grown food that costs them
zenship. The new mayor, Patrus only one Brazilian real (which equals
Ananias, who now leads the federal Stephanie Segave is co-chair of Food for approximately $.50 CDN). Although
anti-hunger effort, began by creating Change, a newly formed association that is the restaurant caters to lower in-
promoting food security issues within Windsor
a city agency, which included a 20- and Essex County and Regional Manager for come residents, everyone is wel-
member council of citizen, labour, the Ontario Student Nutrition Program. come to participate and on the day
business, and religious representa- that I attended I met people from all
tives who advised in the design and In addition to the farmer-run walks of life, from homeless people
implementation of a new food sys- stands, the city gave business peo- to students and businessmen. The
tem. ple the opportunity to bid on the right restaurant I ate at was bright, clean
The city agency focused on the to use prime retail locations within and very cheery and it was obvious
interests of farmers and consumers. the city to set up what they called that people were not ashamed to eat
It offered local family farmers pre- ―ABC‖ markets. In exchange for rent in such a nice place, especially
ferred spots of public space on -free use of the city land, the city (Continued on page 4)

CSSJ Newsletter

project begins with the recognition Bilateral and regional initiatives

that countries must begin to work in signed over the years to ensure
concert to address the problems sustained delivery of oil often
associated with the instability of the resulted in unfair trade practices,
global energy markets and the environmental degradation, and
growing environmental costs of non- price speculation without necessarily
cooperation. The book addresses benefiting consumers even in the oil
the following issues. producing countries. As demand for
Oil, one of the most sought oil continues to rise together with its
after commodities, remains un- price, this situation becomes
Focus on Research: regulated on the international level. unsustainable both environmentally
Over the years, countries had and geo-politically.
Dr. Anna Lanoszka employed different strategies meant According to Anna Lanoszka, ―it
to ensure energy security. Most of is important to create a formalized
these strategies resulted in bilateral relationship between the energy
Professor Lanoszka is a well- arrangements. Even the most sector and the international trade
recognized researcher in inter- substantial international treaty on system in an effort to ensure that
national relations and global political energy, Chapter 6 of the North international trade and investment in
economy. She has made important American Free Trade Agreement energy-related goods and services
contributions to our understanding of (NAFTA) remains a two-country deal becomes rules-based and hence
international economic relations and despite being part of a regional trade more secure and sustainable under
particularly of: trade, policies of the agreement. Such bilateral arrange- the principles of international law.‖
World Trade Organization (WTO) ments, however, have done little to Her goal is to provide policy
and the World Bank, changing stabilize global energy markets. recommendations intended to
North-South relations, approaches The most familiar organization facilitate international cooperation
to economic development, and the that has influenced the world’s with respect to exploration,
new geopolitics of energy. For over prices of oil, the Organization of distribution, and sale of oil and gas
two years she worked in the Petroleum Exporting Countries in a way that prevents environmental
Accessions Division of the WTO. As (OPEC) is a cartel that infused the degradation, social insecurity, armed
a consultant for the World Bank she world’s economy with uncertainty conflict, and market speculation.
completed a report titled: Handbook: and politics that, over time, has been
Negotiations on Liberalization of increasingly harmful even to its own
Trade in Services Logistics and Members, notwithstanding the
Health. She has participated in a financial benefits they have enjoyed.
numerous technical assistance The first multilateral arrangement to
programs in Central Asia, Eastern manage international trade, the
Europe, the Caribbean islands, and 1947 GATT (General Agreement on
Africa. She has published book Tariffs and Trade), contained
chapters and articles in journals provisions intended to prevent
such as International Political international cartels, yet these
Science Review, International provisions were never used given
Journal of Political Economy, and the provisional status of the GATT.
Journal of World Trade. Her recent As the global economy expanded,
book is titled: The World Trade the growing dependence on oil
Organiza-tion: Changing Dynamics provided a rationale for countries to
in the Global Political Economy. engage in negotiating investment
Currently Dr. Lanoszka is and trade deals outside the GATT’s
working on her second book. ―In- scope of influence, while keeping
ternational Trade and Energy the international trade and explo-
Security—Towards Functional Co- ration of oil detached from the
operation in the WTO‖ This research purview of multilateral organizations.

Volume 5, Issue 1, Winter 2010

include: All I need is a Miracle (a events in a village; the story is used to

student devised theatre piece based help illustrate issues and/or solutions.
on the stories of individuals from the She is currently working on adapting
local Windsor Downtown Mission this form for Western audiences.
that was recorded and used as an
instructional tool with local secon- Dr. Tina Pugliese is an Assistant Profes-
dary schools studying the issues sor and colleague of Dr. Murray, at the
surrounding homelessness); Wel- School of Dramatic Art, University of Win-
come to Canada (a community initi-
ated project with new Canadians
Spotlight on Teaching & Creative involved workshops and the creation
of a play); Gimme the Keys (a forum
Activity: Professor Gail Murray (Continued from page 2)
theatre created on the topic of drink-
By Tina Pugliese since they had paid for their meal
ing, drugs, and driving that was a
collaboration with David Diamond (albeit for a nominal price).
Professor Gail (Campbell) Murray is from Headlines Theatre, Vancou- In just a decade Belo Horizonte
an Associate Professor in the ver); and The Windsor Report (a managed to cut its infant mortality rate
School of Dramatic Art at the Univer- collective creation on the topic of (a statistic widely used as evidence of
sity of Windsor. She has been sexual identity and bias produced in hunger) by more than half, and today
teaching in the Drama in Education collaboration with Norma Bowles, these initiatives benefit almost 40% of
and Community Program since Fringe Benefits, LA). the city’s population of 2.5 million. The
2003. Her research is in the area of Her work also reaches out to city is able to deliver these extensive
Applied Theatre with particular focus local elementary and secondary programs for an annual price of $10
on Theatre for Social Action. She schools. As a Theatre Director, she million or less than 2% of the city
has an extensive background in brings social justice issues to the budget. That’s about a penny a day
Playback Theatre and Forum Thea- main stage for young audiences with per Belo Horizonte resident. The Belo
tre. such plays as: Danny, King of the Horizonte experience shows that even
Professor Murray is recognized Basement by David S. Craig (a 2009 in the poorest of cities, hunger can be
in the School of Dramatic Art for her story about a young boy dealing with dramatically reduced if municipal gov-
brilliant work with students both in homelessness); See Saw by Dennis ernments and community partners
and out of the classroom. She intro- Foon (a 2007 play about bullying come together to invest in local food
duced a new drama course, Theatre performed through the use of life systems and strategic programming.
for Social Action, shortly after arriv- size puppets); Wiley and the Hairy
ing at the University of Windsor Man by Suzan Zeder (a 2006 play
which has become a fundamental that explores young people facing
class in providing students with the their fears); and New Canadian Kid
knowledge and skills to work with by Dennis Foon (a 2005 play that
social issues through theatre and follows a young boy’s challenge of
drama while fostering social aware- fitting in, learning a new language,
ness and responsibility. Her teach- and making friends).
ing is inspired by her research. She In addition, Professor Murray
has published articles and book established a Playback Theatre Harvest direct from the field
chapters, in collaboration with other group called Random Acts where
scholars, on such topics as popular students engage audiences in play-
theatre with young offenders and ing back personal stories. The com- Acknowledgement
participatory research with marginal- pany also performs annual shows on I would like to thank my former Ryerson
University professor, Dr. Cecilia Rocha,
ized populations. human rights. Finally, Professor for providing me the documents on food
Professor Murray regularly in- Murray is a puppeteer. One of her programs in Belo Horizonte.
spires and facilitates a variety of current research interests is Wayang
student and community driven social Kulit (Balinese Shadow Puppetry).
action projects. Some projects since Traditionally, stories are chosen for
her time at the University of Windsor presentation based on current local

CSSJ Newsletter

Windsor Essex Community Supported Agriculture

By Steve Green
Some years ago I became con- We’re teaching the next generation
cerned about the corporatization of how to practice sustainability: how
agriculture and food distribution. I easy it is to grow one’s own food
began to wonder if agro-industrial even on one square foot of land!
corporations could be trusted to pro- Anyone can be a part of this revolu-
vide safe, healthy, and environmen- tion even with just a patio or a deck
tally sustainable food. I also became or a windowsill in an apartment.
concerned with the distance that so On our farm, just outside the city
much food in my local grocery store of Windsor, we have been fortunate
had travelled and the effects of the to have many excellent participants
globalization of food production on in this muddy adventure. We just
local farmers. Concerned about the finished our first full test year at our
disconnect between the city and new site. We share the hardships
farms, I felt that our community and the bounty. We share knowl-
needed to take action and come edge and old practices passed on
together to work towards a more from generation to generation, from
sustainable, safe, and secure food culture to culture. Together we all
system and that this could not be left pull together to create our farm. We
to government alone. beg, borrow, and trade for new
Here in Windsor a hodgepodge plants, seeds and supplies and we
of rural and urban dwellers decided put out money from our own pockets
to take matters into their own hands because we believe in something
to begin the process of building local that is larger than just a small vege- Samples of WECSA produce
food security. We formed Windsor table farm. And while we sow, weed,
Essex Community Supported Agri- and harvest, we have built a new all persons. We need more coopera-
culture (WECSA), a response to community. At one time none of us tion, more commitment, more under-
many of the above concerns. Some knew each other. Now, we know we standing, more humility, and a de-
of us are well-versed in agriculture. are not alone in our concerns. Our sire to transform our community into
Some of us have never seriously children know that there is more to a place where it is not acceptable for
planted before, but all of us have a life than travelling to the grocery our citizens to go hungry. Everyone
common goal. We want to be more store, which has become a cornuco- needs access to good, safe, and
connected to our food system. We pia of international foods. Almost all healthy food.
want more security in our food sys- of what we really need can be grown
tem. We want to know where our locally.
food comes from and how it grows. I believe economic revival in the Steve Green is a caseworker and pro-
We want our children to know what Windsor-Essex area will only begin gram facilitator at St. Leonard's House
food tastes like fresh from the when we start to question our own Windsor, a Federal Halfway House for
offenders. He's an active member of the
ground, not transported 3000 miles consumerism. By questioning what Homeless Coalition of Windsor, founder
to our grocery store after it has been we consume, where it came from, of Windsor Essex Community Supported
sprayed, packaged, and harvested and how it was produced, we can Agriculture, a volunteer Pastor at New
before its prime. We worry about the create our own agricultural eco- Song Church, and a Coach with South
Windsor Youth Soccer Club, among other
effects of children ingesting chemi- nomic revival in our area. I believe interests and hobbies. His family includes
cals and fertilizers used to grow that it is our responsibility as resi- his wife Suzanne and two daughters
many crops today. We believe our dents and citizens of this community Jasmin, 13 and Jade, 11. He can be
children need fresh, organically- to be agents of change, ensuring reached by e-mail at steve-
grown produce for their health. that the policies and processes of or through his blog at
As the members of WECSA our community, our governments,
plant and harvest together, we are and our agencies should all pursue
not just putting food on our tables. the achievement of food security for

Volume 5, Issue 1, Winter 2010

FedUp: a brief personal history of food activism This ―hippy‖ movement of which my
By Maya Ruggles parents were part was an
experiment in living sensitively to
both social and environmental
justice. Many of the cultural
elements that are associated with
that time and place have been co-
opted and transformed into a
present that is so wholly unlike that
time that recalling it is generally
taken as purely nostalgic. While I
certainly have feelings of nostalgia
for my childhood and the world of
solidarity and vital activity where I
spent my formative years, I am not
calling for a return to that time. I do
recognize, however, that there are
many aspects of that world that are
trying desperately to find air, space,
and attention here and now.
The new incarnation of FedUp,
FedUp Windsor, is one such
attempt. The concern for food, which
Participants on a bicycle tour of FedUp community gardens easily extends into concerns for
social and environmental justice, is
In a few months I’ll be moving back community built (some of which still central to the work that FedUp
to my home province of British exist today) were structured around Windsor has been doing since
Columbia. I’m particularly excited principles of cooperation and equity. Spring 2007. My own experience
about this new direction in my life Many of these projects were, has led to a much deeper under-
because I’ll have the opportunity to indeed, called co-ops, collectives, or standing of the interdependence
―farm‖ some land and apply a lot of uni o ns, in clu di ng Is ad ora ’s between agriculture and human
what I’ve learned in the last few Cooperative Restaurant, the culture; as our food provisioning
years. My intensive foray into the Women’s Health Collective, the system has become more global,
world of food production and food CCEC Credit Union (founded by the industrial, and trade-centred, the
activism began in the Spring of Community Congress for Economic communities that work to support
2007, when I and a few others Change Society), and various healthy, sustainable, food-rich and
decided to start a food activist housing co-ops. (Of course, these diverse agricultural systems have
project, FedUp Windsor. While sorts of projects were not distinct to come under attack.
FedUp is by no means an individual B.C.) One such project in Vancouver Annette Aurélie Desmarais
project, I tell this story from a was FedUp, a consumer co-op. Both outlines the distinction between a
personal perspective hoping, in my parents tell me stories about the ―dominant‖ agricultural paradigm
doing so, to illuminate one of the massive amount of work and and an ―alternative‖ paradigm:
threads that run through the fabric detailed planning that had to go into where the former is based on
that is FedUp. receiving, separating, and distribut- centralization, dependence (on
Let me start with the name. In the ing piles of organic produce, barrels scientific and technology experts,
late 1960s my parents left Ontario, of molasses, and mountains of rice high cost inputs and distant
joining several other people in B.C. and lentils. At one point, FedUp markets), competition, domination of
to create a different kind of life, one bought a second-hand cube truck, n a t u r e , s p e c i a l i z a t i o n , and
that strove to challenge the norms which my mom would use to make exploitation, the latter is based on
by which their own parents lived deliveries for the co-op, with me decentralization, independence,
(often in suburban settings). Many of sleeping in my car seat as she drove community, harmony with nature,
the projects that my parents’ new around. diversity, and restraint (2007, 69-

CSSJ Newsletter

70). FedUP represents such an community compost that can be, to be

―alternative‖ paradigm. donated to someone who distributed to our updates via
FedUp Windsor has been a already gardens (who can then listserve.
learning experience for many share some of their produce with
people, and I believe (supported by you). Some important concepts
comments from several individuals)  Have a potluck, meet some new in food activism
that our presence has helped people, and find out how others A consumer co-op is a group of people
enliven the general discussion in relate to food. who jointly source food in bulk, which is
Windsor of food security and the rise  Plant a wildflower garden for delivered to a central location, separated
of food activism here. It has recently pollinators, or put up a house for according to individual orders and
become clearer to me that one of birds. redistributed or picked up.
Food Security means long term access
our greatest difficulties has been in  Become more familiar with for all to nutritious, affordable, and
matching our visions and desires existing food sources in your culturally appropriate food. Food
(which only grew broader as we neighbourhood (wild and/or Sovereignty means utilizing (and
learned about all the issues involved unharvested). Contact the supporting) the diversity of local/regional
skills to produce a sustain-able and
with food) with our resources (mostly Windsor Guerrilla Gardeners for available food supply (for that region).
made up of people’s time, effort, and advice on how to prepare some Food is valued for its nutritional value, not
skills). There is so much that can be of our more common wild edible its trade value, and trade in food is done
done, so much we want to do, and plants. through direct, small-scale relationships
so little time! The challenges that we  Do a ―community food mapping‖ where producers/farmers are valued and
receive the benefits of trade. Food
all face are many: soil contamina- exercise, on your own or, better Democracy means that decisions
tion, dispersed communities, yet, with your neighbours. If you regarding food production, distribution
irresponsible use of land, the have kids, suggest doing such and preparation are made by the
misguided priorities of most City an exercise with them and their community within which food is produced
and consumed (and the production/
Councillors (for example, supporting friends or classmates. consumption cycle is much shorter than it
road building over efforts to build  Start a Community Supported/ is with global, industrial trade-based
local food security1), to name a few. Shared Agriculture project food), and those decisions benefit that
But if we truly want to live in a world (contact the Canadian Organic community.
that takes care of its environment Growers local chapter to get in 1 The benefits of keeping ―backyard chickens‖ are
and its people, where the important touch with local organic farmers numerous. It provides healthy, pesticide-free eggs
and imperative work of growing food and reduces weekly food bills. Additionally,
chickens consume kitchen wastes and chicken
for all to eat is supported and essex-kent-lambton/). manure is great garden compost. Raising
respected, we must take on those  Contact your local governmental backyard chickens is also a hands-on way to
challenges, one step at a time. And, representatives and tell them teach kids about food sources. They make great
pets, and serve as a lesson in local action leading
trust me: being involved in food that local food security is to global environmental sustainability; less food
activism is fun and inspiring... and important. Petition to amend by- transportation means less greenhouse gases.
tasty! laws to allow backyard chicken
coops. CBC news. Windsor man seeks chicken by-law
Here is what I recommend to those  Tell the supermarket where you change. Uploaded Monday, November 2,
interested in local food security: shop to stock local, organic 2009 to
options (though be advised that 091102.html
 Grow some food and learn from large supermarkets are tied to a
the experience. Some of the mandatory distribution system Desmarais, Annette Aurélie (2007). La vía
issues and concerns that farmers that ships local produce to an campesina: Globalization and the power of
peasants. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
have to contend with are inspection depot in the GTA,
presented at a smaller scale for then back to us). FedUp Online:
amateur gardeners, and can be  Take a trip to Detroit to visit (and See Food Justice links at this site.
understood at a deeper level volunteer at) Earthworks, another
when actually doing the work of community garden Maya Ruggles is a PhD student in Sociology
growing food. at the University of Windsor and is a past
member of the Centre for Studies in Social
 Start a community garden with  Send information about all local Justice Co-ordinating committee.
your neighbours, or start with a food-related initiatives to

Volume 5, Issue 1, Winter 2010

Pathway to potential: Tackling poverty in Windsor and Essex County

By Adam Vasey
With more than 38,000 people living erty reduction: affordable housing, commissioned by the Canadian
in poverty in Windsor and Essex childcare and early learning, educa- Centre for Policy Alternatives, Cana-
County, there is a clear need for a tion and skills training, health and dians were found to overwhelmingly
poverty reduction strategy in our income support. This structure support their political leaders taking
community. Pathway to Potential helps ensure that the strategy ad- concrete action to reduce poverty.
(―Pathway‖) is a poverty reduction dresses the interlocking aspects of With public support growing, many
strategy for Windsor and Essex poverty in a comprehensive way. communities across Canada have
County that aims to address local The Roundtable and the Subcom- begun to develop local poverty re-
poverty-related issues in a collabo- mittees are currently consulting with duction efforts, focusing on such
rative and comprehensive way. The and assessing the needs of the issues as food security, affordable
idea for a local poverty reduction community, researching the most public transportation, and a living
strategy was developed in 2008, effective ways to reduce poverty, wage. Regardless of which aspect
thanks to the dedicated efforts of advocating for policy changes, lever- of poverty a community chooses to
community leaders from the City of aging resources toward poverty re- focus on, the decision to work col-
Windsor Social and Health Services duction, and developing and recom- laboratively helps lay the foundation
Department, Legal Assistance of mending solutions that will ultimately for success. And the Windsor-Essex
Windsor, the United Way/Centraide reduce poverty in Windsor and Es- community, with its long history of
Windsor-Essex County, and the sex County. generosity, resilience and collective
School of Social Work at the Univer- Given that a crucial part of Path- action, certainly has what it takes to
sity of Windsor. way’s mandate is to broadly engage make poverty reduction a success.
The collaborative nature of the the community, I was pleased to
strategy stems from the fundamental participate in the Centre for Studies
belief that poverty is a shared re- in Social Justice’s panel discussion
sponsibility. Since the entire commu- on ―Community Economic Revival in
nity stands to benefit from poverty Windsor during the Recession‖ held
reduction, it only makes sense to on May 14, 2009 at All Saints’ Angli-
engage the entire community in this can Church. A common theme that
strategy. arose from the discussion was the
Pathway, which has been en- need for a local response to the
dorsed by the City of Windsor and challenging times facing Windsor
the County of Essex, is aligned with and Essex County. While the im-
the Ontario Government’s Poverty pact of the recession on Windsor-
Reduction Strategy, which initially Essex residents has been particu-
aims to reduce child poverty rates by larly harsh, it has also forced us, as
25% by the year 2013. a community, to consider the ways
The Pathway Roundtable was in which we might need to work to-
formed in January of 2009, bringing gether differently in the future.
together a broad cross-section of the As a starting point, we need to Adam Vasey is a Coordinator of Path-
way to Potential, Windsor Essex
Windsor-Essex community. The challenge the widely held assump- County’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. He
Roundtable reflects the fact that tion that poverty reduction and eco- can be reached at 519-966-8203 ext.
people experiencing poverty, busi- nomic growth are mutually exclu- 224, by email at, or
ness leaders, all three levels of gov- sive. As countless studies and re- join our Facebook group at
ernment, and public sector and not- ports have recently highlighted, in-
for-profit organizations all bring valu- vesting in poverty reduction can
able expertise and perspectives to produce widespread social and eco-
the table. The work of the Roundta- nomic benefits for communities.
ble is supported by action-oriented There is hope that mainstream per-
Subcommittees, each of them focus- ceptions of poverty are beginning to
ing on one of five key areas of pov- shift. In a recent Environics poll

CSSJ Newsletter

Social Justice Practicum at the Windsor Refugee Office

By Fadia Ibrahim
Being enrolled in the University of Refugee Office met all my expecta- ferent scenarios of trafficking and
Windsor’s Social Justice Program tions as a student looking for an offered current information regarding
has broadened my insight into the opportunity to expand my knowledge the statistics, legislation and policies
issues that affect the world’s most and gain insight into the issues and regarding victims and traffickers.
vulnerable populations. It provides processes surrounding refugees.
students with the tools to critically Since I had an interest in refugee
examine issues, making sense of and immigrant populations, I felt that
causes and consequences, thus this organization would be the per-
allowing for the conceptualization of fect fit. During the duration of my
real social change. One of the placement I was able to complete a
courses offered in the program is the variety of diverse and interactive
Social Justice Practicum. The practi- tasks. A great deal of work at the
cum presents students with the op- office involved gathering research
portunity to apply their academic and I specifically assisted with two
knowledge in a practical setting. It sensitive client cases. In the first Furthermore, this past summer I
was through this course that I was case, I wrote a letter of appeal to produced an educational display
able to fulfill my placement at the Amnesty International regarding its addressing the controversial issue of
Windsor Refugee Office. denial to assess the case and advo- bottled as compared to tap water.
The Windsor Refugee Office is an cate for the individual concerned. In This display was featured at the
organization based on the values of addition, I corresponded with the refugee office to inform refugees
social justice and is committed to clients’ legal representatives both about the misconceptions regarding
advocacy and providing vital ser- locally and overseas. bottled and tap water and the conse-
vices needed by refugees. They are Secondly, at the onset of my quences of the widespread use of
one of a kind in the city of Windsor, placement I expressed my interest in bottled water. Sister Helen also
helping vast numbers of individuals the issue of trafficked individuals. brought a picture of the display to a
and families each year. Their ser- Sister Helen, the office’s Refugee Social Justice conference in Mont-
vices offer hope and assistance to Co-coordinator, invited me to join real this summer.
those who would otherwise be left The Windsor Essex Anti-Human Overall, my experience at the Win-
feeling isolated and desperate. The Trafficking Action Coalition and at- dsor Refugee Office was eye-
Office is funded by the Diocese of tend its monthly meetings. She also opening and invaluable, not only as
London. There are two sections, one invited me to attend a workshop held an academic/professional experi-
which assists sponsored refugees, for various service providers and ence, but as a personal experience
and the other, which assists refugee community members, entitled ―New as well. Although my placement has
claimants. For both of these groups, Home, New Hope, New Normal.‖ concluded, I continue to volunteer at
emotional, financial/material, and The workshop addressed issues and the office and I hope to maintain
legal support is provided. The of- barriers faced by refugees and immi- close ties for years to come.
fice’s success is based on their abil- grants, and included topics like ad-
ity to provide an environment that is aptation/settlement, human traffick-
The Diocese of London Windsor Refugee
welcoming, safe, and respectful. The ing, the impact of torture, multiple-
Office received the Social Justice Person
staff is empathetic, attentive and traumatization, and the role of agen- of the Year Award – for a full story please
hardworking, often meeting with cies and their services. see Vol. 1 Issue 1 of this newsletter.
individuals for hours at a time. The I also prepared and hosted a
Windsor Refugee Office’s capacity workshop on the topic of human
to touch the lives of many individuals trafficking at the University of Win-
Fadia Ibrahim graduated from the Uni-
is not hindered by their lack of fund- dsor. I worked with Bachelor of So- versity of Windsor in Spring 2009. She
ing and resources. In my opinion, cial Work student Lacey Prail and received a Combined Honours degree in
their work is unprecedented in this together we presented this informa- Social Justice.
region. tion in the CAW commons area on
My placement at the Windsor March 27, 2009. We described dif-

Volume 5, Issue 1, Winter 2010

Building Welcoming Communities

Canadian Council for Refugees Fall Consultation in Windsor
By Colleen French
Building Welcoming Communities and Canadian law sets out to About the Canadian Council for
Canadian Council for Refugees punish traffickers. But Canadian Refugees (CCR):
Fall Consultation in Windsor law does NOT protect trafficked Founded in 1978, the Canadian
persons. Currently, women, Council for Refugees is a non-profit
Over the past months and years, children, and men who are traf- network of more than 180 organiza-
Canada’s vision of refugee protec- ficked into or within Canada of- tions across Canada involved in the
tion and immigration and how they ten fall between the cracks in the settlement, sponsorship, and protec-
contribute to building stronger com- system. Detained and deported, tion of refugees and immigrants.
munities has been the subject of they may be treated more as The CCR is committed to the rights
much debate. The realities that criminals than as victims of a and protection of refugees in Can-
refugees and immigrants face have crime. How can we improve ada and around the world and to the
received less attention, however. protection and services for traf- settlement of refugees and immi-
Here are a few examples: ficked persons in Canada? grants in Canada.

 Challenges to Canada’s refugee These questions and many others

claim process: Canada’s refugee were the focus of the Canadian
determination system has been Council for Refugees (CCR) Fall
the subject of recent public com- Consultation on the theme Building
mentary, much of it focusing on Welcoming Communities in Windsor
―abuse‖ and alleged problems in from 3-5 December, 2009. Twice a
the system. Refugee determina- year the CCR organizes national
tion is complex and challenging. conferences, or consultations, in
It is not easy to decide who different cities on different themes.
needs protection and who does This fall, it was held in Windsor for
not—whether a person is in a the first time. With Windsor’s status
refugee camp overseas or living as a key Canadian gateway, Build-
down the street from us. How ing Welcoming Communities was a
can we ensure that those who unique opportunity to explore to-
need Canada’s protection re- gether how to improve protection For more information about the Ca-
ceive it? How can we ensure and services for newcomers and to nadian Council for Refugees and the
that refugees are not sent back build communities across Canada CCR’s work, check out the website
to face persecution? that are welcoming to refugees and at:
immigrants. Windsor-based organi-
 Temporary migrant workers: zations and individuals played key
Canada is bringing in more and roles in organizing and leading dis- Colleen French is a Communication
and Networking Coordinator, Canadian
more workers on temporary work cussions. More than 300 partici-
Council for Refugees.
permits, rather than as perma- pants gathered at the conference to
nent residents. This shift in tem- share information, network, develop
porary migration is a dramatic strategies, and discuss emerging
change in policy, yet there has issues. The Consultation resulted in
been little public debate. What new approaches on these key is-
does temporary status mean for sues and plans for future actions.
workers? What does it mean for
Canadian society? Why should
we be concerned? For more information on future
consultations see:
 Protection for trafficked persons:
Trafficking happens in Canada meetings.htm

CSSJ Newsletter

Centre for Studies in Social Justice Upcoming Events

Monday, February 1, 7:00pm The Centre for Studies in Social Justice invites nomi-
Burning Issues in Social Justice Discussion Sries: nations for its “SOCIAL JUSTICE PROJECT OF THE
"Canadian Immigration Policy and the Increasing Insecurity YEAR AWARD.”
of Migrants" The Centre for Studies in Social Justice invites nominations for its
Windsor Workers’ Action Centre, 328 Pelissier, Windsor, ON ―SOCIAL JUSTICE PROJECT OF THE YEAR AWARD.‖ This year the
Centre wishes to honour a student group. Eligible nominees include
student groups whose project(s) have demonstrated an outstanding
commitment to the rights of the marginalized or oppressed, the health
of people and the environment, or the well-being of animals.

Nominations should include:

- a letter from the nominator explaining why the designated group
deserves the award
- two supporting letters from individuals familiar with the nominated
group’s contributions or a brief overview of the project from the partici-
- any appropriate supporting documentation (articles that describe the
project, testimonials, etc.)

Deadline for Nominations: Feb 22, 2010

* Send nominations and all supporting documents to the Centre for
Studies in Social Justice, 251-1 Chrysler Hall South, University of
Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4.
Please direct any questions to Dr. Tanya Basok, Director, Centre for
Studies in Social Justice, at 519 253-3000 Ext. 3498 or E-mail:
The award will be presented at a reception to be hosted by the University
of Windsor Centre for Studies in Social Justice in early April.

Monday, March 1, 4:00pm

A Panel Discussion with Dr. Wayne Lewchuk, Working Without Commitments:
The Health Effect of Precarious Employment.
Tanya Basok, Director, Centre for Studies in Social Justice Windsor Workers' Action Centre, 328 Pelissier, Windsor, ON
―Temporary Migrants in Canada: Unprotected and Insecure
Workers‖ Dr. Wayne Lewchuk,
Emily Carasco, Professor, Faculty of Law School of Labour Studies and Department of Economics
McMaster University
―Temporary Workers: Systemic Gender Discrimination in
Canada's Immigration System"
Across Europe and North America, employers
Shelley Gilbert, Co-ordinator of Social Work Services,
searching for greater labour market flexibility
Legal Assistance of Windsor, and, Co-chair,
are increasing the use of temporary employ-
Windsor-Essex Anti- Human Trafficking Action Group ment contracts and the hiring of employees through tempo-
―Temporary Foreign Workers and the Potential for Human rary employment agencies. The already limited commitments
Trafficking" between employers and employees are eroding as terms of
employment become shorter and employers provide fewer
As the Canadian government opens up temporary migrant employee protections and benefits. From this perspective,
worker programs to more sectors and employers across the employment has become more precarious and commitments
country, independent contractors are getting in on the business between employers and employees more tenuous. Are there
of bringing workers to Canada both through legal and illegal health implications of this shift from the perspective of work-
channels. Labour, legal and community activists, as well as ers, their households and our communities? This talk will
academics, have become progressively more concerned with present evidence that this is the case, and that the cost of
the increasing number of temporary migrants recruited to work increased labour market flexibility is being born by those
in Canada as well as the working conditions they face here. dependent on working for a living. It has resulted in a new
type of occupational risk that we call ―Employment Relation-
ship Strain.‖

Volume 5, Issue 1, Winter 2010

Tanya Basok, University of Windsor, Canada
Suzan Ilcan, University of Windsor, Canada
Jeffrey Noonan, University of Windsor,

Editorial Board

Franck Düvell, University of Oxford,

United Kingdom
Studies in Social Justice publishes articles on issues dealing with the social, Nancy Fraser, New School for Social
cultural, economic, political, and philosophical problems associated with the Research, United States
Barry Goldson, University of Liverpool,
struggle for social justice. This interdisciplinary journal aims to publish work United Kingdom
that links theory to social change and the analysis of substantive issues. The Carol Gould, George Mason University,
journal welcomes heterodox contributions that are critical of established para- United States
digms of inquiry. Robert Hackett, Simon Fraser University,
David Harvey, City University of New York,
The journal focuses on debates that move beyond conventional notions of United States
social justice, and views social justice as a critical concept that is integral in Jane Helleiner, Brock University, Canada
the analysis of policy formation, rights, participation, social movements, and Engin Isin, Open University, United Kingdom
transformations. Social justice is analysed in the context of processes involv- Cecilia Menjívar, Arizona State University,
United States
ing nationalism, social and public policy, globalization, diasporas, culture, Arun Mukherjee, York University, Canada
gender, ethnicity, sexuality, welfare, poverty, war, and other social phenom- Jackie Smith, University of Notre Dame,
ena. It endeavours to cover questions and debates ranging from governance United States
to democracy, sustainable environments, and human rights, and to introduce Daiva Stasiulis, Carleton University, Canada
Gary Teeple, Simon Fraser University,
new work on pressing issues of social justice throughout the world. Canada
Sylvia Walby, Lancaster University,
United Kingdom
Gordon Walker, Lancaster University,
Involved in Social Justice Research? United Kingdom
Contact the Center for Studies in Social Justice if you want to form a
research interest group in your field of research. Principal Contact

Nicole Noël
FREE MEMBERSHIP! Journal Manager
If you are interested in joining the Centre for Studies Centre for Studies in Social Justice
University of Windsor
in Social Justice you can join on-line by visiting Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
our website,, and following Canada
the links to Membership. Membership gets you invitations to Phone: 519-253-3000 ext. 3492
our events and you will receive our email announcements Email:
and newsletter.

Newsletter Staff:

Editor: Nicole Noël

Layout: Galina Yeverovich