Made in Canada: New report exposes systemic exploitation of migrant workers through temporary worker programs

A groundbreaking report released today by the Metcalf Foundation highlights how Canadian immigration and labour policies are generating systemic exploitation of migrant workers. The report echoes the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change’s (MWAC) call for urgent reform of temporary worker programs to address widespread violations.

Authored by lawyer and professor Fay Faraday, the report “Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers’ Insecurity” argues that the most critical factor driving workers’ precariousness and exploitation is migrant workers’ temporary immigration status.

“This report reaffirms what migrant workers have been speaking out about for years. Temporary work programs force workers, particularly immigrants of color, into extremely vulnerable positions” said Chris Ramsaroop of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.  “Faraday hits the nail squarely on the head by arguing that migrant workers need immigration status on arrival and access to basic rights and protections.”

Among the recommendations outlined in the report are:

  • All workers of all skill levels should have access to apply to immigrate and arrive with status
  • Legislation must be extended to ensure all migrant workers have effective protection against recruitment fees
  • Ontario should adopt a proactive system of employer registration and recruiter licensing
  • Workers should be provided with open or sector-specific work permits while a legal dispute about their employment is ongoing

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC) is a coalition of grassroots migrant worker organizations, community groups, unions, workers and community members that formed in 2009 with the aim of improving working conditions and protections for live-in caregivers, seasonal agricultural workers and other temporary foreign workers.

Recent media coverage of the report

Abuse of migrant workers ‘endemic’ in Canada, new study says
The Toronto Star, September 17, 2012

Ontario Migrant Workers Face Systemic Exploitation, Metcalf Foundation Study Says
Huffington Post, September 17, 2012

Part Of A System
CBC Radio, Metro Morning, Matt Galloway interviews report author Fay Faraday
September 17, 2012

Migrant workers open to abuse, says new report
Toronto Sun, September 17, 2012

FInd out more about MWAC at