September 17, 2012
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.
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Chris Ramsaroop – Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
APRIL 30, 2012
Migrant Workers Alliance denounces Tory policy to pay migrant workers less than Canadian citizens
Toronto – The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, an alliance of migrant workers, labour unions and community organizations denounces the latest Tory “jobs-strategy”, paying migrant workers 15% less than Canadian citizens.
“In April of 2010, Canada was shocked to hear of the death of 11 migrant workers that died in a car crash when a car driver after working an 11 hour day could no longer pay attention to the road and crashed. Migrant workers allies hoped that this tragedy would force the Conservative government to change its path,” says Kay Manuel, a Live-In Caregiver and member of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. “Instead, the government has further concertized the race to the bottom by legislating lower wages for migrant workers that are already being exploited by employers and third parties.”
“Paying some people lower wages simply on the basis of their citizenship is fundamentally against human rights and legitimizes further abuse against migrant workers,” says Chris Ramsaroop from Justice for Migrant Workers and a member of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. “These strategies result in creating a second class tier of workers with few rights and lower wages and go against the Federal Government’s own 2006 Labour Standards Review that called for equal pay for equal work. Have we not learned from our history lessons of how Chinese workers were treated in this country and the resulting trauma it caused?”
“The Conservative decision to legalize exploitation of migrant workers comes in a week of major changes in immigration policy all calculated to force immigrants in to more and more precarious work,” adds Chris Sorio from Migrante, a member of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. “Bill C-31, cuts to refugee healthcare, changes to the spousal sponsorship and parents and grandparents sponsorship are all part of a strategy to keep immigrants in precarious job, with low wages that benefit no one but employers and corporations.”
Formed in April 2009, the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (formerly the Coalition for Change) is comprised of various advocacy and community groups, unions, workers and community members, aimed at improving working conditions and fighting for better protections for live-in caregivers, seasonal agricultural workers and other temporary foreign workers.
For more information,