MWAC Submissions on regulatory proposals to enhance the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program compliance framework.

MWAC Submissions on regulatory proposals to enhance the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program compliance framework.

The proposed compliance framework may be able to lead to real implementation steps that ensure the principle of equal protections for migrant workers is met. However, three critical changes are needed to ensure that these regulations do not end up doing the opposite:

1. The compliance mechanisms and sanctions must not in any way punish workers for their employers’ abuse. The regulatory mechanism should include open work permits, and access to permanent residency for migrant workers. Failure to do so would make these regulations extremely punitive for migrant workers.

2. There should be no exceptions to workplaces that are being inspected or sanctioned. All migrant worker employers, that is those who are part of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, Live-In Caregiver Program and the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, should be equally and comprehensively assessed for abuse.

3. These regulations will result in a convergence, and possible confusion between provincial and federal jurisdictions. MOUs on information sharing, and specific protocols to ensure that migrant workers are able to gain lost wages, or have access to other entitlements under provincial jurisdiction, must be developed.

For our full submissions, click HERE.

Law Commission Urges Action

Today’s launch of the LCO commission report highlights the necessity for the government of Ontario to implement proactive steps to protect the over 60,000 temporary foreign workers in Ontario.The report echoes calls from the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change to ban recruitment and placement fees for all temporary foreign workers. The banning of fees is the first step in regulating the run-away recruiter industry that is exploiting thousands of workers in the province. More recommendations from Metcalf Foundation here.

The commission heard first hand from migrant worked who demand an end to recruitment fees and protection from reprisals. It is imperative that the province takes the necessary steps to protect the provinces most vulnerable workers. We owe it to all the migrant workers who build our communities, put food on our tables and take care of our loved ones.

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 http://www.migrantworkersalliance.org/