Changes made to Temporary Foreign Worker program raises concerns about impact on migrant workers

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

Local stakeholders are saying changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program need to be more than ‘cosmetic.’

Chris Morris with the group -West Coast Domestic Workers– fears promises made by the federal government are empty.

“Enforcement should not just be left to Canadian Border Services Agency. Most importantly, the government should ensure that new workers who come to Canada as landed immigrants and ensure the real pathways to permanent residency is fulfilled.”

Lawyer Devyn Cousineau says too many migrant workers are being exploited by immoral recruiters… and bosses.

“When a migrant worker walks into my office and says, ‘I’m being sexually harassed by my boss, nobody’s paying me overtime, my housing conditions are unsanitary.’ I can say, ‘Oh, yes, the law’s being violated in your case, but the rights mean nothing in circumstances where they’re going to be gone in six months and can’t access them.”

She adds employers also have the power to essentially deport anyone who complains about bad working conditions.

BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair says British Columbians should also question federal government claims no temporary foreign workers will be hired in areas where unemployment is high.

“In BC, our employment rate is above six per cent and if there’s a five per cent unemployment rate in Prince George, then somebody from Vancouver could go there and vice versa. It shouldn’t be about regional unemployment.”

Sinclair says the national jobless rate is at seven per cent and BC now has more than 74-thousand temporary foreign workers… compared to slightly more than 22-thousand ten years ago.


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      • “In 2002, the federal Liberal government introduced the Low Skill Pilot Project allowing companies to apply to bring in temporary foreign workers to fill low skill jobs. The classification of “low skill” means that workers require no more than high school or two years of job-specific training to qualify.”

        As I said . . . Liberal govt . . . . but, to listen to the loons today . . . Harper did it. Are there problems . . . you bet ! And who abuses the system? Who the lefties in Ontario and BC . . . seems to work well in Saskatchewan and Alberta were Unemployment is very low and jobs go begging.
        Why don’t some of the unmotivated in the rest of Canada go to the few remaining wealthy provinces to get work? Why does the left destroy every province they run?
        Only 4 provinces left today that are paying for the handouts that the “Have-Not” provinces receive every year . . . why is that?

  1. Not all employers using foreign workers are abusing the system yet all have been demonized. So the government needs to be careful with the “across-the-board” rules brought in to eliminate those abusing the program. If there is not a fair and timely recourse for companies with legitimate hiring problems, businesses will cut back or close and hurt local economies and families.

    There also needs to be some focus on the social benefit systems and responsibilities of the workers themselves. If someone gets replaced/fired because they are not good employees there should be a means in the regulatory system for them to be called to task on it. In the lower mainland people are imported to work on farms yet is seems there is no great outcry from available Canadian’s on EI or welfare.

    And as with another unrelated issue-there would be more affordable rental accommodations in Vancouver if the rules were not so skewed in favour of tenants. It has become extremely difficult and costly to evict a bad tenant from your rental suite. I know many people who have the space but don’t bother renting specifically for this reason.

    Similarly, if it becomes too much hassle or too costly to bother having a business open- least hours of operation will be cut back and some will shut down or relocate.