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.