An advocate for temporary foreign workers is calling on the government to do more to protect the rights of migrant workers.
Executive director of Migrant Workers’ Dignity Association Raul Gatica says many temporary foreign workers are treated like slaves when they go to work on B.C. farms.
Gatica was speaking to mark the release of a report, entitled Beyond Our Plates, which highlights concerns about the conditions many migrants face in the workplace.
In one case highlighted in the report, more than 40 migrant workers were forced to live in one home.
“The government needs to create a special agency to watch and make random visits to the farms and the workplaces and the houses where the workers live because nobody is watching it.”
Gatica says the way the system works now encourages employers to take advantage of their workers and is calling on the government to revamp the work permit system so that labourers aren’t at the mercy of one employer.
“One of the biggest recommendations we have is we need workers to have an open work permit because if they don’t have an open work permit, they will be tied to a single employer like a new kind of slaveryism.”
The report also highlights issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace as well as racial abuse.