On International Workers Day migrant workers in Canada can look forward to discriminatory treatment

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Canadian Council for Refugees 

Media advisory
 
For immediate release
1 May 2012
 
On International Workers Day Migrant Workers in Canada can Look Forward to Discriminatory Treatment
 
This International Worker’s Day, the Canadian Council for Refugees decries the recent announcement by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada introducing unequal wages through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. HRSDC is fast-tracking processing for employers to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada, and allowing them to pay them 15% below the average wage paid to Canadian workers.
 
This change will mean that Temporary Foreign Workers with the same skills as Canadian workers will routinely be paid below average wages for doing the same work. The Canadian Council for Refugees believes that Canadians support principles of fairness and equality, and that the new rules breach those values.
 
There are already many documented cases of abuse and exploitation of workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The announced changes will allow workers to be officially taken advantage of and will set a precedent of inequality.
 
“Paying workers less because of their nationality or temporary status is discriminatory and unfair. These new rules will institutionalize exploitation,” said Wanda Yamamoto, CCR President. 
 
In addition to concerns over discrimination, there is also the worry that offering lower wages to foreign workers will make them more competitive than Canadians, and thus push wages down for all workers. 
 
“This move will not only result in a more unequal society, but it will mean a race to the bottom for wages that will harm Canadian workers as well. This is not what we want for Canada’s workers,” Ms. Yamamoto added.
 
The Canadian Council for Refugees’ migrant workers campaign has three central demands: protection of workers’ rights, access to permanent residence, and access to services (including settlement services).
 
Contact 
Colleen French, Communication and Networking Coordinator, 514-277-7223, ext. 1, cfrench@ccrweb.ca