New report cards highlight gaps in protections for migrant workers across Canada

Media Release

For immediate release
23 May 2018

New report cards highlight gaps in protections for migrant workers across Canada

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) has released a series of report cards assessing the records of the provincial and federal governments on protecting the rights of vulnerable migrant workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

“Migrant workers are taking on tough jobs here in Canada, but they are denied basic protections and are too often subject to abuse,” said Claire Roque, CCR President. “We hope these report cards will be a useful tool for decision makers to identify areas for improvement, and to learn about best practices from other jurisdictions.”

This series is an update to the original Migrant Worker Report Cards published in May 2013. Since 2013, some jurisdictions have taken laudable steps to improve protections and access to permanent status for migrant workers, while some have not. The project allows us to measure progress and change.

The CCR welcomes the measures that have been adopted by some provinces to address the vulnerability of migrant workers, including legislated protections, targeted enforcement of labour laws, and provision of settlement services. Other provinces need to do more to fill gaps in protection. The recent initiative shown by the federal government to address abuse of migrant workers is welcome, but more concrete action is required.

Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse because of their precarious status, work permits tied to a single employer and factors such as isolation, lack of access to support and lack of access to information on their rights. These report cards examine progress and gaps, province by province, and at the federal level, in introducing protections and supports for migrant workers.

The CCR believes that Canada should not be relying on discriminatory temporary labour migration programs to fill low-wage and entry-level positions. Governments need to return to policies of permanent immigration. Long-term temporary labour migration has negative impacts on both migrant workers and Canadian society.

The CCR calls for the protection of migrant workers’ rights, access to permanent residence, and access to services, including newcomer settlement services.

To read the report cards:

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Colleen French, Communication Coordinator, Canadian Council for Refugees, 514-277-7223, ext.1, 514-602-2098 (cell),