Open letter on Temporary Foreign Worker Program review

9 March 2016


The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0J9


The Honourable John McCallum, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1L1


Dear Ministers,

We are writing to welcome the recent announcement that the federal government will undertake a review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). We fully agree that a review is necessary. We urge that migrant workers’ rights be the central focus of the program review.

Migrant workers are made vulnerable by the rules of the TFWP, and exploitation and abuse tarnish the integrity of the program.

The previous government’s 2014 overhaul of the TFWP was inadequate precisely because the changes did not address the shortcomings of the program with regards to its treatment of migrant workers. While the 2014 changes were intended to penalize employers who abuse the program, no consideration was given to addressing the fate of TFWs whose employers were found to be at fault, or to correcting systemic flaws in the program that leave migrant workers vulnerable to abuse.

Migrant workers’ rights and the voices of migrant workers themselves must be included in order to make the review of the program meaningful.

Yours sincerely,


Canadian Council for Refugees

Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC (AMSSA)

Agricultural Workers Alliance

Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA)

Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Carrefour d’aide aux nouveaux arrivants, Montréal

Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples

Comité d’action contre la traite humaine interne et internationale

Comité travail migrant du Front de défense des non-syndiquéES   

Cooper Institute, PEI

Eamonn O’Loghlin Irish Canadian Immigration Centre

FCJ Refugee Centre, Toronto

Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec

Immigrant Workers Centre, Montreal

Inter-Clinic Immigration Working Group, Toronto

Jesuit Refugee and Migrant Service

Kabisig Society of Fort Saskatchewan


Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services

Lethbridge Family Services

Ligue des droits et libertés du Québec

Manitoba Immigrant and Refugee Settlement Sector Association (MIRSSA)

Migrante Canada

Migrant Workers’ Dignity Association, BC

Migrant Worker Solidarity Network, Manitoba

National Union of Public and General Employees

Niagara Migrant Workers Interest Group

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)

PINAY, Montreal

Quaker Committee for Refugees of Toronto

Red Legal Collective, Vancouver

Scalabrini Centre for Refugees and Immigrants, Montreal

United Food and Commercial Workers Canada


West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association



Additional endorsements

Organizations wishing to add their name to the list of signatories should send an email to