Federal government must act for migrant workers
The Canadian Council for Refugees published today its recommendations for next steps to protect the rights of migrant workers in Canada, in the wake of the parliamentary committee report on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) recently concluded a review of the program and released its report on 19 September 2016.
“Now that the committee has tabled its recommendations, the government needs to act quickly to address the abuse of migrant workers in Canada by making fundamental changes, guided by the principle of protection of migrant workers’ rights,” said CCR president Loly Rico.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, intended to help employers meet short-term labour needs, are in many cases being used to fill permanent positions, especially among low-skilled occupations. Because of their precarious status and lack of access to permanent residence, workers are vulnerable to abuse, of which there have been countless documented cases.
The CCR is calling for immediate action on the following issues:
- Open work permits without restrictions
- Access to permanent residence for all migrant workers
- End to the cumulative duration (four-in-four-out) rule
- Access to settlement services
- Family reunification
- Increased and more effective monitoring and enforcement
The HUMA report has many recommendations that speak to the interests of employers, who were disproportionately represented as witnesses at the review hearings in relation to migrant workers and labour advocates. The CCR urges the government to rather give priority to the rights and needs of migrant workers. CCR members have seen first-hand the detrimental effects on workers of many aspects of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Read the CCR response to the HUMA report: ccrweb.ca/en/ccr-response-huma-report
For more on migrant workers: ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-workers