A disconcerting new report on Canada’s temporary foreign worker program finds that exploitation and abuse are “endemic.”
The report, compiled and released this month by the Metcalf Foundation, states that the problems are systemic, not anecdotal, and that massive policy changes would be needed in order to correct the situation.
The findings are spurring discussion, not because of the claims that worker abuse is occurring – that fact has been widely reported in recent years – but because the report was the first to look at the possible underlying systemic causes of the abuse, including faulty laws. The author of the report is Fay Faraday, a law professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School who specializes in issues of human rights and labour.
Over 300,000 migrant workers entered Canada in 2011, making it one of the fastest-growing streams of entry into the country. Nearly one-third of those migrant workers are employed in low-skilled positions, making them more vulnerable to exploitation with little hope of attaining citizenship.
The report recommends the Manitoba model, where temporary workers are granted freedom of changing employers as well as joining and organizing unions. The report further recommends that all migrant workers be granted permanent residency status in order to fight exploitation.
Source: Toronto Star