Posted: Tuesday, 15 May 2012
OTTAWA – A group of unions and non-government organizations say that recently announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) permitting employers to pay migrant workers up to 15% less and fast tracking employer applications for these workers is unfair and misguided.
“Allowing employers faster access to migrant workers and paying them less for their labour sends a message that this government believes migrant workers are not equal,” says Hassan Yussuff, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress. He was speaking at an Ottawa news conference attended by unions and NGOs.
Ottawa has announced changes, effective immediately, to the TFWP and has included those changes in a large omnibus budget bill that is being pushed through Parliament.
“Canada’s laws don’t support wage discrimination based on where you come from,” says Yasmeen Khan, with Migrante Canada. “Many people recognize the majority of migrant workers are people of colour and oppose wage discrimination based on race.”
Naveen Mehta, General Counsel and Director of Human Rights, Equity and Diversity with the United Food and Commercial Workers, says, “Rather than further skewing Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program to unfairly serve employers’ interests, what is needed are stronger compliance, monitoring and enforcement measures to protect migrant workers’ rights.”
Alfredo Barahona, Migrant and Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator with KAIROS, adds, "Instead of focusing on filling long-term labour needs with short-term workers who don't enjoy the same rights and protections as other workers, Canada should be nation-building by bringing in workers as permanent residents.”
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Website: www.canadianlabour.ca. Follow us on Twitter: @CanadianLabour
Contact: Karl Flecker, CLC, Anti-racism and Human Rights, Cell and text: 613-614-7065
Dennis Gruending, CLC Communications: Tel: 613-526-7431 Cell/text: 613-878-6040 Email: email@example.com