HANSARD: Presenting petitions on foreign temporary workers

House of Commons Hansard #248 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session
Work Permits
Routine Proceedings
November 7th, 2023 / 10:10 a.m.

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, in the petition I am tabling today, the petitioners note that in 2009, the immigration committee report on temporary foreign workers and non-status workers recommended that the government discontinue employer-specific work permits. They also note that in 2016, the HUMA committee report on the temporary foreign workers program found that “employer-specific work permits can place migrant workers in a vulnerable position with negative implications for their physical and mental well-being.” It recommended that immediate steps be taken to eliminate employer-specific work permits.

In 2019, Canada acknowledged that employer-specific work permits create a power imbalance that “favours the employer and can result in a migrant worker enduring situations of misconduct, abuse or other forms of employer retribution” when it implemented the open work permit for vulnerable workers, OWP-V, policy. Since then, numerous regulatory reforms attempting to improve the protection of temporary foreign workers, including the OWP-V policy, have failed to meaningfully counteract the high risk of abuse imposed on workers by employer-specific work permits.

The petitioners are calling for a just and equitable immigration system that provides full and permanent status to all workers coming to Canada, and regularization programs for those currently without status. In the interim, the petitioners are calling on the government to eliminate, without delay, the employer-specific work permit and adopt a work authorization regime that permits temporary foreign workers to freely change employers while in the country regardless of their occupation or national origin.

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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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