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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