MEDIA RELEASE - Migrant workers deserve respect and dignity

People who come here to work deserve dignity and protection. There is no denying that there is a power imbalance in the Temporary Foreign Workers program that has resulted in many migrant workers being exploited, including being subject to wage theft and poor working conditions. We’ve seen the horrors of how TFWs are put in substandard housing, unable to isolate in dense living quarters during the pandemic and unable to speak up until their health was affected. This highlights the ongoing and deep-seated problem with the TFW program.
The findings of a recent damning report by the Auditor General exposed the Liberal government's failure to ensure the health and safety of temporary foreign agricultural workers where Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) provided little assurance that workers were protected during the 2020 and 2021 growing seasons. In fact, even though the Liberals promised they would take action to address this blatant violation of the worker's rights in 2020, the quality of inspections have gotten worse. By adding more TFWs to the system, ESDC will be spread even thinner and struggle even more to ensure the safety of these workers.

April 5th, 2022

Migrant workers deserve respect and dignity

NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Jenny Kwan and NDP Critic for Employment and Workforce Development Daniel Blaikie issued the following statement:

“It is disappointing that the Liberal government has chosen to perpetuate a system that favours abuse and exploitation by increasing their reliance on Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs).
People who come here to work deserve dignity and protection. There is no denying that there is a power imbalance in the Temporary Foreign Workers program that has resulted in many migrant workers being exploited, including being subject to wage theft and poor working conditions. We’ve seen the horrors of how TFWs are put in substandard housing, unable to isolate in dense living quarters during the pandemic and unable to speak up until their health was affected. This highlights the ongoing and deep-seated problem with the TFW program.
The findings of a recent damning report by the Auditor General exposed the Liberal government's failure to ensure the health and safety of temporary foreign agricultural workers where Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) provided little assurance that workers were protected during the 2020 and 2021 growing seasons. In fact, even though the Liberals promised they would take action to address this blatant violation of the worker's rights in 2020, the quality of inspections have gotten worse. By adding more TFWs to the system, ESDC will be spread even thinner and struggle even more to ensure the safety of these workers.
Sadly, the Liberals are only listening to the employers and are disregarding the rights of migrant workers — this is unacceptable. There are over 500,000 people who are already in Canada without permanent status (PR). They range from students to migrant workers to those who are undocumented. Many will be able to fulfill the labour skill shortage if they can access a pathway to permanent residence status.
This is why the NDP continues to call on the government to regularize temporary and undocumented workers in Canada and provide new migrant workers with PR on arrival.”

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