Spread the love

Ottawa reluctant to allow migrant workers to change employers

Photo: Spencer Colby The Canadian Press Employers “expect that a certain workforce will come and work in their fields, in their factories or whatever, and then [the hired temporary workers] will go elsewhere once they have come… that’s the risk,” said Minister Marc Miller.

The Trudeau government is not committing, as requested by a Senate committee, to gradually getting rid of “closed” work permits, tied to a single company, for temporary foreign workers.

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, indicated Wednesday that he is “not against, in principle” giving these foreign workers the right to choose their employer in Canada. He added, however, that he has “a certain reluctance to destabilize the market.”

“Farmers, farmers or others who invest capital expect that A certain workforce comes to work in their fields, in their factories or elsewhere. Then [hired temporary workers] go elsewhere as soon as they came… that’s the risk,” said Minister Miller.

Created in 1973, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the TFWP, aims to fill positions for which no qualified Canadian worker is available. Fifty years later, the Canadian economy is heavily dependent on this migrant workforce, documents a report tabled in the Senate last week.

Also read

  • Workers here all year round, temporary workers always
  • Dismissed on closed permits, temporary workers find themselves in an impasse
  • A new legal challenge against federal closed work permits

More than 135,000 foreign workers arrive in Canada each year, including nearly 35,000 in Quebec, to join a particular company for a time. These “closed permits” effectively prevent workers from simply changing jobs, even if they do not receive their pay or are victims of mistreatment.

By sector and region, rather than by employer ?

The Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology therefore recommended that the federal government gradually eliminate work permits linked to a specific employer and replace them with work permits linked to a region and a sector of the economy.

This would, for example, allow a temporary worker who came to work in a fish processing plant in the Atlantic to change jobs to another fish processing plant in the region.

“The overwhelming majority of migrant workers, rights advocates, academics and economists said that work permits tied to a particular employer caused the most glaring vulnerability problem,” the report reads, which calls for action “now”.

Even the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, in a preliminary report submitted last summer, had recommended that Canada allow workers “to freely choose their employers without any restrictions or discrimination.”

Minister Marc Miller agrees that the system in place “is not the ideal one”, but he questions the idea that closed work permits are at the root of abuse by some employers. “Whether this is the right way to stop abuse ? That’s another question. If there are people who abuse their employees, that is a social issue that perhaps needs to be resolved in another way,” he said, before promising to read the senatorial report that has been on his desk for a week.

The senators also suggest that the government create a commission to deal with workers' complaints and employers' requests at the same time. , who are also dissatisfied with the current system because of bureaucratic delays.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116