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Migrant worker exploitation case shows why TFWP must be election issue in the fall

News Release

Migrant worker exploitation case shows why TFWP must be election issue in the fall

An Ontario fish processing plant manager has been found liable for the sexual exploitation of two migrant workers who were employed under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The two workers were awarded $200,000 in damages by the Ontario Human Rights council, in a disturbing trial in which they testified that their status under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program made it more difficult for them to stand up to their bosses’ lewd behavior and sexual demands. The case hit the news at the same time that it was disclosed that corporate lobbyists were stepping up a campaign begging government to re-open the migrant worker floodgates.

“Workers need the ability to say ‘no’ to their bosses demands,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “When a migrant worker’s right to stay in Canada depends on keeping their employer happy, some bosses are going to take advantage of that – by demanding that those workers do things that Canadian workers wouldn’t put up with.”

It was reported on Friday, May 29, in The Lobby Monitor — a publication that tracks federal lobbyist activities — that employer groups were stepping up a campaign to increase their ability to bring in pliable and disempowered workers from overseas. According to the Alberta Federation of Labour, voters in Canada need to be ready to make this a ballot issue in the fall.

“The rules that allow the abject exploitation of Temporary Foreign Workers were written by a Conservative Government that puts what their big business friends want ahead of the common good,” McGowan said. “Voters need to ask their candidates where they stand on the TFWP. They need to carefully assess who is complicit in this exploitative program. And they need to cast their ballots accordingly.”

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