It's time to stop Harper's low-wage agenda for Canadians and develop a
real alternative to Conservatives' scandal-ridden foreign worker
TORONTO, May 14, 2014 /CNW/ - It's time for a complete overhaul of the
Harper Conservatives' scandal-ridden Temporary Foreign Worker Program
to stop the suppression of Canadian workers' wages and the exploitation
of foreign workers, says the United Steelworkers (USW).
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) must be replaced, while
temporary workers already in Canada should be eligible for open work
permits so they can keep their current jobs or seek employment
elsewhere, the USW says.
"We have to put an end to the Harper government's pipeline of low-wage
labour that is taking jobs from Canadians and preventing real wages
from rising," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.
"And we must be sensitive to the plight of workers who were brought to
Canada by employers using - and often abusing - the Temporary Foreign
Worker Program," Neumann said.
"It is unfair to impose a sudden and complete suspension of the program
without giving hundreds of thousands of temporary workers the right to
remain in Canada."
The USW believes that full immigrant status will eliminate the total
control that employers can exert on temporary foreign workers, which
has led to shameful abuses. Immigrant status will allow temporary
workers to participate in the workforce with full rights and give them
the opportunity to apply for permanent residency and eventual
The USW criticizes the Conservative government's reform efforts which
provide no assurances that Canadians are given the first opportunity at
jobs and which offer no protections to temporary workers, with few
enforcement mechanisms to catch abusive employers.
Most abuses have come to light to as a result of media reports, rather
than any effective government oversight and enforcement. Rather than
addressing the issue in depth, the Harper government has been applying
band-aids as a damage-control strategy.
The USW is working with the Canadian Labour Congress, other unions,
immigrant groups and the NDP to develop responsible federal and
provincial government immigration reforms to protect all workers in
The USW first exposed how Canadians were passed over for jobs at HD
mining in Tumbler Ridge, B.C., and was the first organization to offer
direct support to RBC workers who were losing their jobs that were
being relocated to India. More recently the USW has assisted temporary
workers complaining of abuse by employers at Tim Hortons and Subway
franchises in British Columbia.
For more information on the USW's campaign to overhaul the TFWP, visit www.everyoneschance.ca.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, email@example.com