TORONTO, April 8, 2014 /CNW/ - A new report from the Metcalf Foundation
reveals how migrant workers are paying thousands of dollars in
recruiting fees - equal to as much as two to three years' wages in
their home currency - to work in minimum wage jobs in Ontario.
Even though a 2009 Ontario law prohibits recruitment fees for live-in
caregivers, 2/3 of them have paid fees since the law took effect. Nearly 1 in 5 arrives to find the job they were
promised does not exist, yet they remain indebted to informal money
lenders. Meanwhile migrant workers in other "lower skilled" jobs and
in agriculture are completely unprotected by the law and are targeted
by similar predatory practices.
Profiting from the Precarious: How Recruitment Practices Exploit Migrant
Workers explores the experiences of low-wage migrant workers in private
recruitment. The report analyses how widespread abusive recruitment
practices undermine workers' rights long after they arrive in Ontario
and demonstrates how Ontario's complaint-based law fails to provide
"The gap between the promise of the law and the reality of ongoing
exploitation is vast," said Fay Faraday the report's author, a
respected constitutional, labour, and human rights lawyer.
While individual workers typically pay fees of $4,000 to $10,000 - and
in some cases even more - data from the Ministry of Labour acquired
through a Freedom of Information request reveals that from 2010-2013 a
total of only $12,100 in illegal fees was recovered under Ontario's Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act.
"A key weakness in Ontario's approach is that the law depends on workers
in extremely precarious situations to file complaints," said Faraday.
"Proactive legislation, like that pioneered in Manitoba and enhanced in
Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, is more consistent with existing
international guidelines, and in practice gives workers more meaningful
Profiting from the Precarious examines international and domestic best practice models based on
mandatory recruiter licensing, mandatory security deposits, disclosure
of a recruiter's full supply chain in Canada and abroad, employer
registration and robust proactive enforcement by the provincial
employment standards branch. It examines changes that would improve
protection for the most vulnerable of migrant workers.
Sandy Houston, President & CEO of the Metcalf Foundation, calls on the
Ontario government to take another look at how to best protect the
growing number of exploited migrant workers.
"We have seen the evidence that strong provincial legislation can change
recruitment practices on the ground," said Houston. "Ontario currently
has two bills coming up that touch on recruitment fees, making this an
ideal time to open up the discussion on this important subject."
To download the report, visit: www.metcalffoundation.com.
SOURCE: Metcalf Foundation
For further information:
Adriana Beemans, Metcalf Foundation (647) 969-0297 firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne-Marie Flanagan, Flanagan & Associates (416) 735-3690 email@example.com