TORONTO, May 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Raising wages for workers in the temporary
foreign workers program and increasing the fees paid by companies is a
good start, but does nothing to make the workers any less vulnerable,
Unifor National President Jerry Dias says.
"This program takes advantage of the desperation of workers in other
countries, forcing them to leave their families for jobs in Canada,"
Dias said, adding that promises to crack down on abuses of the program
don't address its fundamental problems.
Dias called for the program to transition into one that allows the
workers involved to stay in Canada permanently. Canada has a long and
proud history of people coming here to build a better life for their
families, said Dias.
"The difference is that they could build that life with their families.
The workers in this program deserve the same opportunity," Dias said.
"If they are good enough to work here, they are good enough to live
here with their families."
Workers in the program can only stay in Canada as long as their work
permits allow. They cannot bring their families with them, and most are
barred from applying for citizenship. If they lose their jobs, they
face being told to leave the country.
Dias called on the Harper government to allow any temporary foreign
workers already in Canada, or who have arranged to come, to apply to
"Part of making this fair is to ensure that the workers already involved
with the program are treated fairly and given the opportunity to come
to Canada permanently - with their families," Dias said.
As well, Dias said, workers in the program should have full access to
the same rights and protections in Canadian law as all workers in this
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing
more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when
the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers union merged.
For further information:
please contact Unifor Communications Director Sarah Blackstock at Sarah.Blackstock@Unifor.org or (cell) 416-949-1072, or Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.