Protest Targets Conservative Low-Wage Strategy, Foreign Worker Abuse

SIMCOE, ON, June 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Community leaders and labour activists demonstrated outside Conservative cabinet Minister Diane Finley's Simcoe office today to protest the Harper government's low-wage economic strategy for Canada.

Dozens of demonstrators called for comprehensive reform of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which the Harper government has used to exploit foreign workers and suppress wages, training and job opportunities across the country.

"Stephen Harper and his corporate friends continue to exploit temporary foreign workers as a key part of their low-wage economic model for our country," said Tony DePaulo, assistant to the Ontario Director of the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

"The Harper government has taken the failed Liberal Temporary Foreign Worker Program and mismanaged it into a tool that suppresses workers' rights," said NDP MP Wayne Marston (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek), the Official Opposition's Human Rights Critic.

The Harper government continues to deny temporary foreign workers a clear path to permanent residency and citizenship, Marston said.

"You can't say that anyone who is worthy to work in our country is not worthy to live in our country," he said. "These workers are trying to do better by their families. We need to do better by them."

"Not only are foreign workers being exploited, but at the same time workers are not being trained for jobs here in Canada," said Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan. "This is unacceptable in an era of massively high unemployment among young people."

Today's protest is part of the Give Everyone A Chance for Canada's Future campaign launched by the United Steelworkers. For more information on the campaign, go to www.everyoneschance.ca.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-5968, 416-570-9984,  aeshelman@usw.ca
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, 647-522-1630, dstpierre@usw.ca


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