AFL consultations find continued inaction on unscrupulous recruiters and
Gil McGowan, President
Nancy Furlong, Secretary Treasurer
EDMONTON, Dec. 16 /CNW/ - The Alberta Federation of Labour released a
report on the results of a consultation workshop on Temporary Foreign
Workers today. (go to http://www.afl.org/index.php/View-document/268-2010-Dec-Report-on-Temporary-Foreign-Workers-in-Alberta.html for full text).
The report details the proceedings of a day-long series of workshops
held with temporary foreign workers, community volunteers,
immigrant-serving agencies, and trade unions. The consultation was in
response to the Department of Employment and Immigration's roundtables
on the subject.
The workshop reported ongoing issues with unscrupulous employers,
recruiters, and labour brokers. Despite provincial government
consultation on how Alberta's laws protecting TFWs from abuse by
recruiters, no action has yet been taken on amendments to Alberta
"Our workshop heard unanimous support for adopting the Manitoba model
for better regulation, monitoring, and enforcement of both employers
and recruitment agencies - a model that better protects temporary
foreign workers," says Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation
The AFL report also makes recommendations about fixing the government's
Temporary Foreign Worker Advisory Office, adding staff to Employment
Standards in order to conduct proactive inspections, and adding
services to TFWs outside Alberta's major cities, where the majority of
TFWs are now working.
The report also details new information on number of TFW entries to
Alberta, and finds that TFW entries in 2009, despite the recession,
were the same as 2007 numbers. Furthermore, TFW entries now
substantially outpace new immigrants, showing that our province has now
become a revolving door for a disposable workforce, rather than a
welcoming place where immigrants come to build their lives.
"Our findings have shown that despite much higher unemployment,
particularly among young Albertans, we continued to bring in thousands
of Temporary Foreign Workers for low-skilled occupations," says
McGowan. "This suggests that the TFW program was never about a labour
shortage. It was - and is - about suppressing normal wage growth for
the lowest-income Albertans and TFWs working in lower-skilled
occupations," adds McGowan.
The Report concludes by recommending that Alberta exercise national
leadership in providing a path to permanent residency for Temporary
Foreign Workers. Alberta should immediately increase the number of TFWs
going through the Provincial Nominee Program.
"In only four years, Alberta has gone from being a place where
immigrants come to build a better life to a province where we use
people for temporary work - often in abusive or exploitative
circumstances, where vulnerable people don't have workplace protections
- and then ship them out.
"Our recommendations are simply a starting point in turning the ship
around, and getting back to a basic understanding of human rights,
sustainable labour market policies, and safer workplaces for everyone
working in Alberta," concludes McGowan.
SOURCE Alberta Federation of Labour
For further information: For further information:
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour @ cell 780-218-9888 or office 780-483-3021