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Protection for Ontario Live-in Caregivers and Temporary Foreign Workers

Date and time

2010.03.22, 9:00 AM

Description

The number of temporary foreign workers (TFW) in Ontario has increased by 55 percent in the past five years. At the same time, the growing gap in protection for these workers has become all too evident. Many temporary foreign workers are forced to put up with violations of their rights because they are in Canada on work permits that tie them to one employer, and don’t provide protection if they are sent back home for complaining about working conditions.

At a provincial level, employment standards must be updated and recruitment practices regulated to reduce the barriers that TFW face in accessing their employment standards rights. TFW also must have the right to collective representation and real access to human rights, health and safety protection and workers’ compensation.

At the federal level, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program needs fundamental reforms to address workers’ precarious immigration status and permit workers to access basic rights and entitlements. Changes that are needed include permanent status for TFW on arrival, an end to employer-specific work permits, a right to equal access to social programs and a fair appeals process for repatriations.

WHAT WE'RE DOING NOW

Legislative Improvements for Live-in Caregivers

As of March 22, 2010 there are new protections for live-in caregivers. The new changes:

Ban fees being charged directly or indirectly by recruiters to live-in-caregivers (e.g., recruitment/placement fees and fees for other supplementary services);

Stop employers from charging or recovering recruitment/placement fees from live-in-caregivers;

Allow live-in-caregivers up to three and a half years to make a complaint on to recover prohibited fees (This is better than the ESA that gives workers 6 months to make claims on unpaid wages);

Prohibit reprisals against live-in caregivers for exercising their rights under the legislation (Bill 210);

Prohibit an employer or recruiter in Ontario from taking possession of a live-in caregiver’s property, including documents such as passports;

Authorize Ministry of Labour employment standards officers to proactively enforce the legislation; and

Provide regulation-making authority to add other classes of temporary foreign workers

After many years of organizing to improve conditions for live-in caregivers, these are important changes that could improve the lives of workers, many of whom are women from racialized communities. Sadly, the new changes only apply to live-in caregivers, and not other vulnerable workers under the Temporary Foreign Workers program.

FIGHTING FOR MORE IMPROVEMENTS

Though the new protections for live-in caregivers is a step forward in protecting the rights of vulnerable workers, there is still much work to be done. The Workers’ Action Centre and its allies will continue to fight for more needed changes, including:

Extending the protections to ALL workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Ensuring employers and recruitment agencies are jointly liable for any prohibited direct or indirect fee charged to workers regardless of where and how the fee was levied.

Extending the 3.5 years time limit to cover all ESA violations for live-in-caregivers and temporary foreign workers.

Read more in the Workers’ Action Centre’s joint submission on Bill 210 and our July 2009 consultation paper on provincial protections needed for Temporary Foreign Workers.

WORKING TOGETHER FOR CHANGE!

WAC is an active member of two coalitions fighting for the rights of all Temporary Foreign Workers: Migrant Workers Alliance for Change and the Caregivers Action Centre. Together we are working to push the provincial and federal governments for real protections for all Temporary Foreign Workers.

Coordinated by

Endorsed by

File Attachments

Links

Economic sectors

Occupations in services - Domestic work

Content types

Policy analysis and Documented cases of abuse

Target groups

(Im)migrants workers, Policymakers, Journalists, Public awareness, Employers, agencies and their representatives, Researchers, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

Ontario

Languages

English