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Report/Press release

Access to Justice for Migrant Workers in British Columbia

Date

2013-07-30

Authors

West Coast Domestic Workers Association

Abstract

Acknowledgements
West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association (WCDWA) would like to sincerely thank all the migrant workers who kindly volunteered their time to participate in this project. This report would not have been possible without their willingness to share their personal experiences and opinions. Their input has guided the research and writing of this report and their concerns and suggestions are built into its recommendations. This report is dedicated to you.
WCDWA would also like to thank Lucy Luna, Jamie Luna and Eddie with the Agricultural Workers Alliance, as well as Jane Ordinario and Erie Maestro with Migrante BC, for their collaboration and support in connecting us with migrant workers and hosting our focus group discussions. We are grateful for their guidance, advice and patience.
WCDWA extends its gratitude to Adriana Reitzler who conducted the research, coordinated the project and wrote the report. Her work on the report was invaluable. WCDWA thanks Alisha Bell for getting the ball rolling with the project. WCDWA also extends its sincere gratitude to Chris Morris for his assistance in the writing and editing of the report and Ai Li Lim for guiding the project, writing and editing the report.
Finally, WCDWA would like to acknowledge and thank the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) and the Notary Foundation of BC for their financial support and for believing in the project.

Number of pages

46

Responsible institution

West Coast Domestic Workers' Association

Full text

Introduction
West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association (WCDWA) is a non-profit association in its 27th year of operation. The organization facilitates access to justice for migrant workers who enter Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) by offering legal assistance, legal information and advocacy to current and former live-in caregivers. Each year the organization handles over 3000 legal matters for live-in caregivers. WCDWA’s legal advocates and staff lawyer provide assistance for issues ranging from loss of immigration status to employment standards complaints before various tribunals and decision making bodies such as Employment Standards Branch, Federal Court and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
In recent years, the organization has experienced a sharp increase in requests for legal assistance from other migrant workers, often referred to as Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), who enter Canada through CIC’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). With few exceptions, migrant workers that enter Canada through the TFWP do not have a pathway to permanent residence.
Migrant workers are an integral component of the BC workforce and economy. However, despite their contributions to BC society, they are uniquely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, largely stemming from the temporary nature of their migrant worker status. Many ‘semi’ and ‘lower-skilled’ workers earning minimum wage are not able to afford legal representation when they encounter legal difficulties.1 Temporary foreign workers typically do not have access to provincial settlement services and programs because they are not immigrants.

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Links

Economic sectors

Occupations in services - Domestic work

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups

Researchers, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

British Columbia

Spheres of activity

Law

Languages

English