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Report/Press release

CCR’s Resolutions on Migrant Workers

Date

2014

Authors

Canadian Council for Refugees

Abstract

Right to unionize and to bargain collectively
Res.: 2 , Nov 2014
Whereas:
The freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are internationally recognized as fundamental principles and rights in the workplace;
Some jurisdictions in Canada effectively prevent workers from unionizing or collectively bargaining based on their immigration status or sector of employment;
Therefore be it resolved:
that the CCR advocate that all workers, regardless of sector of employment or immigration status in Canada, have the right to unionize and to bargain collectively.

Extending labour protections to all workers
Res.: 3 , Nov 2014
Whereas:
In Canada, some workers are excluded from labour protections such as labour standards and workers compensation, health and safety protections and effective anti-reprisals protections, based on their immigration status;
Some jurisdictions in Canada explicitly exclude categories of workers such as domestic workers and agricultural workers, who are disproportionately migrant workers;
Therefore be it resolved:
that the CCR advocate that all workers regardless of status in Canada and of type of work have access to the full range of labour rights and protections, including provincial labour and employment standards, health and safety standards, and workers compensation.

Expanding economic immigration to workers of all skill levels
Res.: 1 , Nov 2014
Whereas:
The rampant expansion and continuous demand for the low-skilled (now low-wage) streams of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) make it clear that the labour shortages being filled are long-term and not temporary;
The 2011 rule limiting migrant workers in the low-wage stream of the TFWP (previously known as the low-skilled pilot project) to four years of work in Canada, was intended to reinforce the temporary nature of the program, despite the continuing nature of the demand;
The above time limits, which only apply to workers in the low-wage stream, exacerbate existing vulnerabilities;
Canada’s traditional immigration approach was focused on nation-building through permanent immigration that met the broad range of labour needs across the Canadian economy; all workers were part of the national project;
Canada’s shift towards temporary labour migration promotes a two-tiered, stratified society;
Therefore be it resolved:
that the CCR call for Canada’s economic immigration program to be expanded to reflect the broad social, cultural, linguistic and environmental needs of the Canadian labour market by including workers of all skill levels.

Caregivers, Live-in Status and Family Reunification
Res.: 4 , Nov 2011
Whereas:
The live-in caregiver program currently requires workers to live in the employer’s home;
Living in the employer’s home creates a greater possibility for sexual and labour exploitation;
The program does not allow family members to accompany the worker until they fulfill their required hours, thereby leading to family separation for a minimum period of 2 years;
Therefore be it resolved:
that the CCR request that:

“The live-in” requirement be removed from the conditions of the program;
Caregivers’ families be allowed to accompany them or join them in Canada at any point during their participation in the program.
Equitable Enforcement
Res.: 4 , Nov 2010
Whereas:
Temporary Foreign Workers are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse with numerous documented cases;
Their vulnerability is increased by contraventions of IRPA committed by employers and recruiters;
There are limited or no resources for mandatory monitoring and enforcement;
When there is no system of enforcement, Temporary Foreign Workers are the ones penalized, resulting in further victimization;
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR:

Advocate for provincial governments to protect Temporary Foreign Workers’ rights through workplace audits and enforcement of appropriate legislation, including criminal, against employers and recruiters.
Advocate that the federal government:
Prosecute recruiters and employers who contravene IRPA.
Put in place a mechanism and systems to protect rather than penalize Temporary Foreign Workers who have contravened IRPA as a result of victimization by recruiters and employers;
Enter into international agreements whereby Canada and the source countries of Temporary Foreign Workers agree to prohibit the charging to the workers of recruitment and placement fees.
No to the changes on timelines in Temporary Foreign Workers Program
Res.: 2 , Nov 2010
Whereas:
Changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to be implemented in April 2011 will impose a four year limit on the stay of Temporary Foreign Workers and a four year delay before they are able to participate again in the program;
This will increase the undocumented workforce and thus increase the vulnerability of workers;
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR oppose the limit on duration of Temporary Foreign Workers’ stay and the imposed time period to re-apply for the program.

Mandatory Monitoring System on Temporary Foreign Workers
Res.: 3 , Nov 2010
Whereas:
The monitoring system implemented by CIC as part of recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program is voluntary and therefore ineffective;
Abuses of Temporary Foreign Workers by employers are widespread and have been well documented;
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR advocate that the federal government enforce a mandatory monitoring system for the employers of Temporary Foreign Workers.

Temporary Foreign Workers and Welcoming Communities Initiative
Res.: 3 , Dec 2009
Whereas:
The federal Temporary Foreign Workers Program frustrates the attempts of communities to attract and retain population permanently, and contradicts the goals of CIC’s Welcoming Communities Initiative and similar initiatives of other jurisdictions;
The goals of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act promote immigration to build the future of Canada;
The CCR supports access to permanent residency for temporary workers;
Many concerns have been raised about lack of equitable access for temporary workers to permanent residency through the underutilized Canadian Experience Class;
Therefore be it resolved:
That CCR advocate for the federal Temporary Foreign Workers Program to be brought into alignment with the Welcoming Communities Initiative’s and similar initiatives of other jurisdictions goals of cohesiveness, social inclusiveness and retention of population permanently.

Temporary Foreign Workers
Res.: 4 , May 2008
Whereas:
The Temporary Foreign Worker program has greatly expanded;
There have been numerous incidents of worker abuse and exploitation;
When spouses and children accompany Temporary Foreign Workers, there are very limited options for them;
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR request CIC:

To stop restricting Temporary Foreign Workers to specific named employers, giving them the same rights to labour mobility as other Canadian workers;
Issue work permits to accompanying spouses and children of Temporary Foreign Workers.
Canadian Experience Class
Res.: 2 , May 2008
Whereas:
CIC is considering implementing a new “Canadian Experience” Class;
CIC has indicated that this proposed new class will be restricted to highly skilled workers;
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR:

Express to CIC that this class be open to all applicants regardless of skill level.
Express to the Quebec government that it should to give temporary foreign workers access to permanent residence class without regard to skill levels.
Formally adopt the position paper prepared for the consultation with CIC on the proposed class as its formal position on the class.
Right to permanent residence for migrant workers
Res.: 4 , Nov 2007
Whereas:
Emphasis on temporary rather than permanent migration creates a class of vulnerable and disposable workers;
Canada’s immigration program should be revised to ensure that those who are able and willing to fill labour market needs can qualify as immigrants;
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR demand that all those with temporary work permits, in all the different classes, have the right to apply for permanent resident status at the same time as they apply for the work permit, and should have the right to bring family members as is currently being done in Ontario for the Provincial Nominee Program.

Migrant and temporary workers
Res.: 6 , Nov 2005
Whereas:
The Canadian government denies seasonal agricultural workers and foreign temporary workers the right to apply for permanent residence status through these programs;
This right is available through the live-in caregiver program;
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR demand:

Access to secure permanent resident status for these workers and their families.
Improved working and housing conditions for these workers.
That provincial governments enforce the rights guaranteed to migrant workers under provincial employment and human right laws, rather than abdicating this responsibility to foreign governments.
Temporary Work Permits – Rights of workers
Res.: 4 , Nov 2004
Whereas:
Workers on temporary work permits are not aware of their rights under the program and the charter;
Many workers are not permitted by employers to retain their personal documentation such as passport, return air ticket and health card.
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR demand that CIC and HRSDC:

Ensure that temporary workers are fully informed of their rights under the program before or when they enter Canada;
Ensure that temporary workers are given control of their own papers.
Temporary Work Permits – Terms and conditions
Res.: 3 , Nov 2004
Whereas:
CIC changes the terms and conditions of temporary work permit programs every year;
This information is not made available to NGOs or others that try to assist individuals on temporary work permits.
Therefore be it resolved:
That the CCR demand that CIC to make any change in terms and conditions publicly available as soon as such changes are made.

Series title

CCR’s Resolutions on Migrant Workers

Responsible institution

Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés / Canadian Council for Refugees

File Attachments

Links

Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Policy analysis, Support initiatives, and Systemic/state violation of right/freedom

Target groups

(Im)migrants workers, Public awareness, Researchers, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

Canada, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Other provinces, Federal, Nova Scotia, and National relevance

Languages

English