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Report/Press release

Federal government backing away from cleaning up Temporary foreign worker program

Date

2014-01-28

Authors

National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)

Responsible institution

National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)

Full text

“As soon as they think no one is watching, this federal government is going to back away from any measures that might protect Canadians and foreign workers from abuses of the TFWP.” - James Clancy, NUPGE National President.

Ottawa (28 Jan. 2014) – Recent media reports suggest measures intended to reduce the abuse of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) are being undermined.

A recent Globe and Mail article suggested measures to force companies to prove they've made an effort to hire or train Canadians before they can use the TFWP may be scrapped after lobbying from business groups. This comes less than a month after the federal government scrapped plans to prevent those convicted of human trafficking, sexual abuse or causing death to employees from participating in the TFWP.

A New Years Day announcement means someone is trying to hide something

“It was New Years Day when the federal government revealed that it was backing away from its commitment to prevent human traffickers and those who sexually assaulted or caused the death of their employees from participating in the TFWP”, said James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). “As soon as they think no one is watching, this federal government is going to back away from any measures that might protect Canadians and foreign workers from abuses of the TFWP.”

Changes to the TFWP were announced last year after high profile abuses of the program were revealed. At the time the labour movement and groups representing migrant workers were concerned that the changes did not address problems with the program. These problems include the abuse of migrant workers and the lack of regulations to prevent the use of the TFWP to push down wages and working conditions for Canadians.

Government speaking out of both sides of its mouth

At the same time the federal government is backing away from measures to reduce the abuse of the TFWP, Stephen Harper is criticizing abuses. But as his governments' actions show, his expressions of anger about abuses of the TFWP are about winning votes rather than making sure Canadian workers and those from other countries get fair pay and decent working conditions.

"What we'd like to see is honest action by the Conservative government to stop the abuses in this program and improve the treatment of temporary foreign workers," Clancy concluded. "Canadian and migrant workers deserve better than more double talk."

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups

Public awareness and Unions

Geographical focuses

Federal and National relevance

Spheres of activity

Political science

Languages

English