Toronto 18/06/2009 – The Conservative government is introducing legislation which it claims will help protect foreign workers from exploitation and abuse. The amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) will allow officials to deny work permits to temporary foreign workers.

“This legislation does nothing more than further victimize workers who want to come to Canada,” says Wayne Hanley, the national president of UFCW Canada.
“Once again the Conservatives are putting the blame on the workers, rather than on unscrupulous employers and the lack of proper government monitoring and enforcement measures to protect Temporary Foreign Workers.”

This is the second time that the Conservatives have introduced such a bill to amend the IRPA. The last incarnation of the bill died with the October 2009 election.

“Community groups and temporary foreign worker advocates have already expressed our concerns with this bill. Slapping a new sticker on the same old package does not change the substance of this legislation,” exclaimed Naveen Mehta, UFCW Canada Director of Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity. “There are no shortcuts to the protection of rights.  If the government is truly interested in protecting foreign workers, then they would grant permanent residency to these vulnerable workers – rather than punishing them for the actions of bad employers and recruiters.”

As Canada’s largest private-sector union, UFCW Canada has been advocating for the rights of temporary foreign workers across Canada for almost two decades.
In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada also operates nine agriculture worker support centres across Canada, including one in Leamington, Ontario.  These centres have provided assistance to tens of thousands of workers since the first centre opened its doors in 2002.

In Solidarity/Solidairement,

Naveen P. Mehta, Lawyer/Avocat
Director, Human Rights, Equity and Diversity
Directeur, Droits de la personne, Équité et Diversité

United Food and Commercial Workers Canada /
Travailleurs et travailleuses unis de l’alimentation et du commerce Canada


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