16 May, 2013The United Steelworkers (USW) launches a new campaign entitled « Give everyone a Chance for Canada’s Future”. The campaign denounces how the Harper government, in partnership with corporations, is flooding Canada with low-wage and highly vulnerable temporary workers from abroad recruited through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
"As a union representing 225,000 workers and their families, we have a dual responsibility to ensure Canadian wages and working conditions are not undermined by a permanent class of highly exploited and low-wage workers," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director. "We also demand that workers coming to our country are treated with dignity and respect."
A central objective of the campaign is to bring about much needed protections for temporary workers in Canada. These include:
· providing a clear and faster path to permanent residency and citizenship, especially for lower-skilled workers
· ensuring that temporary workers have the same rights as citizens
· stronger and stricter penalties for employers who violate temporary worker provisions.
Since 2008, the number of temporary foreign workers has increased by 24,000 or 60% in Toronto, 18,000 or 70% in Quebec, and 5,000 or 80% in the Atlantic provinces. The TFWP, established in 1973, allows employers to hire workers from other countries for temporary employment when Canadians or permanent residents are not readily available or when the entry of foreign workers is likely to have a positive impact on the Canadian labour market. However companies and employers have been abusing the program. As of 2012, this program accounted for nearly 340,000 temporary workers.
Under the TFWP, the right of temporary workers to stay and work in Canada is tied to a single employer, making them particularly vulnerable. There have been numerous and well-publicized abuses of foreign workers.
Information on the campaign can be found at www.everyoneschance.ca