UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

October 22, 2009 17:14 ET

New Provincial Legislation Grants Some Protection to Live-In-Caregivers but Fails to Protect Other Migrant Workers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2009) - This week the Ontario government introduced Bill 210 - proposed legislation that would prevent recruitment agencies from charging recruitment fees to live-in-caregivers. Exorbitant fees charged to temporary foreign workers for placement in a job can range in the thousands of dollars.

The proposed legislation comes as a response to calls by advocacy groups, community organizations and unions for an end to the often brutal exploitation of live-in-caregivers. Bill 210 would also prohibit the taking and retaining of passports and other identity documents from caregivers.

"This legislation is an important first step towards granting live-in-caregivers some of the protections that are available to other workers in this province. Organizations such as the Workers Action Centre and the Caregivers Action Centre must be commended on a vigorous and successful public campaign," stated Wayne Hanley, the national president of UFCW Canada.

"There is however a lot that must still be done. Once again, the McGuinty Liberals have left tens of thousands of other migrant workers in the cold without any similar protections. At the very least, we need to expand this legislation to address the needs of the thousands of agriculture, hotel, hospitality and food service workers who are here under various temporary work programs," added Hanley.

"While this legislation shows that the Ontario government can be responsive to strong public pressure, it does not remedy the fact that the McGuinty Liberals continue to deny agriculture workers the right to collective bargaining - a right recognized by the Ontario Court of Appeal," explained UFCW Canada Director of Human Rights, Naveen Mehta.

"It is imperative that the Ontario government step in to properly protect all migrant workers in this province. As it stands now, Temporary Foreign Workers programs administered by the federal government - including the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program - place workers in increasingly precarious positions by tying them to a single employer, denying them immediate permanent residency status and making them vulnerable to repatriation at the employers hands," added Mehta.

As Canada's largest private-sector union, UFCW Canada has been vigorously advocating for the rights of migrant workers across Canada for almost two decades. In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) (www.awa-ata.ca), UFCW Canada also operates nine agriculture worker support centres across Canada.

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