UFCW Local 401

UFCW Local 401

January 09, 2015 14:38 ET

Noralta Lodge Evicting Temporary Foreign Workers

Labour Groups Condemn Lodge for Using and Discarding Vulnerable Workers

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Jan. 9, 2015) - Dozens of Temporary Foreign Workers are being kicked out onto the street by an abusive employer.

The workers, who had been living at company housing facilities while working for Noralta Lodge, have been terminated and are being evicted for no apparent reason.

"This is a classic example of how temporary foreign workers get caught in the middle of the flaws with this program," UFCW Local 401 President Doug O'Halloran said. "These workers come here to work hard and contribute, but get hung out to dry by abusive employers like Noralta Lodge."

In November, the federal government imposed a two-year ban against Noralta Lodge for misuse and abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Continuing its abusive behavior, Noralta Lodge has used the ban to justify terminating approximately 100 temporary foreign workers.

"Noralta Lodge has been prohibited from bringing in more Temporary Foreign Workers - but that shouldn't affect the workers who are already here," O'Halloran said. "The company is lashing out at vulnerable workers, kicking them out of their housing facilities and punishing them for the company's misdeeds."

"How we've been treated is very disappointing," said Roberto Puga, a temporary foreign worker from Chile. "We were told we were going to be part of the Noralta Lodge family and we gave 110 percent to our work for the company. But suddenly things have changed and we're paying for those changes through no fault of our own."

In December, Employment Minister Jason Kenney introduced changes to the Program in response to public outcry. Critics say that the changes are nothing more than a public relations strategy and do nothing to address the core problems with the Program.

"The Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been consistently used to mistreat temporary foreign workers and drive down wages in Alberta and Canada," AFL President Gil McGowan said. "The program needs to be abolished. But when the Temporary Foreign Worker program is being shut down, it needs to be done in a way that respects the rights of the people who have come to Canada to work."

UFCW Local 401 and the Alberta Federation of Labour believe the Temporary Foreign Worker Program should be scrapped and the government should invest in real employment opportunities for Canadian and temporary foreign workers alike that include paths to permanent residency for foreign workers.

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