When: 14th July, at 10:45 a.m.
Where: In front of 800 Square Victoria, Montréal, QC H3C 1E8
Who: The Coalition against Precarious Work
On Monday 14th July a coalition of organizations that defend the rights of workers struggling against precarious work which are the Temporary Agency Workers Association, Temporary Foreign Workers Association, PINAY, Immigrant Workers Centre of Montreal, Dignidad Migrante, “Mexican united for the regularization”, and The Spanish Immigrants Collective of Montreal will deliver a letter to the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion of Quebec Kathleen Weil regarding the recent Federal govermnent changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP). This action is to seek a response from the minister about how the provincial government should be vocal in its response to demand better protection for migrant workers given that the federal changes to the program will entrench precarity even further for migrants and drive down labour conditions for all.
This delivery is made to ask for a public meeting with the Minister regarding the recent changes in these programs. The Coalition considers these changes are ambiguous and with unclear effects upon foreign worker rights and upon other Quebec workers.
Some of the modifications include that the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is increasing from $275 to $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer. This measure will decrease possibilities of migrant workers to find employment if they stop working with an employer, and search for new work. This measure also increases their vulnerability and the pressure to accept work and labour conditions more and more hard and precarious. But also the new LMIA -which replaces the LMO- is more rigorous than their predecessor, then finding a new job or employer for migrant workers will be harder.
At the same time, the duration of work permits will be reduced from the current two-year standard duration to one-year periods as set out in the Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) which means more reduction of migrant workers´ possibilities to find a job in Canada. But also employers seeking to hire high-wage temporary foreign workers will now be required to submit transition plans to demonstrate how they will increase efforts to hire Canadians, including through higher wages, investments in training, and more active recruitment efforts to recruit Canadians within Canada. This measure obviously is creating worst conditions for foreign workers to compete and access to better paid jobs and with less precarity.
In this sense, the new regulations worsen the work conditions and labour rights of foreign workers. As Noé Arteaga says “The debate about the abuses made against foreign workers has been manipulated by the government and the conservative and traditional media. They make believe to the population that the “abuses” are the excesses employers and enterprises do using too much the programs, then displacing and taking jobs from Canadian citizens. Actually the abuses are those made by enterprises and employers against foreign workers inside the programs”. In the case of the Live-in Caregiver Program, there is uncertainty among workers about the possible changes to come. According to Jasmin Calzada, member of PINAY, “it is unclear which modifications the Live-in Caregiver Program will suffer and how workers of this program will be affected.”