From the Workers Action Centre
The Ministry of Labour announced in April that it would be introducing legislation this fall to regulate recruitment agencies and fees charged to live-in caregivers and foreign temporary workers. This announcement is in response to the extensive media attention that caregivers got in the Toronto Star and elsewhere exposing the outrageous fees of $5,000 to $10,000 that agencies are charging caregivers and other foreign workers for jobs in Ontario. Workers also exposed patterns of passports being seized, bogus job scams and working conditions way below minimum standards.
Based on the consultation and our meeting with the policy staff this week, it seems like we may see changes in the following areas:
- Prohibition of fees charged to temporary foreign workers and other job seekers (may also close the gap left by temp bill 139 and stop fees for permanent job placement);
- Prohibition on employers of caregivers and foreign temp workers from charging workers for the cost of recruiting them;
- Prohibit employers from cutting workers wages and forcing long hours with little pay.
- Set up a system of licensing recruitment agencies and requiring employers of foreign temp workers to register with the Ministry of Labour.
Provincial changes cannot address the federal foreign temporary worker program that creates the conditions for exploitation that many workers face. However, provincial changes can make small improvements and build confidence to fight for the larger changes.
We’re asking people to support caregivers and foreign temp workers by making submissions to press for the best possible Bill on foreign worker recruitment and employment.
- Make a submission to the Ministry of Labour Consultation. Deadline is August 21, 2009.
- If your organization is participating in meetings with the Ministry of Labour on this issue, let us know so we can track the consultation process.
Please feel free to use the comprehensive submission developed by the Caregivers’ Action Centre, which has provided a lead in recent efforts for caregivers, Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services. The submission is posted on the Workers’ Action Centre website.