Worker's body stuck in Alberta: Confusion over who should pay to get body of foreign worker home

The death of a temporary foreign worker in Alberta is raising questions about who should pay to ship his body home.

Aruna Shantha Peiris, 37, died of a heart attack two weeks ago. The Sri Lankan worked at Denny's Restaurant. Now his friends are trying to raise enough money - about $10,000 - to send his body home to his widow.

Lal Weera, a member of Edmonton's Sri Lankan community, called the Alberta government for help.

"I talked to Service Alberta and I asked this question, 'Who's responsible to pay the money to send his body?' So they say they don't have any clue."

An official with Alberta Employment and Immigration told CBC News repatriating the body is a federal responsibility. The federal government has not responded to inquiries from the CBC.

In the meantime, community members have raised $6,000. Weera said it's a shame the government isn't stepping up.

"You know from my eyes I can see there's no human rights for these people," he said.

The Alberta Federation of Labour said the confusion is typical of the temporary foreign worker program.

"There are almost no safeguards at all for people and for workers who unfortunately die here, there's nothing," said Yesse Byl, a foreign worker advocate with the AFL.

"There's no responsibility for the government or the employer to reunite the family with the body. There's just simply nothing."

CBC, Mon Oct 18 2010

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.