Edmonton - The Alberta Federation of Labour reacted with guarded optimism to the Government's new measures announced today to protect temporary foreign workers.
The two special advisory offices for temporary foreign workers are a welcome - if long overdue - measure," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "The AFL had set up its own temporary foreign workers' advocate office last spring as a result of seeing a desperate need for such a measure."
McGowan also lauded the new investigative role assigned to the eight Employment Standards Officers assigned to investigate complaints by temporary foreign workers and to launch investigations and inspections on their own initiative. "We know from our own experience that many temporary foreign workers are either unaware of their rights or simply afraid to pursue those rights because of fears they will be sent home."
The real problem labour has with the new initiative is that it doesn't deal with the underlying issues surrounding the use of temporary foreign workers. "We are using these workers as disposable commodities to deal with very real inadequacies in our workplace training system and problems with our immigration system," says McGowan. "We are letting employers and government off the hook for failures of the system to train adequate number of workers with required skills and to pay wages and benefits sufficient to attract and retain Canadian workers," says McGowan.
Labour has also been very consistent in its opposition to the temporary foreign worker program, according to McGowan. "We say if these people are good enough to work here, they are good enough to be eligible for Canadian citizenship. The whole rent-a-worker aspect of the program is unacceptable."
For more information contact:
Gil McGowan, AFL President @ 780.483-3021 (office) 780.218-9888 (cell)
Yessy Byl, TFW Advocate @ 780.720-8481 (cell)