What Is Unjust Recruitment?
Temporary Foreign Workers in BC perform critical work caring for children and the elderly, and helping businesses to grow. Yet, they are often subjected to abuse and exploitation along the recruitment pathway to, and within, BC.
It is illegal to charge people money for finding a job in BC. Yet, recruiters routinely charge Temporary Foreign Workers thousands of dollars in illegal recruitment fees for jobs in BC that are often different than promised or do not exist at all. To pay recruitment fees, workers typically borrow money, and end up in debt when they arrive in Canada.
The combination of high debt, low pay, temporary immigration status, and work permits that are tied to one single employer make Temporary Foreign Workers vulnerable to abuse by employers and recruiters. Temporary Foreign Workers fear the very real repercussions of being fired by their employer and deported if they assert their rights or complain about poor treatment or work conditions.
What is the Rising Up Against Unjust Recruitment campaign?
The Rising Up Against Unjust Recruitment campaign calls on the BC government to take urgent steps to stop the abuse of Temporary Foreign Workers in our province. In particular, BC must take steps to stop recruiters and employers from charging unlawful fees and to help workers to recover these fees more easily. Six other provinces have implemented legislation to better protect migrant workers, including enhanced regulation of recruiters and proactive enforcement. Despite bringing in the second highest number of TFWs, BC continues to lag behind.
We demand that the provincial government take the following action:
Enact new legislation to protect temporary foreign workers. Require that recruiters of temporary foreign workers be licensed in BC and pay a financial security at the time of licensing, hold employers liable for the actions of their agents, and increase the limitation period for filing complaints with the Employment Standards Branch to 3 years.
Implement a proactive enforcement regime. Make employers register with the province, hold recruiters liable for the actions of agents operating outside of BC, mandate inspections of workplaces and housing, investigate anonymous and third party complaints, and increase penalties for violations of the Employment Standards Act.
Provide access to information and advocacy. Require that employers facilitate access to free information sessions for workers about their rights. Form an advisory to assist workers with filing complaints as well as establish a 24 hour help line.