Temporary foreign workers in BC contribute to the economy by providing care for families, and helping businesses to grow.
It is illegal to charge people money for finding a job in BC. Yet, third party recruiters routinely charge temporary foreign workers thousands of dollars in unlawful 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 with the result that they are indebted upon entry to Canada. Recruitment debt, coupled with their precarious immigration status, make temporary foreign workers vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.
We, the undersigned, call on the Government of British Columbia to:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Provide access to information and advocacy. Require that employers facilitate access to free information sessions for workers about their rights. Establish advisory offices to assist workers with filing complaints and a 24 hour help line.