Canada applies modern slavery to foreign workers. Photo/Reuters
OTTAWA – Canada’s temporary foreign worker program that brings up to 60,000 people to Canada annually. UN expert Tomoya Obokata said the program leads to a form of modern slavery.
Why is Canada’s foreign worker program called modern slavery? Here are 4 reasons.
1. Many Cases of Exploitation and Harassment
The UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, said )after a two-week fact-finding visit to the North American country that he was “deeply disturbed by the reports of exploitation and abuse” that migrants told him. workers in Canada.
“Worker-only work permit regimes, including certain Temporary Foreign Worker Programs (TFWP), leave migrant workers vulnerable to forms of contemporary slavery, as they cannot report abuses without fear of deportation,” Obokata said in a statement posted to the Human Rights Body website UN Human, reported by RT.
2. Substandard Working Situation
The controversial program sees 50,000 to 60,000 foreign workers arrive in Canada each year, but has for several years faced accusations of systemic exploitation.
Foreign workers in various sectors, including agriculture and meat processing, complained of substandard conditions, as well as limited options for dealing with cases of abuse.
3. Referred to as Systematic Slavery
The UN investigation comes a little more than a year after a group of Jamaican farm workers complained in a letter to their country’s labor minister that the work they had to do on two farms in Ontario was akin to “systemic slavery.”
The letter detailed allegations that they were “exposed to dangerous pesticides without adequate protection, and our superiors verbally abused and swore at us.”
Canada’s foreign worker scheme allows employers to hire workers from Mexico and eleven Caribbean countries for up to eight months of the year.
4. Not Protecting Employees’ Rights
In his statement, Obokata also called on Canada to offer “a clear path to permanent residency for all migrants, to prevent a recurrence of human rights violations.”
Obokata added that foreign workers “have valuable skills that are critical to the Canadian economy” and called on lawmakers to push for legislation to protect the rights of overseas workers.
A 2014 study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal Open said that 787 migrant farmworkers in Ontario were repatriated to their home countries after suffering injuries on the job – some of whom were transported without prior notice, and without being given access. towards medical care.