The provincial government is giving $850,000 to agencies that provide services for temporary foreign workers as they adjust to life in Alberta.
Dennis Salvador arrived in Canada two years ago. He says he is trained in medical promotions in the Philippines, but now works at an Edmonton fast food outlet.
"Back home the salary wasn't competitive enough," he said.
He says he sends his earning back home to support his wife and two daughters. This man recalls that adjusting to life here was difficult at first.
"It's actually lonely because you're not with your family."
Alberta's minister of employment says it's important to recognize the contributions of temporary foreign workers to our economy.
"The fact of the matter is that we need a very targeted immigration program, which the temporary foreign worker program is. General immigration, opening up the borders for anyone who applies to come in does not address your labour problem because you need specific skill sets for specific locations, and for specific employers," said Thomas Lukaszuk.
Funding has been provided to immigrant-serving agencies in Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Calgary, Banff, Brooks and Lethbridge.
Edmonton will receive $250,000 in funding of the $850,000 being provided. Some of that cash will go toward programs at the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers.
Staff say every little bit helps.
"We need more staff, we need more resources, we need emergency supports," said Terry Andriuk.
Critics say the funding isn't enough to improve the program.
"Our expectation is a decent wage," said Nancy Furlong with Alberta's Federation of Labour.
Furlong says the program needs some big changes, and recommends scrapping it altogether and starting fresh.
"As long as you're bringing in lots of people who are willing to work for a lot less, that will have a lowering impact on the lower income wages," she said.
The minister says the province is launching a review of how the program affects communities. The plan is to meet with employers, civic leaders and foreign workers in the coming weeks.
Currently, more than 60,000 temporary foreign workers live and work in Alberta.
ctvedmonton.ca, Fri Sept 3 2010
The Alberta Federation of Labour is commending Alberta's labour minister for suspending two immigration programs it says were being used inappropriately to fill job gaps.
Alberta Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk announced Monday the Immigrant Nominee Program will not accept any new applications in its family stream and the U.S. visa holder category. The suspension is being called temporary until further notice.
"We are entirely behind him. We think that's the right thing to do," said Nancy Furlong, AFL secretary-treasurer.
The INP was introduced to help augment the Alberta workforce with skilled immigrants. In 2008, the family stream and the U.S. visa holder category were added, both resulting in a large number of applications.
Lukaszuk cited the current job market conditions as the impetus for the suspension, and a
preference to keep Albertans employed as opposed to
unemployed outsiders looking for jobs.
The suspension impacts temporary foreign workers, a number of which can be found in Fort McMurray including the oilsands, but Lukaszuk called it a positive impact.
Though the temporary foreign worker program is a federal initiative, he explained the province manages the INP and has a "solid cap" on how many individuals Alberta is allowed to nominate and keep.
Lukaszuk said he has just renegotiated that cap, increasing that number from 4,200 to 5,000. As a result, of those temporary foreign workers who want to stay and whom employers need to keep and have satisfied the federal requirements, "we get to keep 5,000 per year."
Until the suspension, which came into immediate effect, that number was "eaten up" by individuals entering Canada under the family stream and the U.S. visa holder stream who were not necessarily connected to any employment in Alberta.
The U.S. visa holders are people who entered the United States as temporary foreign workers but when the economy tanked in the U.S., they didn't want to go back to where they came from, he explained, so they were applying to enter Canada to look for work here.
"The odds of finding a job in Canada are still better than they are in the United States. Again, it's unemployed individuals; it's not Americans. By and large ... they're not from North America."
Under the family stream, it's bringing in family members such as a niece from another part of the world who have certain education and experience in a particular profession.
"The problem is that you do not have to have employment waiting for her so when she arrives, then she looks for work like you and I. So again, unattached to employers."
These people from both categories would simply arrive and then start looking for a job, competing with currently unemployed Albertans also looking for work, said Lukaszuk.
"Obviously my prerogative is to make sure that any and all jobs are first considered by Albertans and given to Albertans. Having external competition of unemployed people arriving here and competing with Albertans for jobs is simply wrong."
Under the INP program for 2009, a total of 4,216 certificates were issued. Out of that number, 450 were issued under the family stream category while 943 were issued under the U.S. visa holder category. The majority - 2,426 - were issued in the employment driven-stream to employer-nominated people.
With the suspension, that means those 5,000 spots are available for temporary foreign
workers already attached to an employer and are not competing with Albertans looking for a
job because they're already employed.
"We have always held the view that the temporary foreign worker program is being used inappropriately, that it's the wrong route," said Furlong. She pointed out the program was originally intended for a very small, boutique group of people where the skill level might equal 100 of them in the world.
"It worked fine for that and students, and it was only the advent of the huge boom that people started to abuse it."
Closing the door to unemployed people through the two categories is welcome news in opening the "premium" spots for TFWs already employed who want to stay in the country, she added.
Lukaszuk admitted there is a misconception out there that the TFWs are taking work from unemployed Albertans but that's not the case. In order for an employer to hire a TFW, the employer has to prove there is a need. The employers has to satisfy the federal government that the job was made available to local Albertans at the same rate of pay and employment conditions, and was to be advertised not only within Alberta, but coast to coast.
When that employer doesn't get qualified applications for that particular position, then the federal government will issue the employer a labour market opinion to hire a temporary foreign worker because there are no Canadians interested in that job.
There is a chance the programs will not be returned, but he noted that decision will be largely driven by Alberta's economy.
"My personal commitment is to Albertans. I was elected by Albertans and it would be unconscionable of me as Minister of Labour to have Albertans unemployed, collecting EI or social services while I'm letting in unemployed foreign workers coming here to look for work. I simply cannot allow (that) to happen so as soon as I could I quickly stopped that."
He said his policy, and that of the Alberta government is overall, Canadian immigration policies and laws should be primarily based on what is good for Canadians first.
"That should be our first consideration and all others should be secondary.
What's good for Alberta right now, he added, is not to have unemployed outsiders competing with unemployed Albertans, and to only bring in individuals for jobs that cannot be filled by Albertans and are instantly attached to employment.
"My ideal immigrant is a person who arrives on Saturday and goes to work on Monday."
Alberta will continue to accept immigration applications from skilled workers, semi-skilled workers in certain occupations, international students, compulsory trades, engineering occupations, and self-employed farmers.
Fort McMurray Today, Tues Aug 24 2010
Byline: Carol Christian
Faced with a drop in demand for labour in the province, the Alberta government has suspended a pair of programs meant to fast-track immigration applications for foreign workers.
The province suspended two of the five streams of the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program (AINP), which last year recommended 4,216 applicants be granted permanent residency by the federal government. The two streams suspended Monday - one for family of workers living here and the other for those holding U.S. visas - accounted for 33 per cent of that total. Applications received before Monday will still be eligible.
The AINP program was introduced in 2008, and the government cited a slowing economy in its decision to temporarily cut off the two streams.
"The economy is not what it was," Alberta Employment and Immigration spokeswoman Sonia Sinha said, stressing the move is temporary and could be reversed. "The focus is on Albertans and Canadians, and jobs for them first."
Liberal immigration critic Hugh MacDonald said if the government wanted to preserve local job opportunities, it would stop accepting workers under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker program.
Effectively, the government's move Monday may open up more spots for such temporary workers, already in the province, to apply for and receive residency.
"I'm very glad to see the change," said Yessy Byl, a temporary foreign worker advocate with the Alberta Federation of Labour. "What the government, I understand, is doing is concentrating on sponsoring nominees who are already here working, and that is the critical area."
As of last December, Alberta had about 65,000 foreign workers, more than half of them so-called "low-skilled" employees who work in meat-packing and manufacturing jobs. In recent years, those workers have had a difficult time obtaining permanent residency, since the province can only nominate up to 5,000 per year, and many of those spots went to skilled labourers.
But with the downturn in the economy, the cuts to ANIP make sense, said Peter Veress, the president of foreign-worker specialist company Vermax Group Inc.
"This was a program designed for meeting a certain labour shortage," he said. "We don't need that program any more."
CTV News, Mon Aug 23 2010
Josh Wingrove and Nathan VanderKlippe
"In my opinion, it was a program that had fulfilled its mandate, (by) suddenly providing a large number of workers to an economy that suddenly had a massive shortage of workers," Thomas Lukaszuk said.
"It's not working well now. It's a temporary solution to a permanent problem."
Starting this fall, Lukaszuk's parliamentary assistant -- Calgary MLA Teresa Woo-Paw -- will lead a series of roundtable discussions all over Alberta to reassess the federal temporary foreign worker program.
Woo-Paw's findings will be the basis for recommendations to Ottawa on how to change the program.
In recent years, federal restrictions on temporary foreign workers have eased, allowing people from a variety of skill and educational backgrounds to come to Canada on working visas no longer than two years.
Among all provinces and territories, Alberta has seen the biggest boost in temporary foreign workers in the last five years.
By December 2009, the province was home to nearly 66,000 people on temporary work visas. In December 2005, just 16,000 people lived in Alberta under the same visa restrictions.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario -- with a much bigger population -- counted 95,000 short-term workers in December. British Columbia had 69,000 and Quebec had just 31,000.
The temporary program is not supposed to be a gateway to long-term residency, an issue Lukaszuk said paves the way for the same employers to keep on hiring new foreign workers for the same jobs.
"Anecdotally ... probably the top 80 per cent of temporary foreign workers, given the chance, would love to just stay," Lukaszuk said.
"Why not consider some permanency (for) this workforce. I always joke the only group that really benefits from the current temporary foreign worker program is Air Canada, because they're flying people in and out."
The president of Alberta's Hotel and Lodging Association said the program had worked well for the service sector, but acknowledged the need for front-line labour exceeds short-term solutions.
"I think there is room for improvement," Dave Kaiser said, adding the program needs the flexibility to allow people to stay longer.
But Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan called the program a "train wreck."
While he was pleased Lukaszuk and Woo-Paw plan to review the program, he said it doesn't work for foreign workers, Canadian workers or employers.
"This is a program that's so dysfunctional it probably has to be scrapped entirely," McGowan said.
He pointed to a government report released this spring by the NDP that showed incidents of temporary foreign workers not being paid for overtime or statutory holidays.
McGowan said thousands of people have been brought to Canada with little understanding of their rights.
"What essentially we've done is create a European-style guest worker program," he said. "We think both the federal and provincial governments ought to go back to the drawing board."
Edmonton Journal, Wed July 21 2010
Byline: Trish Audette
CALGARY - Canada's oilpatch may once again be a magnet for workers from across the country and around the world, an economist said Monday after a study predicted a major labour shortfall in the energy sector by 2014.
Human resources consulting firm Mercer surveyed 135 oil, natural gas and utility companies and found the sector will be short some 24,000 workers in four years.
"I've been expecting labour shortages to lurk their heads once again in Alberta's economy as the recovery takes firmer hold," said Todd Hirsch, a senior economist at ATB Financial.
As a result, a program to recruit temporary workers from abroad may need to be ratcheted up, he added.
"It seemed to take us a long time when the labour shortages were upon us last time to get the temporary foreign worker process up to speed. But once it was up to speed, then companies could bring in those foreign workers very quickly," Hirsch said.
"I think that process will stay in place and I don't think they'll have as much of a time lag getting those foreign workers."
In 2009 and the early part of this year, Alberta saw more people leaving the province than coming in. But that's likely to change, Hirsch said.
"I do expect as Alberta's economy gradually picks up steam and as the oilpatch kicks into fuller gear that we will see more inter-provincial migration," he said.
"There's still a lot of under-utilized workers in other parts of the country where the unemployment rates are higher.
Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, was dubious the province will return to a labour market as tight as the 2005 to 2008 boom.
"We're not going back there, so we can't be cavalier about keeping jobs in the province," he said.
The AFL worries about how many high-paying jobs can be sustained in Alberta's oilpatch, given how much manufacturing is being done overseas and how much oilsands processing is being done in the United States.
The Mercer report found the workforce is becoming increasingly divided between the baby boom generation, 45 and older, and employees under the age of 30, so companies will need to tailor their programs to suit the needs of each age group.
Mercer also said companies need to do more to build talent within their ranks, rather than looking outside. It was that "buy talent" phenomenon that caused wages to spiral out of control during the last boom.
Thestar.com, Mon June 21 2010
There are nearly twice as many temporary foreign workers in Alberta now as there were at the height of the economic boom.
Newly-released figures from Citizenship and Immigration Canada show that on Dec. 1, 2009, there were 69,000 foreign workers in the province, compared to only 35,000 in 2006.
Alberta's unemployment rate currently sits at 6.6%.
"It doesn't make sense," said Terry Andriuk, head of the temporary foreign worker program at Edmonton's Mennonite Centre for Newcomers.
The head of the Alberta Federation of Labour calls it a "lose-lose situation."
It's been a bad deal for the foreigners, says Gil McGowan, because many are forced to work in poor conditions for low pay that no Canadian would accept. Meanwhile, he says, Canadian workers suffer because the steady supply of foreigners allows employers to keep wages low.
Interestingly, the Alberta government froze the minimum wage at $8.80 per hour earlier this year, arguing that it had no choice in this tough economic climate.
"Canada is a country that was built by immigrants," he says. "But the temporary foreign worker program is not immigration. It's a thinly-disguised guest worker program that creates an under class of exploitable workers."
Recruiters, meanwhile, lure workers to Canada by telling them it's a foot in the door for immigration, says Andriuk, who says some of her clients were told by recruiters in their homeland that they can come here under a temporary visa and work their way to permanent residency.
"It puts entire families in very precarious positions," she says.
Some, from countries like Britain and Germany, sell their homes in anticipation of immigrating. A few have become so distraught that Andriuk has had to refer them to mental health workers.
According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, employers can only hire temporary foreign workers if "reasonable efforts" have been made to hire a Canadian, but have been unsuccessful.
CIC has five classifications of foreign worker: managerial, professional, skilled and technical, intermediate and clerical, and labourer.
In 2004 there were only 169 TFWs in the unskilled labourer category in Alberta. By 2008 that figure had exploded to 13,445, making it the largest single category.
Andriuk says that in 2008 and 2009, when the economy tanked and temporary foreign workers found themselves out of work, they were initially denied EI, even though they paid for it.
"People in the EI offices didn't even know the rules," she says. "A few groups had to tell them."
Other TFWs had to wait more than year for income tax refunds, which often came long after they were back home.
"And what about their (Canada Pension Plan) contributions?" she says. "Nobody's figured what's going to happen there."
McGowan says the current temporary foreign worker program should be scrapped.
"Some of the horror stories we've been hearing lately in the news shows that it's not working," he says. "If we need these people, we should be bringing them in as prospective citizens, not as disposable workers."
Edmonton Sun, Tues Jun 15 2010
Byline: Andrew Hanlon
Complete Service Alberta survey and submit by Friday, April 30, 2010
Apr 21, 2010
Issue: Service Alberta's survey on employment agencies (primarily for temporary foreign workers)
Action Requested: Complete Service Alberta's survey and submit
When: All surveys must be submitted by Friday, April 30, 2010
- "Employment agencies," better known as recruiters, often illegally charge large fees to desperate temporary foreign workers in exchange for job placement. The Alberta Federation of Labour Temporary Foreign Worker Advocate has found that the majority of foreign workers have been charged fees ranging anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000.
- The agencies are getting around the law by calling the fees settlement services or by charging for "arranging visas." The government has failed to prosecute any of these recruiters (unless they forget to pay the $200 licensing fee) by saying that the legislation was never designed for that kind of situation.
- Recently, the federal government has been forcing employers to fire foreign workers, breaching many collective agreements in the process and exacerbating the situation. It has become virtually impossible for foreign workers who have been working in Canada to get government permission to work here. A number of recruiters have been feeding on this desperation to turn a profit.
If employers need employees, then it is the employer that should pay the cost of recruiting, whether they are foreign or domestic.
Government should close loopholes in the law that allows employment agencies to charge workers for recruitment including related services.
When an employment agency is found to have broken the law by charging a worker fees, there should be a provision that the worker can sue for damages based on the finding (the Personal Information Protection Act provides this for breaches of privacy.)
Download Service Alberta's survey (http://www.servicealberta.ca/pdf/Employment_agencies_DP.pdf). You can submit your answers online by filling out the form and clicking on the "Submit by Email" button at the end of the form, or you may print it out and fax it or mail it in. If you plan to mail it, please get in posted very quickly so that it is received by next Friday, April 30, 2010.
The survey asks if you think the definition of Employment Agency should be broadened to include things like arranging visas, settlement services, etc. We think it should. Recruiters have been managing to avoid prosecution by saying that they are charging $10,000 for things like "settlement services" (arranging visas, arranging Alberta Health, opening bank accounts, etc.) not for "recruitment."
Issue 3 reflects actual common situations that foreign workers have, and continue to face. All such activities should be illegal and recruiters, who threaten, etc., should be prosecuted and sued.
Issue 4 asks whether agencies should have to provide security (like posting a bond) to protect job-seekers from financial harm. The Manitoba government has successfully implemented a program such as this and we believe that Alberta should also. Please answer "yes" to these questions.
Section 2 deals with the "settlement services" issue. We believe the suggested definition should also be expanded to include all services relating to accommodation, which would include buying furniture, etc. We are opposed to the "more than 30 days" clause - all costs of arranging accommodation should be covered by the employer. They should also be responsible for all services related to food and clothing. Most importantly, we believe that it is the employer who should pay for all such services, not the foreign worker. So, it is our position that agencies should be prohibited from charging temporary foreign workers fees for any settlement services (Issue 7, Question 7)
Employment Agencies Discussion Paper
Service Alberta, Consumer Programs
3rd floor Commerce Place
10155 - 102 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 4L4
Fax: (780) 427-3033
If you have further questions or need more information, please contact Yessy Byl at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 780-474-8101.
As the high season for temporary foreign workers in Canada kicks off, critics argue the program is broken, serving the short-term needs of the labour market while acting as an underground immigration pipeline and leaving foreign workers vulnerable to exploitation.
Researchers and advocates at a recent symposium at the Ontario Metropolis Centre, an immigration research centre, argued the program is "inherently exploitative" and one of the most important but ignored social issues in the country.
"There's no recognition of this and the really tragic thing is, if there's ever any recognition, it takes the form of Canadian Border Services Agency raiding workplaces and homes and deporting people, rather than saying, 'Why is it that we're developing this problem?'" says Yessy Byl, a lawyer and advocate with the Alberta Federation of Labour, and keynote speaker at the February symposium.
Canada's temporary foreign worker program allows employers to hire from outside the country if they've demonstrated no qualified Canadian applied for the job, and workers are permitted to stay in Canada only as long as they have a valid work permit. The program includes live-in nannies and eldercare workers, agricultural workers from Mexico and the Caribbean who help out on Canadian farms during planting and harvest, and low-skill service-sector jobs.
In 2008, the last year for which complete data is available, Canada admitted 250,000 immigrants as permanent residents and more than 192,000 temporary foreign workers, up from about 103,000 five years earlier. There are seasonal ebbs and flows to the number of temporary foreign workers entering Canada, with nearly one-third of the annual total arriving between April and July.
"Immigration Canada has been pushing the idea of temporary workers because they are very into the idea of disposable labour," says Francisco Rico-Martinez, an advocate on the issue and director of the FCJ Refugee Centre in Toronto. "You bring someone here to work and you don't spend any money training them, preparing them, nothing. And at the end of the two years working here, you send them back and you don't have any responsibility whatsoever about that person."
Temporary foreign workers hired overseas agree to certain work conditions, Rico-Martinez says, but when they arrive in Canada, there's often "a big surprise." Agricultural workers may take a job that promises an hourly wage but find out when they arrive that it's paid according to what they harvest, he says, or employers may deduct money for food, clothing, or accommodations from their pay.
"If they complain to the employer, the solution for the employer is, 'You know what? I will send you home,'" he says. _"The employer can basically not honour the agreement and put someone on the street."
Dan Kelly, vice-president legislative affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents 100,000 small-business owners, says he doesn't doubt that some abuses occur, but he dismisses the idea that employers hire temporary foreign workers to take advantage of an "indentured relationship."
"I can tell you from speaking to thousands and thousands of employers, no one in their right mind would bring in a temporary foreign worker over an able and willing Canadian participant," he says, adding that regulatory hoops, airfare and recruitment fees make it much more expensive to hire a foreign worker than a Canadian. "The temporary foreign worker program is not perfect but it's been an absolute godsend for many, many small businesses."
Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, says temporary foreign workers are afforded the same legal protections as all Canadian workers and employers must adhere to provincial labour codes and pay the minimum wage for their region.
Earlier this year, the government tightened regulations to penalize employers who don't conform to the rules, he says, and later this spring they'll introduce new measures to crack down on unscrupulous immigration consultants.
"The reality is that there are tens of thousands of Canadian businesses which would go under if they didn't have access to this labour," Kenney says. "It's a very simple economic choice for the government: either we kill tens of thousands of businesses by refusing to allow them to have access to labour for jobs Canadians are not applying for, or we facilitate, on a limited and short-term basis, access to that skilled labour."
The government believes the "overwhelming majority" of foreign workers return to their home countries when their work permits expire, Kenney says, but he concedes: "There's not a seamless way to track it because Canada doesn't have exit controls."
The seasonal agricultural worker program, which accounts for 15 per cent of temporary foreign workers in Canada each year, allows better tracking because workers must check in with the labour ministries in their home countries when they return, Kenney says, and the compliance rate is over 90 per cent.
But Byl says "the vast majority" of temporary foreign workers come to Canada expecting to immigrate permanently, and they're often misled by recruiters who have charged them illegal fees.
Rico-Martinez says the government is "in denial" about the huge number of temporary foreign workers who go underground and stay in Canada when their work permits expire.
"The biggest reason for that is that Canada has never had a reputation for being a migrant worker country," Byl says. "Canada's reputation has been as a country to immigrate to, so there's been that mindset for people. I think we underestimate how desperate people are to improve their lives and the lives of their families."
Byline: Shannon Proudfoot
Canada.com, Mon Apr 26 2010
Montreal Gazette, Tues Apr 27 2010
April 2010: Auditor General Report on Occupational Health and Safety; Temporary Foreign Workers; Pensions; Phone now to save union jobs
Lives of workers put at risk by government
- The government's shocking failure to enforce its own workplace safety laws is putting thousands of workers at risk, according to a new report from the Auditor General. Not only have companies that have violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act been allowed to continue without penalty, some have been awarded Certificates of Recognition that earn them WCB discounts and help them win contracts. The AFL has long fought for stronger health and safety standards and enforcement. It now calls on the government to quickly implement all recommendations made by the Auditor General, including the naming of those companies that are repeat offenders. Workers have a right to know whether their workplace is safe or not. Go to Call to Action - Report of the Alberta Auditor General for details or to the AFL release.
It's time to stop the exploitation of vulnerable temporary foreign workers
- The vast majority of temporary foreign workers in Alberta have been charged sometimes illegal fees ranging from $3,000 to $20,000 by "employment agencies," but the government of Alberta has failed to prosecute these agencies, says AFL's Temporary Foreign Worker Advocate. The government is now seeking feedback on changing legislation governing these agencies. We have until April 30 to tell them that we don't support exploitation. For more details ...
Alberta abandons leadership role in tackling crisis on pensions
- Finance Minister Ted Morton has played down the seriousness of the pensions crisis facing Canadians, reversing the position taken earlier by the Alberta government. Rather than pushing for a much-needed boost to the pensions system, Morton claims there is no crisis and no need for urgent action. "It looks like the government's commitment to push for meaningful changes is starting to evaporate," says Gil McGowan, president of the AFL. For more information ...
Alberta continues to shed jobs while other provinces recover
- The latest figures from Statistics Canada reveal that unemployment in Alberta has risen to 7.5 per cent, its highest level since 1996 - and it's the only province that continues to lose jobs. There are 87,200 fewer Albertans working in full-time jobs today than there were at the top of the pre-recession boom in October 2008. While other provinces have embarked on stimulus programs to boost their economy, the Alberta government has chosen to stand idly by and watch jobs disappear. For details ...
Phone now to save union jobs
- The Yellow Pages Group has decided it will no longer print and distribute White Pages phone books. This may mean the loss of 42 jobs of members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union at World Color in Edmonton, where the directories are printed. It's also bad news for seniors who may not have access to online directories. But there is a chance to reverse the decision and save jobs. If you want White Pages delivered to homes and offices, call 1-877-909-9356. For more details ...
2010 AFL Kids' Camp
August 9 - 13, 2010
16th Annual AFL Kids' Camp, August 9 to 13, 2010. The theme for this year's camp is "Health and Safety: Not Just for Adults." The camp is open to children of all AFL affiliates.Camper Registration Form and Union Donations and Volunteer Form
Deadline for registration is June 18, 2010.
Did you know ...
- That there were 166 occupational fatalities in Alberta in 2008, compared to 154 the previous year;
- That 63 companies have failed to comply with Occupational Health and Safety orders after one year or more;
- That 31,000 employees work for those companies;
- That half of those companies that consistently fail to comply with OHS orders still hold valid Certificates of Recognition; andThat not one of those companies has been named by the Alberta government.
exploitation and workplace abuse."
UFCW Canada is Canada's largest private-sector union, and represents thousands of TFWs under collective agreements. These agreements protect these TFWs against workplace violations, require health and safety information in the workers' language, and provide a legal pathway for these workers to permanent Canadian residency.
"So the story for UFCW Canada members who are Temporary Foreign Workers is positive. But outside the union, TFWs are treated by thousands of employers like disposable commodities, with no respect for their safety or other workplace rights. The latest stats from Alberta back that up."
The UFCW Canada president's remarks come in the wake of newly-released Alberta Ministry of Employment and Immigration inspection statistics that show that of the 407 Alberta TFW workplaces inspected this year, 74% of those employers had violated the Employment Standards Act regarding pay rates and record keeping.
The data was released by the Alberta NDP, which obtained the records under a Freedom of Information application. "We agree with the Alberta NDP and the Alberta Federation of Labour that the federal government's TFW program needs to be revised to fully respect the human and labour rights of these vulnerable workers. That should also include the right to build a permanent life in Canada for these workers and their families.
And that goes across this country - not just Alberta," said Hanley.
"Unless you're unionized, the treatment of Temporary Foreign Workers continues to be a national disgrace," says Naveen Mehta, Director of Human Rights, Equity & Diversity, UFCW Canada.
Mehta is also one of a 25 UFCW Canada delegates from across the country who are attending the 12th Annual Metropolis Conference on Immigration and Diversity being held March 18 - 21 in Montreal. UFCW Canada is presenting and participating as one of the country's leading advocates, in the community and on the front lines, for migrant workers in Canada.
Article Ant, Fri Mar 18 2010