Toronto – December 10, 2021 – Canada’s Auditor General (AG) Karen Hogan has confirmed in a scathing report that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) continues to fall short in keeping migrant workers and Canadians safe from the deadly coronavirus.
“In almost every instance, employers were given the green light to carry on business as usual despite the ever-growing vulnerability of temporary foreign workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema.
“This latest report by the country’s AG once again highlights the urgent issues associated with Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and adds even more concern regarding the program’s ability to effectively protect migrant workers and the Canadian public through regulatory enforcement.”
Agriculture is one of Canada’s most dangerous industries and is made even more vulnerable by a high concentration of precarious workers who are in dire need of proper workplace representation.
“As a long-time advocate for agricultural workers, UFCW Canada knows that effective compliance starts with empowering workers, and that means having a constant watchdog in the form of union representation,” adds Meinema.
For three decades, UFCW Canada has worked in collaboration with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) to lead the fight for migrant workers’ rights in all sectors. To learn more about this advocacy and the reforms that are urgently needed, see UFCW Canada's report, The Status of Migrant Farm Workers in Canada, 2020.