The report released by the special advisors proposes options for change to laws – some of the options could hurt migrant workers, and some could greatly benefit them.
The deadline for responses is October 14th. Now is the time for many of us to insist that migrant workers in Ontario must be included in all labour laws, and must be protected from reprisals and recruiter fees.
You can also download a comprehensive analysis of the recommendations by Workers Action Centre and PCLS here too.
At the very least, we encourage you to send the special advisors a letter urging them to accept our recommendations. We need to show that there is a large number of groups that want decent work for migrant workers. You can download a sample letter here.
Migrants Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC) is organizing Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) visits for constituency week Nov 4th– 10th 2016.
There is an opportunity right now to push the Ontario governments to make meaningful changes that are needed to ensure justice and dignity for migrant workers.
The Changing Workplace Review is making recommendations to ensure that laws about employment and unionization meet the needs of all workers, especially those in the most precarious jobs. We need to make sure that laws are introduced that address the particular barriers to workplace safety and fairness faced by migrant workers, including regulating recruiters and ending the exclusions from minimum work standards and collective bargaining.
Our ask of you:
Visit your local Member of Provincial Parliament!
Register to visit your local MPP below.
We want to make sure that a delegation meets with MPPs across Ontario during the next constituency week: November 4 – 10.
Once you have registered, please contact your MPP and request an appointment on November 4th, or November 7th to the 10th.
We have lots of supports to offer you:
Migrant workers are part of our communities, where they live, work, shop and build relationships.
They are not “foreigners”, they are part of Ontario’s work force, and they are part of our labour market. Their participation in our decent work movement is crucial to our ability to win.
Unfortunately, bad employers and some journalists have pitted migrant workers against unemployed and underemployed Ontario workers. But instead of fighting at the bottom of the barrel for bad jobs, we must unite to increase rights for everyone and improve all our working conditions.
Most migrant workers are in jobs that they have done for generations. Domestic workers have been coming to Canada since the 1800s, and this is the 50th year of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program. This isn’t about a short-term labour shortage, migrant work is permanent, and it is time they have the same rights as everyone else.
Migrant workers work some of the most dangerous and difficult jobs in Ontario, with some of the lowest wages and protections.
It’s no accident that many of the industries that are primarily made up of migrant workers are exempted from the Employment Standards Act. As a result, migrant workers are denied basic protections under the law, such as minimum wages, hours of work and more. When one industry is exempted from providing basic minimum standards, other employers want similar exemptions and loopholes.
This helps explain why today less than 25% of all workers are fully protected by the minimum standards in the ESA. This is a vivid example of how an injury to one becomes and injury to all.
The vast majority of Ontarians agree that we need rules that protect us all. We need specific changes in Ontario for migrant workers so that they can raise their voice and get the rights they deserve.
Across Ontario migrant worker allies issued recommendations to the Special Advisors of the Changing Workplaces Review calling for swift reforms to the Employment Standards Act and the Ontario Labour Relations Act.
Download and read them here.
The Ontario government is reviewing labour laws in the province. Over the summer and fall of 2015, the public is invited to make recommendations to improve these laws. It’s important that these changes support all workers, including migrant workers.
This is a critical moment to build awareness about migrant worker concerns. We know that our friends and neighbours in the Temporary Foreign Workers, Seasonal Agricultural Workers and Caregivers Programs have fewer rights and live in greater fear than other Ontarians. Now we need to make sure that everyone else in the province knows it too.
We have created a simple two page flyer that you can distribute at events, get in to the hands of labour allies, and place prominently at your office. You can download it directly here: