While in Montreal, Executive Director, Cathleen Caron met with various Canadian advocates and government officials to buttress developments of Global Workers program in Canada. While the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)-Canada continues to be Global Workers staunchest ally in Canada, we are now establishing more partnerships to increase access to justice for Canadian temporary foreign workers.
The Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (www.crimt.org) invited Executive Director, Cathleen Caron, to speak at its 2014 conference on “New Frontiers for Citizenship at Work,” this year held in Montreal.
Global Workers was invited to discuss portable justice issues in the context of U.S. labor migration at “Solidarity: Migrant Workers” a Canadian national conference to raise awareness and create solidarity with temporary and migrant workers who are employed in ever increasing numbers and work sectors in Canada. Building on the previous time Global Workers was invited to Canada (see blog entries June 29-30, 2007), it was a great opportunity to make connections with Canadian advocates who face similar challenges when it comes to addressing the extreme vulnerability temporary workers face.
Canada’s non-agricultural or Temporary Foreign Program (TFP) has similarities to the USA’s H-2B guest worker program. According to Canadian advocates, the TFP has grown exponentially, with 40,000 workers coming to the province of Alberta alone in 2006. Employers are not required to provide housing, transportation, or cover recruitment costs. It is typical for employers to rent housing to the workers, oftentimes charging inflated rents. Under payment of promised contract rates is rampant and enforcement is scare.
Invited by the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers (www.call-acams.com/en-guest/), a Global Workers representative traveled to Yellow Knife, Canada to speak on the USA guest worker program. It was a unique opportunity to discuss the USA program with top Canadian labor lawyers and learn about the Canadian system from its leading experts.
The mission of the Global Workers Justice Alliance is to combat worker exploitation by promoting portable justice for transnational migrants through a cross-border network of worker advocates and resources.
Global Workers coined the term portable justice to describe the right and ability of transnational migrant workers to access justice in the countries of employment even after they have departed for their home countries.