Temporary foreign workers from Guatemala pay excessive fees to work in Canada, new report finds
Release date: July 4, 2017
With the growing season now entering full swing in Quebec, a team of researchers have released a report about the conditions under which temporary foreign workers (TFWs) are recruited to work in agriculture in Quebec.
Who, how and how much? The recruitment of Guatemalan workers to Quebec, presents the results of a six-month field study that sought to document recruitment practices in Guatemala of Guatemalan agricultural workers recruited to Quebec. This research stems from a collaboration between researchers from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and several partner organizations (Justice in Motion, Agricultural Workers Alliance, UFCW-Quebec and UQAM’s Service aux collectivités).
Researchers interviewed individual workers, held focus groups and conducted an anonymous survey. They found that the recruitment process can be a rough ride for TFWs hired in Quebec through the agricultural stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Many TFWs take out loans to cover various expenses and fees, some of which are charged by recruitment intermediaries operating abroad on behalf of Canadian employers. “These debts may explain why TFWs are generally not inclined to act on their labour rights if and when things go wrong,” explains Dr. Dalia Gesualdi-Fecteau, a professor in the Faculty of Political Science and Law at UQAM and lead author of the report. “They don’t want to do or say anything that might, in their perception, jeopardize their employment and their ability to repay their debts.”
“Legislation intended to protect the rights of temporary foreign workers isn’t very useful if workers don’t feel that they can avail of it,” she adds.
The report reviews various international conventions and treaties that reflect concerns regarding the need for social protection of TFWs, arguing that their ratification could generate more awareness of the particular rights at stake. The document also make various policy and practice recommendations for monitoring and enforcement that would hold recruiting intermediaries and employers more accountable.
The full report, Who, how and how much? The recruitment of Guatemalan workers to Quebec, is available here.
For more information contact Dr. Dalia Gesualdi-Fecteau, firstname.lastname@example.org, (514) 836-7359.Top ^