Rising Up Coalition: Protect TFWs from Bad Recruiters and Employers

  • Page Views 1226
  • It is illegal to charge a worker a fee for work in B.C.

    We understand that and yet we know this exchange of money happens.  Yes, it is illegal but that has not stopped recruiters from charging fees for migrant workers to work in Canada. Recruitment fees are not legal,  and recruiters and employers break the law when they do so. Rising Up Against Unjust Recruitment, a new coalition, is calling on the Labour MinisterShirley Bond  to STOP this.

    In an open letter to Minister Shirley Bond delivered by courier last Friday, April 6, more than 30 groups and organizations, from unions, lawyers, academic community, grassroots organizations, service providers, faith-based groups, migrant advocates,  signed on to strongly demand that the BC government take firm action and stop the abuse of TFWs from recruiters and employers who exact thousands of dollars in illegal recruitment fees from these workers.

    We know this exaction of recruitment fees happens, even in our Filipino community. It comes in various forms with different payment plans;  the combination of this debt burden, long before these workers leave for their jobs abroad, the low wages they receive in their host countries, their tied work permits to a single employer and their precarious temporary status makes migrant workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

    How much are we talking about here? Typical fees range from $5,000 to $12,000 for jobs and desperation will push workers to borrow to pay these fees, with high interest of course. “Kapit patalim” provides the graphic image of workers gripping the sharp blade of a knife.

    We know that there are cases where workers pay fees for promised jobs and contracts only to arrive in Canada and find out there are no jobs exist. This is referred to as “release upon arrival.” Other workers find their jobs are not what is written in their work permits or that the conditions of their work do not match what are on the contract. Recruitment fees and violations of work contracts were two issues that featured in the class action suit filed by the Filipino TFWs against their employer, Denny’s Restaurants.

    Oversight is not enough and law enforcement in this situation has no teeth. This is the reason why unjust recruitment continues to happen. Can workers get the fees they paid back? Almost impossible if the fees were paid to a partner recruiter outside of Canada because the long arm of the law does not stretch that far. If recruiters are BC based, the worker complainant would have to make sure that they complain within the six-month limitation period set by the Employment Standards Branch.

    In the open letter, the Rising Up Coalition wrote “… we strongly urge the provincial government to enact legislation and policy to ensure that the Employment Standards Branch is mandated to proactively investigate, enforce and penalize offending recruiters and employers. In doing so, BC would be aligning itself with six other provinces which have recognized the need to protect vulnerable TFWs through legislation.”

    If there is political will and if there is genuine concern for the rights of migrant workers, BC should be working to be in line with the six Canadian provinces that have implemented better legislation to protect migrant workers, including enforcment regulation of employment agents and recruiters and of proactive enforcement.  After Alberta, BC is the second destination for TFWs in their thousands, and yet , BC has been overtaken by the other provinces — Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta — in giving migrant workers their due.

    To read the open letter in full, visit the website of the Rising Up coalition at http://www.risingup.ca

    To add your name to the petition, visit the site as well. Rather than helplessly accepting that recruitment fees are here to stay ( “talagang ganiyan kasi” ) , we can actually start to rise up, question, and demand that things change. Rise up and sign the petition to end unjust recruitment and protect migrant workers.

    Tinig Migrante by E. Maestro

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 19 October 2020
      1 day ago No comment

      Government of Canada announces details for opening of 2020 Parents and Grandparents Program

      Ottawa—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced details for the opening of the 2020 Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Program, building further on the government’s commitment to reuniting families. Over a 3-week period, from 12 p.m. EDT on October 13, 2020, to 12 ...

    • 18 October 2020
      1 day ago No comment

      Filipino candidates Mable Elmore, Cyrus Sy, Jaeden Dela Torre run in October 24 B.C. election

      Three Filipino Canadians are running for seats in the B.C. Legislative Assembly in the provincial election on October 24, 2020. They are Mable Elmore, Cyrus Sy, and Jaeden Dela Torre. Elmore is seeking a fourth term as Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Vancouver-Kensington. Elmore was first elected ...

    • 18 October 2020
      2 days ago No comment

      Advance voting for B.C. election starts October 15

      Voters in British Columbia don’t need to wait for October 24 to cast their ballot in this year’s provincial election. Advance voting starts on October 15, and runs through October 21. Voters can check on the website of Elections B.C. to find out where they can cast an advance ...

    • 08 October 2020
      2 weeks ago No comment

      B.C. NDP leader John Horgan supports creation of Filipino cultural centre in Metro Vancouver

      John Horgan, leader of the B.C. NDP is hoping to form a majority government after the October 24 election. Last September, Horgan dissolved the legislative assembly, triggering an election that ended his NDP minority government. With polls showing Horgan and the B.C. NDP leading, his gamble may pay off. ...

    • 02 October 2020
      3 weeks ago No comment

      IRCC speeding up processing for spousal applications

      Ottawa—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, is announcing action to speed up spousal application processing and help families build their lives together in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has increased the number of decision makers on spousal applications in Canada by ...

    %d bloggers like this: