Time for ac­tion on temp work­ers

Toronto Star - - INSIGHT -

Re North York bak­ery fined $300,000 in the death of a temp worker, Sept. 15 Three deaths, a $300,000 fine, a 25-per-cent vic­tim sur­charge, front-page ex­po­sure fol­low­ing an un­der­cover in­ves­ti­ga­tion — and the bagels and crois­sants keep on rolling.

I must not for­get the self-serv­ing plat­i­tudes from the com­pany and the se­ri­ous prom­ise of an au­dit. An au­dit is what your reporter com­pleted: an in­spec­tion, a check, an in­de­pen­dent scru­tiny and eval­u­a­tion into the com­pany’s ac­tion.

How many more in­ves­ti­ga­tions are needed to af­firm the deaths of three work­ers be­fore ac­tion is taken? An in­de­pen­dent au­dit with no clauses about trans­parency or prom­ises of ac­tion is self­serv­ing and dan­ger­ous. Where are the city of Toronto and the prov­ince? Are three deaths not enough for them to take ac­tion? Don Graves, Burling­ton Con­grat­u­la­tions to Sara Mo­jte­hedzadeh and Bren­dan Kennedy for such an ex­em­plary piece of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism.

Not­with­stand­ing its short­com­ings, I be­lieve Temp Na­tion is serv­ing a vi­tal func­tion to cer­tain seg­ments of so­ci­ety who could not nor­mally work else­where.

To many new im­mi­grants, refugees or those ei­ther seek­ing cu­rial re­view of or evad­ing re­moval or­ders, get­ting into Temp Na­tion is a nec­es­sary in­con­ve­nience to sur­vive in Canada while strug­gling to ac­quire le­gal sta­tus.

Im­pos­ing such re­stric­tions as equal pay with per­ma­nent work­ers and shorter du­ra­tions for temp work­ers would make the sys­tem very in­flex­i­ble. Com­pa­nies like Fiera Foods might con­sider mov­ing por­tions of their sup­ply chain to Mex­ico.

For many cit­i­zens of Temp Na­tion, the work­ing con­di­tions (in­clud­ing wages) at places like Fiera are a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment over the re­al­i­ties in their home coun­tries. We should be care­ful not to throw out the temp baby with the temp bath wa­ter. David Adeyinka Coker, Bramp­ton


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