B.C. leg­is­la­tion bet­ter pro­tects tem­po­rary for­eign work­ers from ex­ploita­tion

Asian Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

Vic­to­ria: Peo­ple com­ing to work in B.C. un­der the fed­eral Tem­po­rary For­eign Worker Pro­gram will have bet­ter pro­tec­tion against ex­ploita­tion and abuse as a re­sult of new leg­is­la­tion that has been in­tro­duced.

“Work­ers com­ing to B.C. want to feel safe, con­fi­dent their rights are pro­tected, and that abu­sive em­ploy­ers will be held ac­count­able,” said Harry Bains, Min­is­ter of Labour. “The ex­ploita­tion of any­one work­ing in our prov­ince runs against the val­ues of Bri­tish Columbians. We need to shut any door that al­lows re­cruiters or em­ploy­ers to wil­fully ig­nore and abuse the rights of work­ers in this prov­ince.”

If passed by the leg­is­la­ture, the leg­is­la­tion will im­prove pro­tec­tion for work­ers and ac­count­abil­ity of re­cruiters and em­ploy­ers by: • re­quir­ing for­eign worker re­cruiters to be li­censed, and em­ploy­ers who re­cruit and hire tem­po­rary for­eign work­ers to be reg­is­tered.

• es­tab­lish­ing cri­te­ria for is­su­ing, re­fus­ing, sus­pend­ing or can­celling a li­cence or regis­tra­tion. • im­pos­ing tougher penal­ties for re­cruiters and em­ploy­ers who vi­o­late the leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing not just loss of li­cence or regis­tra­tion but fi­nan­cial penal­ties and pos­si­ble jail time. • al­low­ing gov­ern­ment to re­cover, and re­turn to work­ers, any fees charged il­le­gally by re­cruiters.

• cre­at­ing two registries, one for for­eign worker re­cruiters and one for em­ploy­ers, to hold both ac­count­able for their ac­tions and to im­prove gov­ern­ment re­sponse to health, hous­ing or other vi­o­la­tions of B.C. laws. The regis­tra­tion will be a cost-free and sim­ple on­line process for em­ploy­ers.

In 2017, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is­sued ap­prox­i­mately 47,620 work per­mits for for­eign na­tion­als des­tined for B.C., of which 16,865 were is­sued un­der the Tem­po­rary For­eign Worker Pro­gram. B.C. is sec­ond to only On­tario in terms of the num­ber of work per­mits is­sued. Once the leg­is­la­tion re­ceives royal as­sent, the Min­istry of Labour will take next steps to es­tab­lish the for­eign worker re­cruiter and em­ployer registries.

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