The United Nations has called on Ottawa to guarantee the rights of tens of thousands of migrant workers who enter the country annually
“Employee-specific work permit regimes, including certain Temporary Foreign Worker Programs (TFWPs), make migrant workers vulnerable to contemporary forms of slavery, as they cannot report abuses without fear of deportation,” Obokata said in a statement posted to the UN Human Rights office website.
The controversial program sees between 50,000 to 60,000 foreign laborers arrive in Canada each year, but has for several years faced accusations of systemic exploitation. Foreign workers across various sectors, including agriculture and meat processing, have complained of sub-par conditions, as well as having only limited recourse to address instances of abuse.
In his statement, the special rapporteur also called on Canada to offer a “clear pathway to permanent residency for all migrants, to prevent the recurrence of abuses.” He added that foreign workers “have valuable skills that are critical to the Canadian economy” and called upon lawmakers to push forward legislation to protect the rights of overseas workers.
A 2014 study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal Open said that 787 migrant farm workers in Ontario were repatriated to their home countries after suffering injuries in the course of their work – some of whom were transported with little prior notice, and without having been granted access to medical treatment.
This article was produced by RT.