Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Temporary workers: 97 infringement findings

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Quebec Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet.

The Canadian Press

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The denunciations of abuse experienced by temporary foreign workers led the Commission on Standards, Equity, of health and safety at work (CNESST) to issue 97 reports of violations to 11 companies in 2023.

This information was revealed Tuesday by the president and CEO of the CNESST, Manuelle Oudar, during a press conference in Quebec accompanied by the Minister of Work, Jean Boulet.

Ms. Oudar and Mr. Boulet took stock of the actions taken by the CNESST this year to better protect temporary foreign workers who are vulnerable and unaware of labor standards.

In Quebec, the number of temporary foreign workers has tripled since 2015, to reach 38,500. Formerly associated with agriculture, they are now present in agriculture. Today in manufacturing, hospitality, lodging, retail and food processing.

They have the same rights and obligations as any other Quebec worker, recalled Mr. Boulet, revealing that the company BRP, accused of underpaying its Mexican workers, had received 41 of 97 notices of infraction this year .

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In 2022, the CNESST had only given 14 violations in total.

Asked whether the foreign worker program temporary contracts was modern slavery, as UN special rapporteur Tomoya Obokata denounced, Boulet said there was room for improvement.

He recalled that in September, his government tasked the Commission of Labor Market Partners (CPMT) with assessing the impact of the so-called closed work permit on the Quebec labor market and on workers.

This type of work permit has long been criticized because it ensures that a temporary foreign worker is linked to a single employer. In recent months, several cases of abuse have been reported in the media.

However, since 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can grant an open work permit to vulnerable workers (mistreated, victims of violence or at risk of suffering of violence).

The Legault government says it is looking for ways to offer more employment flexibility to immigrants temporary.

We will wait for the CPMT's recommendations, Mr. Boulet simply said on Tuesday.

The minister also reports an increase in the number of work accidents and occupational illnesses among temporary foreign workers.

The number of recognized professional injuries increased from 1,193 in 2018, to 2,176 in 2020, and to 3,541 in 2022, because temporary workers are more numerous than ever and at the same time, the CNESST is also more active, according to Mr. Boulet.

This is bad news […] ], but good news, because they can benefit from compensation and all the rehabilitation services that are provided by the CNESST.

A quote from Jean Boulet, Quebec Minister of Labor

On March 1, Mr. Boulet announced that the CNESST was expanding the activities of its Prevention Squad, in order to reach workers and employers in a greater number of sectors of activity.

A cohort of around ten prevention agents was added during the period Summer 2023 to the permanent team, already made up of around a dozen people.

Since March, the CNESST has given 286 workshops, raising awareness among 2,500 temporary foreign workers who work within 300 companies. In addition, nearly 1,000 employers have benefited from personalized advice.

The CNESST also systematically monitors placement and recruitment agencies in order to flush out those that do not #x27;have no license.

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