Eight-year legal battle sees migrant women victorious, compensated | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified 2015-06-01T14:41:09-04:00
Justice has been granted to two migrant workers this week who had taken Presteve Foods Limited to court. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the two Mexican women were exposed to sexual solitation, sexual harassment, discrimination, and a sexually poisoned work environment.

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The women outlined how the conditions set out by the Temporary Foreign Worker Program left them exposed to mistreatment with no recourse or protection. The case started eight years ago, shortly after the Federal Liberal government introduced the "low skill" pilot project and before the Conservatives introduced the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion. In 2012, a total of 340,000 temporary foreign workers were employed in Canada – an extremely high number that has brought criticism to the program and to Canada's dependence on it.

Regulation is so minimal (thanks to the Conservatives), that Canadian companies are essentially encouraged to lower their labour costs by relying on this low-skilled, foreign workforce. This week's decision should raise concerns that these hundreds of thousands of workers are being employed in conditions that are precarious at best but are too often dangerous and exploitative.

It's important to note that this kind of long, drawn-out case would not be possible without the legal (and financial) support of national unions, in this case Unifor, who carried the case through to victory.

More: Landmark human rights ruling highlights systemic abuse of temporary foreign workers

More: Migrant workers awarded record \$220,000 in sex harassment case

More: CUPE Facts: Temporary Foreign Worker Program

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