Bad employer "blacklist" for abusers of foreign workers

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Michelle
Bad employer "blacklist" for abusers of foreign workers

This actually looks like something half-decent, which is shocking, since the Harper government is proposing it.  I keep wondering what the catch is.

Quote:

Employers who abuse foreign workers will be blacklisted and denied permission to hire another foreigner for two years, according to tough new regulations proposed by the Harper government.

Under the rules proposed by Ottawa, any employer shown to have violated the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and the Live-In Caregivers Program will have their names and addresses posted on a government website so foreign workers will know these employers are ineligible to hire them.

The government is also working on a "robust package of measures to crack down on bogus immigration consultants," said an aide to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

The proposed federal changes come in the wake of Star investigations showing widespread abuse in both programs, chief among them being recruiters bringing foreign workers to Canada with bogus job offers, then shifting them into unauthorized work where employers pay them a fraction of what they were promised. The province has already announced its own action, saying in April it would crack down on recruiters who exploit nannies and other foreign workers.

I notice that this report didn't include any comment or reaction from activist groups around immigration or foreign worker issues.  I'd be interested in seeing what they think.

Snert Snert's picture

It would also be amusing if any employer on this blacklist were, say, ineligible to run as an MP in, say, Brampton-Springdale.

Michelle

Ha!

Caissa

I was thinking the same thing Snert. I think it may also be a covert attempt to limit the number of "foreign " workers.

Michelle

I wondered that too, which is why I'm wary.  I'd also like to know what they're going to do to help those who are already here and have been taken by unscrupulous employers, besides simply deporting them. 

The more I think about it, the more I also wonder about the web site thing.  So, their names go on a website and then it's caveat emptor for the thousands of poor and desperate people from other countries who speak languages other than French and English and who might not even know the web site exists in the first place?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Waiting for the other shoe to drop... an annoucement that enforcement of the regulations will be outsourced to CLAC.

Caissa

After reading the article it looks clearly political to me in the worst meaning of the word. The will certainly try to hang something on Dhalla during all of this process. Adittionally, I'm pretty sure I'm not a great fan of public shaming.

Michelle

I'm not a fan of public shaming either.  My initial support for it was because I think it's good for people to know who they shouldn't work for.  But I'm not sure how the information will reach the right people in time anyhow.

Caissa

I hope you don't think I was suggesting you were a fan of public shaming, Michelle, because I wasn't. If it seemed like I was I apologize.  I was borrowing the phrase from the article's sub-headline. I think you are right that it is masquerading as an attempt to get "information" into people's hand. This is just a small part of how the state manages the labour force.

Michelle

No, I know that, I was just agreeing with you. 

I like the idea that they can't hire anyone for two years after someone has been abused by them.  The stories I've read about serial abusers of nannies, who then just hire another one the next day after letting the person go because she spoke up about the abuse - well, that could curb that sort of behaviour, perhaps.  If it's not so easy to replace someone if you've been found to have been abusive, then that at least shifts a little bit of power from the employer to the employee.  Not nearly enough, though.

Tommy_Paine

 

Oh, I think the catch will be in the standards of proof.  "Shown to be abusive"  will  probably have to be abuse witnessed by a Priest, A Rabbi and Minister, 3 Supreme Court Justices  (serving or  retired, catch a break with that)  on even numbered days when the barometeric pressure is below 100 Kp.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

There in lies the rub Tommy.  There is little to no enforcement of Employment Standards left in this country and a human rights complaint takes for ever and will result in a finding on whether something is discriminatory not abusive.  I can't imagine a Wendy's or other employers who are abusing the system and their workers allowing their names to go onto the list without fighting in court and possibly suing the government for defamation.  

But it sure sounds nice doesn't it. Expect to see it prominently displayed in ads showing how caring and feeling the Cons are.

Tommy_Paine

 

Blacklists can cut both ways.  I remember landlords in London wanting to start a blacklist for "bad" tennants, and everyone being up in arms about it, as "bad tennant" would surely have meant any tennant who stood up for themselves.

I suspect that the "shown to  be" would mean person's convicted of abusing foriegn workers.  Which means that my whimsy above is pretty much on the button, when you consider how things actually work.

But it sure sounds nice doesn't it. Expect to see it prominently displayed in ads showing how caring and feeling the Cons are.

That's pretty much how it works.

Don't forget to pay the "consultants" who were so instrumental in coming up with this plan.

 

Michelle

This is why I love babble.  I read a story like this in the paper and perhaps initially it sounds good - but it takes some good critical thinking to get beneath the spin.

triciamarie

I see it as a way for the Harper government to off-load their responsibility onto the shoulders of the very workers who are abused -- in keeping with their whole ideology around the role of government. First, this measure puts a bogus "due diligence" onus onto the foreign caregivers themselves, who as you point out Michelle, may in actual fact have no access to this information, much less any real choice in whether to accept whatever work they are given by their immigration broker. Furthermore, vulnerable abused workers are the ones who have to initiate legal complaints, at risk of violating the terms of their visa (if they can't find other work), in circumstances where their income is often the main financial support for their entire family back home. It is reasonable to assume that the number of employers even charged, much less convicted, would be only a small proportion of those actually guilty of abuse. So the information will be unreliable -- it will not be possible to say that if an employer is not on the list, they are probably a good employer. And are these employers on the list only for their two years in the doghouse?

I am hopeful though that the government will manage to constrain some of the worst excesses of the immigration extortionists.

KeyStone

Well, I for one, don't see the world in black and white. Therefore, I believe it is theoretically possible that the Conservatives are doing something good without ulterior motives.

Clearly, there are different ways to look at this, but I do think that fear of being on the blacklist will create much encouragement for employers to treat foreign workers well. Furthermore, fines and monies paid to be removed from the blacklist should pay for inspectors and programs to show companies how to adhere to the standards. In theory, stopping the rampant abuse of foreign workers should be a good thing.

However, given that Jason Kenney seems to dislike allowing immigrants in, it's probably more likely that this blacklist will be used willy-nilly to decrease the demand for immigrants, so that we can reduce our immigration levels. In a worst case scenario - Kenney may even be looking at targetinng businesses that hire a lot of Muslims, and ensuring that they can no longer assist to bring in Muslims by providing employment.

bc_settlement_worker

I don't think blacklisting will be very effective against third party employment agencies, as the disreputable ones will just open up under a new business name.

As for protecting workers, it is a double-edged sword. I recently spoke with a temporary foreign worker who was waiting to find out if her application to renew her work permit would be approved. She heard from an immigration worker that her chances were about 50:50 because there had been too many complaints against the employer. This worker had made the choice to continue working for this employer because for her it was preferrable to the alternatives.

She has a family back in her home country who counts on the money she remits to them. Going home is not a viable option as she could not earn enough to adequately support her family. If she does not stay with her current employer it would be difficult for her to find another employer who was willing to go through the process of hiring a temporary foreign worker. The employer would need to get a favourable LMO (Labour Market Opinion) showing that there were not enough Canadians availabe to do the work. That, combined with the time it takes for immigration (CIC) to process the work permit application would take several weeks (or even months). If the employer gets blacklisted, any existing employees with work permits will suffer.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

What's in a name especially a corporate name? I doubt if Harper will not have some sort of due process for the employers accused.  That should facilitate employers knowing who has squealed from unjust treatment.  The employers black list will not be published.

The Temporary Worker program is an outrageous example of global feudalism.  

NDPP

There should be a Bad Employer Blacklist for workers foreign or domestic on Babble. Good thread idea.