Government of Canada protects and empowers temporary foreign workers in Southwestern Ontario through the Migrant Worker Support Program

News release

December 19, 2022                   Essex, Ontario            Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada takes its responsibilities to protect temporary foreign workers very seriously. Ensuring their health, safety and quality of life while they are living and working in Canada is a key priority, and the Government is taking concrete action to better support them.

Today, Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced that the Government of Canada is providing over $3.6 million in funding to Workforce WindsorEssex through the Migrant Worker Support Program. This is one of several projects being funded through this program to help temporary foreign workers learn about and exercise their rights while they are in Canada.

The TeaMWork: Empowering Migrant Workers in the Essex, Lambton, and Kent Counties project will support over 8,000 temporary foreign workers in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, and Sarnia-Lambton. The funding will be used to help build the capacity of local organizations that work with and support migrant workers through community activities like recreational and information sharing events, providing educational materials and other community support services.

As part of the Government’s broader commitment to protecting temporary foreign workers from mistreatment and abuse, Budget 2021 committed $49.5 million over three years to implement the new Migrant Worker Support Program to better support temporary foreign workers by addressing power imbalances between employers and workers. Specifically, the Program aims to:

  • help migrant workers understand and become aware of their rights and responsibilities in Canada, through educational activities and materials;
  • empower migrant workers to exercise their rights, by providing or helping them access services available to them;
  • promote the inclusion of migrant workers through social, cultural and recreational events;
  • support migrant workers during emergency situations;
  • foster new partnerships or leverage existing networks to support migrant workers; and
  • help develop coordinated approaches among community organizations, and improve their capacity to provide resources and services directly to migrant workers.

In addition to supporting community-based projects, the Migrant Worker Support Program will also fund reception and referral services for temporary foreign workers as they arrive in Canada at major airports across the country.

All workers in Canada deserve to be safe in their workplace. Temporary foreign workers have the same workplace protections and rights as Canadians and permanent residents, and the Government of Canada continually reviews activities under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that these rights and protections are upheld.

Quotes

 “Temporary foreign workers are essential to Canada’s economy, filling critical roles in many sectors across the country. It is vital that migrant workers are kept safe, adequately supported, and know their rights when they come to work in Canada. Our government will continue to protect our most vulnerable and isolated workers, ensuring their health, safety, and quality of life are protected while supporting our economy.”

– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“Every year, our region welcomes thousands of migrant workers – the most in Canada. Their skills and expertise are essential to our food supply. Through this partnership with Workforce WindsorEssex, we have an opportunity to set a national example ensuring migrant workers know their rights in Canada, and that they are safe, supported and protected while here.”

– Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh

“Workforce WindsorEssex is honoured to partner with the Government of Canada in support of Migrant Worker communities across Essex, Kent and Lambton counties. Through various community projects, we know first-hand the number of organizations, large and small, that work very hard to ensure that Migrant Workers feel informed, supported, and welcomed in the community. This funding will help support those partner organizations to build their capacity and increase outreach and services. In turn, Migrant Workers will benefit from increased access to services, information, emergency supports and community events through these networks of grass roots and community organizations.  The Migrant Worker Support Program and the TeaMWork Project will create new opportunities for the benefit of all Migrant Workers in the region.” 

– Michelle Suchiu, Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships, Workforce WindsorEssex

Quick facts

  • The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows employers in Canada to hire a foreign worker when no Canadians or permanent residents are available.

  • On September 26, 2022, 13 new regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers) came into force. These regulatory amendments will further prevent bad actors from participating in the TFWP, strengthen the Department’s ability to effectively conduct inspections and apply penalties for non-compliance, and directly improve the protection of vulnerable temporary foreign workers.

  • In April 2022, the Government of Canada announced the Workforce Solutions Road Map as part of ongoing efforts to adjust and improve the TFWP to ensure that it continues to meet the labour market needs of today. Central to this is addressing labour shortages, enhancing worker protections and building a stronger workforce for today and tomorrow, including through pathways to permanent residency.

  • To further improve the TFWP, Budget 2022 proposed a number of measures to increase protections for workers and reduce administrative burdens for trusted repeat employers. This includes $14.6 million in 2022–23 to make improvements to the quality of employer inspections and hold employers accountable for the treatment of workers.

Associated links

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tara Beauport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
343-576-1628
tara.beauport@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

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