Workers deserve better than “wishy-washy” motion
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) says a private member’s motion introduced, amended, and passed in the House of Assembly today does not go anywhere near far enough to protect temporary foreign workers in this province.
The resolution calls for employer registration, and a licensing requirement for companies and individuals recruiting foreign workers. The original Opposition version called for legislation similar to Nova Scotia’s or Manitoba’s; the government removed references to the other provinces. Michael says registration is a good first step, but goes nowhere near what is actually needed.
She has repeatedly asked for the Labour Standards Act to be updated to provide the protection needed by this relatively new category of workers.
“I have been told time and time again in the House of Assembly that government investigates all complaints,” she said. “But temporary foreign workers need more proactive protection.
“We have all heard the stories of employers who withhold pay, who do not pay overtime, who pay temporary foreign workers less than they tell government they are paying them. A vulnerable worker in a foreign country, who may not speak the language or be informed about the rights of employees, needs an extra level of protection.”
Michael adds she was encouraged to hear a government member say they want the right legislation, and she plans to hold them to it. In the meantime, she says, her caucus voted against the motion because the members could not support “this wishy-washy, inadequate approach to such a serious issue.”