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AG concerned about treatment of foreign workers in the tar sands, at the Olympics

The Globe and Mail reports that Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s report yesterday, “took direct aim at the foreign worker program, which brings in an increasing number of often low-skilled workers for jobs ranging from oil sands labourers to construction workers on Olympics facilities and live-in nannies.”

“Workers are particularly vulnerable, she said, given that they often don’t speak English, and owe their status in Canada to their employer.”

“Colombian electrician Henry Builes took part in the program and said it is clearly discriminatory. He was among a group of Latin American workers who put in long hours at below minimum wage on the dangerous light-rail tunnel construction work for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The group complained about the conditions, and the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled in its favour last year.”

“Immigration Minister Jason Kenney Tuesday noted that the program plays an important economic role.”

The Toronto Star adds, “Last month, Ottawa moved to ensure that employers who abuse foreign workers will be blacklisted and denied permission to hire another foreigner for (only) two years.”

For a December 2007 ‘Integrate This!’ blog outlining Council of Canadians concerns about the treatment of temporary foreign workers in Canada, please go to http://canadians.org/integratethis/workers/2007/Dec-20.html.

That blog highlighted the North American Competitiveness Council recommendation through the Security and Prosperity Partnership to expand the temporary foreign workers program to service the tar sands.

Today’s Globe and Mail article is at http://theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/auditor-general-sounds-alarm-on-immigration-policy/article1349837/?.

The Toronto Star report is at http://www.thestar.com/mobile/NEWS/article/720829.