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Metcalf Foundation releases report Disturbing migrant worker exploitation

The Metcalf Foundation has just released a new report: Profiting from the Precarious: How recruitment practices exploit migrant workers. Written by Innovation Fellow Fay Faraday, the report examines temporary foreign workers’ experiences of recruitment, exposes disturbing evidence of patterns of recruitment abuse, and explores inadequacies of existing legal models to protect low-wage migrant workers.

The report reveals that migrant workers are paying thousands of dollars in recruiting fees — equal to as much as two to three years’ wages in their home currency — to work in minimum wage jobs in Ontario. Even though a 2009 Ontario law prohibits recruitment fees for live-in caregivers, two-thirds of them have paid fees since the law took effect. Nearly one in five arrives to find the job they were promised does not exist. Migrant workers in other “lower skilled” jobs and in agriculture are unprotected by the law and are targeted by similar predatory practices.

Profiting from the Precarious draws on over 200 in-depth interviews with low-wage migrant workers in the Greater Toronto Area and southern Ontario, and community organizers in Canada and abroad. Faraday maps out migrant workers’ experiences of recruitment and demonstrates how our complaint-based laws fail to provide effective protection or enable workers to enforce their rights.

As the Ontario government has recently introduced two bills that address worker recruitment, there is both urgency and opportunity to examine legal models that could provide effective, meaningful, and accessible protection for low-wage migrant workers.

To download a complimentary copy of the summary report or the full report, please click here.

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