I read with considerable interest the P.E.I. Working
Group for a Livable Income’s call on the provincial government to begin a full review of the Employment Standards Act. The many suggested changes such as the sexual harassment policy, job protection for parental leave and paid leave for victims of domestic violence are commendable pieces of legislative changes.
While I appreciate the many valid points the group has raised and commend the groups efforts, I would ask the group and government to indicate who is providing oversight in the workplace to protect the workers on P.E.I., specifically migrant workers from exploitation?
Unfortunately migrant workers are easily exploited, working long days, split shifts, and some are working as many as 21 days in a row without a day off. These workers work under a cloud of fear from employers who hold the key to their remaining in Canada. Many workers arrive on P.E.I. to work, but they work under harsh conditions, brought to Canada by recruiting agencies from Atlantic Canada and the US. Our farms and fish plants are full of temporary foreign workers and it is nothing short of modern day slavery.
My question to the Working Group and Workforce Minister Sonny Gallant is twofold: Who is providing workplace oversight to protect all workers in Canada, and where is the full disclosure from provincial and federal governments on the exact operations of these programs? Bringing workers to Canada without the opportunity to gain permanent residency is exploitation in its truest form.