Migrant Workers Centre’s Priorities for the 2020 BC Provincial Election for a Just Recovery for All

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Today, the Migrant Workers Centre (“MWC”) is releasing its priorities for the 2020 BC Provincial Election for a Just Recovery for All. The election priorities include measures to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers who have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Migrant Workers Centre

Priorities for the 2020 BC Provincial Election for a Just Recovery for All

About the Migrant Workers Centre

Established in 1986, Migrant Workers Centre (“MWC”) is a non-profit organization that facilitates access to justice for migrant workers in BC through the provision of free legal information, advice and representation. MWC also works to advance fair immigration policy and improved labour standards for migrant workers through public legal education and training, law and policy reform, and test case litigation.[1]

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the extent to which the BC economy and society depend on migrant workers who lack permanent resident status and, as a result, lack access to basic rights and services that we as Canadians expect. Tens of thousands of migrant workers across the province work in our grocery stores, as cleaners, health care workers, child care workers, truckers, construction workers and farm workers.

In 2019, there were a total of 32,020 Temporary Foreign Worker positions on positive Labour Market Impact Assessments in BC, of which 16,904 were in ELSS positions.[2]

Priorities for Migrant Workers for the 2020 BC Provincial Election

1. Expand the BC Provincial Nominee Program to include workers in “entry-level and semi-skilled” (ELSS) jobs in health care, child care, agriculture, janitorial services, retail, and construction that is open to workers regardless of immigration status in Canada.

2. Ensure that all workers in BC can enroll in the Medical Services Plan and access health care regardless of immigration status.

3. Ensure adequate staffing and resources for the Employment Standards Branch to proactively enforce the provisions of the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act, including random, unannounced inspections of workplaces that employ migrant workers.

4. Ensure that essential workers including farm workers, sitters, residential care workers, night attendants, and live-in home support workers are protected with respect to rights such as the hourly minimum wage, statutory holiday pay and overtime pay by repealing regulatory exclusions for these occupations under the Employment Standards Act.

[1] Migrant Workers Centre is an active member of the BC Employment Standards Coalition, and endorses the Coalition’s “Employment Standards & Labour Relations Code Reform Priorities for 2020 Provincial Election Candidates.”

[2] Government of Canada, Labour Market Impact Assessment statistics at: https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/e8745429-21e7-4a73-b3f5-90a779b78d1e