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POSITION PAPER: PROTECTING THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL WORKERS

January 24, 2021

Position Paper submitted to the Committee on Labour and the Economyas part of the consultations on Bill n . 59, Act to Modernize the Occupational Health and Safety Regime

This document was prepared by the Coalition Against Precarious Work, created in 2012 by organizations and associations working with precarious workers, particularly migrants, immigrants and racialized workers.

Coalition members welcome the willingness to “modernize” the occupational health-and-safety regime, an initiative that is all the more important as the crisis at COVID- 19 amplifies the shortcomings of the present regime. However, the draft bill remains too limited, in our view, in affording protect to workers, particularly those who are non- unionized or atypically employed. We deplore the fact that organizations representing non- unionized workers, with certain exceptions, were not invited to participate in the consultation process.


This brief begins by presenting some of the issues in the reform of the OHSA and the LATMP that are of particular concern to workers of recent immigration background. To this are three other issues of major importance to all workers.


The second section presents our proposals for the reform.


This brief concludes with testimonies from workers about their work experiences.

Warehouse Workers Commission Report and Launch

An evening of food, culture and testimonials

Saturday, November 23, 2019, 4 pm – 6 pm

Immigrant Workers Centre, 4755 Ave Van Horne Suite 110, Montréal

https://www.facebook.com/events/2678167875566768/
 

The Immigrant Workers Centre would like to invite you to participate in the launch of our report which was based on a two-year investigation on the conditions faced by warehouse workers in Montreal. There will be an event on Saturday, November 23rd at 4 pm. This event will feature the testimonial of temporary agency workers in warehouses that are active in organizing, because of the conditions they face; from low-wages, job insecurity, health and safety, and for status. The event will also be a chance to celebrate and come together with cultural performances and a community dinner provided by the Guinean community.

 

This was a project that was led by a core group of 5 temporary agency workers, who conducted group interviews and surveys with 50 workers in Montreal warehouses and distribution centres which have become “the new factories” in Montreal. As e-commerce and just in time distribution plays a crucial role in neoliberalism from the rise of Amazon, and other retail giants focusing more on online sales. Warehouse workers become critical in the economy. These workers as highlighted in the report are mainly temporary agency workers without job security, without access to basic rights, and are often racialized workers from Africa, Haiti, the Philippines, Egypt and other places.

 

The report itself is not just an opportunity to discuss the conditions faced by these workers but a chance to come together in solidarity to find ways to organize for justice for these warehouse workers to defend their basic labour rights.

“That was a kidnapping”: CBSA cuts fence to deport Lucy Granados with only the clothes on her back

Press Release

Lucy-detention_centre_bnner

Banner on fence of Laval Immigration Detention Centre in Laval, Québec.

 

Supporters call on Minister Hussen to Bring Lucy Home

 

Montreal, 16 April — Lucy Francineth Granados arrived in Guatemala late on April 13th with only the clothes on her back after a turbulent final morning in Canada. Prevented from removing Lucy from the Laval Immigration Detention Centre by around 50 community members forming a festive blockade, at around 8am CBSA officers cut their way through a fence behind the detention centre to assure her deportation at 9:15.

 

“That was a kidnapping, what they did with me. no one saw me leave. At the airport, no one checked my passport. It was unjust.” said Lucy. Lucy was forced to leave all her luggage behind.

 

“Lucy told us she caught a brief glimpse of the sit-in before officials smuggled her out the back. Surrounded by tense CBSA agents and police crying “vite, vite,” Lucy was frog-marched through snow to a CBSA vehicle waiting on a nearby road. Accompanied by many cars, she was brought to the airport, driven directly onto the tarmac and mounted the plane, which took off 15 minutes later,” said William Van Driel of Solidarity Across Borders.

 

“Lucy was accompanied by two CBSA agents and a doctor on the long journey. The doctor was a fig leaf to mask the fact that the government did not respect the recommendations of four doctors that she not be deported.  She arrived alive but traumatized and with her arm still partially immobile and numb from a CBSA-inflicted injury during her arrest three weeks earlier.” Van Driel added.

 

“The question we have to ask is why the government went to the incredible length of cutting a fence to sneak her out in the face of steadfast public opposition? Were they so bent on getting rid of this single mother to silence a campaign that has drawn public attention to CBSA abuse? Or is it the symbol she represents as a voice for the rights of undocumented migrants, a problem the Trudeau government seems determined not to address?” said Van Driel.

 

“We are calling on Minister Goodale to investigate CBSA abuse and violence in Lucy’s case. We are also demanding that Immigration Minister Hussen accept Lucy’s Humanitarian and Compassionate application immediately, so that she can return to her home and community,” said Viviana Medina, a community organiser with the Immigrant Workers Centre.

 

Lucy’s application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H&C) was submitted in September 2017. Her case meets the criteria and if the ministers had simply agreed to examine it before deporting her, it would have been accepted. However, it is very unusual for H&Cs to be accepted once the applicant is deported. If it is accepted, she would normally be able to return to Canada.

 

Lucy, a single mother and a community organizer for the rights of other undocumented women and temporary workers, lived in Montreal for nine years. Since her arrest on March 20th, Lucy received extensive support from across the country. This included visits to MPs across the country, hundreds of phone calls and emails to Minister Hussen’s offices, letters, articles, rallies, vigils, and an 8-day sit-in, as well as a petition with over 14 000 signatures.

 

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Agency Workers Have the Right to Holiday Pay. Did you get yours?

Agency Workers Have the Right to Holiday Pay.
Did you get yours?

If you didn’t receive your holiday pay on May 21st, June 24th, or July 1st, bring your pay stubs to 4755 Van Horne, Suite 110 (near Metro Plamondon), on July 6th at 3:30pm. The Temporary Agency Worker’s Association can help you claim it.

https://www.facebook.com/events/500870933314562

Help us Keep the Immigrant Workers Centre open

The Immigrant Workers Centre has experienced one of it busiest years as more and more courageous workers, sometimes without status, fighting for respect and protection against bosses, who believe that workplace abuse is justified particularly if the worker is a recent immigrant or someone without status. Staff and volunteers at the centre accompany workers in their fight back. For individuals with grievances, it takes many hours to prepare cases, do the research, support given to workers and with determination to win, there have been setting precedents cases against all odds. And we do win. Examples include unemployment and occupational health benefits for those who have lost jobs as temporary foreign workers. In another case, a worker was given severance benefits far beyond what she would have received from the Commission des Normes de Travail. We see the daily abuses of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and help workers navigate the complexities of it.
But this is not enough. We go beyond individual successes in two ways. First, we campaign for policy change. We are working in two areas: Temporary Placement Agency Work, and the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. We describe these campaigns in the accompanying newsletter. Second and perhaps more important, workers themselves, are the spokespeople and witnesses for these campaigns. The IWC is a political project in the sense that it supports building power and a collective voice for immigrant workers, both with and without status. This is the exciting part of the work and the most inspiring. Recently we held a meeting that brought together approximately 60 workers, domestics, and those employed through temporary employment agencies and those in the temporary foreign workers program. They shared stories of the abuse and exploitation but more important worked together to present demands to the Quebec Minister of Labour. The minister’s office met to discuss these issues. We will share more as the process unfolds.

This letter is to ask for your financial support. Despite the successes and the important achievements of the IWC during the past year, there have been many months where we had to decide whether to delay the rent or pay, often for weeks at a time. Currently, volunteers carry out most of the work at the centre with one person currently on staff, one on a short-term grant from Emploi Quebec and the other on a special grant from that office. We have made progress with trade unions and are in discussion with several of the large unions in Quebec for support. There is a growing understanding of the importance of the IWC as a component of the broader labour movement. Both temporary placement agencies and the Temporary Foreign Workers program are part of a wider attack on the living standards of all workers. Unions understand the importance of the IWC in organizing and supporting those workers. Our longer-term goal with the unions is to raise enough on a recurrent basis to pay the salary of one organizer. We continue to apply for both government and foundation grants and enter into partnerships with academic projects, but with limited success in an environment of budget compression. We need your help. If you support the goals of the centre please give generously and support our campaigns for justice for immigrant and migrant workers!

Sincerely

Eric Shragge

President

Board of Directors

Please donate through Paypal on our website  https://iwc-cti.ca/ You can give a single donation or a recurrent monthly donation.

Or you can make a check payable to the Immigrant Workers Centre and mail it to our office 4755 Van Horne #110 Montreal Quebec H3W 1H8

Photos of Mayworks 2013!! performances and skits by Immigrant workers depicting their struggles!

//quelquesnotes.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/110513-2/

Precarious Worker Campaign Media

=>(english) //www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2013/05/01/quebec-foreign-worker-agricultural.html

=>(english) //www.montrealgazette.com/news/Foreign+workers+face+changing+landscape/8323510/story.html

=>(francais) //www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/societe/2013/04/05/003-travailleurs-immigrants-protection.shtml

=>(francaise) //www.ledevoir.com/societe/actualites-en-societe/377067/le-cauchemar-de-maher