IWC-CTI

Placement Agency Organizing at the IWC in 2018-2019

Over the past year, ATTAP has had three main priorities. Here, we will provide an overview of organizing activity which has taken place to advance those priorities.

 

Over the past year, the Immigrant Workers Centre has continued its efforts to organize workers who are employed via placement agency. The main organizing body that does this work is the Association des travailleuses-eurs temporaires et d’agences de placement (ATTAP), a branch of the IWC.


 Reform of the Labor Standards Act


This year, the amendment to the Labor Standards Act, Law 176, was adopted on June 12, 2018. The main reforms that concern us are those regarding the supervision of employment agencies and the conditions of temporary foreign workers. While the law has been passed, the regulations—which will stipulate how it is enforced—are still pending. During the consultation period, the IWC, alongside allied groups, organized two discussion meetings on Bill 176, and extended invitations to (im)migrant workers. Following these discussions, the ITC made proposals and presented a brief to the National Assembly Committee. The changes which occurred can be taken as a victory for us and our demands.


Since the adoption of the law, the IWC has been pursuing two types of activities:


1) Dissemination of information on new labor standards to (im)migrant workers;

2) Sending proposals for regulations to the Government.


Warehouse Work Survey


In October 2017, the IWC and ATTAP launched an research-action project based around working conditions in warehouses in the greater Montreal area. This project has multiple objectives:


1) Document working conditions in warehouses;

2) Formulate proposals for improving working conditions based on the experiences of workers;

3) Recruit warehouse workers to create a support network;

4) Create a network of solidarity aroundthese issues.


In this context, a commission of inquiry was created, composed of workers who are currently working or who worked in one or more warehouses, in collaboration with volunteers. The project is conducted in the following stages:


1) recruitment of participants;

2) semi-structured surveys and interviews;

3) data analysis;

4) publication of the results.


Thanks to a grant from the Beati Foundation, six workers participated in three training sessions and they recruited and interviewed nearly 50 others. Questions and discussions during interviews highlighted the working conditions in the warehouses. The final report will be published in November 2019 and will include recommendations to improve conditions for warehouse workers


Creation of the ATTAP Women’s Committee


A group of women from ATTAP organized a campaign to raise issues of sexual and psychological harassment in the workplace. The objectives of the campaign include bringing women workers, who face similar issues, together to discuss and evaluate their situations, as well as to create a workplace awareness campaign for people in similar situations, and to challenge these situations using laws and policies applied by CNESST. This campaign was prepared and launched in 2018-2019 and will be extended in 2019-2020.


Activities


Beyond these broad campaigns, ATTAP has also organized a series of specific activities. These include:


  • A demonstration in May 2018 against precarious work at the National Assembly in Quebec City
  • Continuation of the campaign of solidarity with Sandra Cordero against police brutality and political repression – Dinner / Projection in May, rallies at the courthouse and court with our allies.
  • March 2019- ATTAP presence at the 2019 international women’s march
  • Continuation of the awareness campaign on deportations to Guinea
  • June 2019-Ministry of Labor search against placement agencies- awareness campaign around Parc metro
  • Two ATTAP members, Lucy, and Sophie, whose cases have been followed for a long time, have received confirmation of the acceptance of their humanitarian requests.
  • Outreach at Parc-Ex to develop links with a group of Punjabi workers