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Profiting from the Precarious: How recruitment practices exploit migrant workers
Fay Faraday

There are over 338,000 migrant workers in Canada. This number has more than doubled since 2006. As Canada increasingly relies on a work force of transnational migrant workers with temporary status, an industry of third-party for-profit recruiters has emerged to match workers with jobs in Canada.

Profiting from the Precarious: How recruitment practices exploit migrant workers, written by Metcalf Innovation Fellow and respected constitutional, labour, and human rights lawyer Fay Faraday, exposes how temporary foreign 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 yet they remain indebted to informal money lenders. Meanwhile migrant workers in other “lower skilled” jobs and in agriculture are completely unprotected by the law and are targeted by similar predatory practices.

Profiting from the Precarious examines migrant workers’ experiences of recruitment and analyses whether the existing legal model can adequately protect low-wage migrant workers against recruitment abuse.

The report draws on 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 analyses how abusive recruitment practices resonate throughout a worker’s labour migration cycle. She demonstrates how our complaint-based laws fail to provide effective protection or enable workers to enforce their rights.

Related Materials & Media Coverage

For media inquiries, please contact:  
Anne-Marie Flanagan, Flanagan & Associates
(416) 735-3690, amflan@sympatico.ca

Adriana Beemans, Metcalf Foundation
(647) 969-0297, abeemans@metcalffoundation.com

Media Release

The murky world of the agencies that recruit temporary foreign workers
The Calgary Herald, Ali Dharssi
September 14, 2016

New Ontario bill to protect migrants is doomed: Study
The Toronto Star, Nicholas Keung
April 9, 2014

Ontario laws failing to prevent migrant workers from exploitation, abuse
Kevin Newman Live, Jordan Chittley
April 9, 2014

Nanny Recruitment Fees
CBC Radio, Metro Morning, Host Matt Galloway interviews report author Fay Faraday
April 9, 2014

Help wanted: Ontario’s temporary foreign workers and the need for answers
Rabble.ca, Kaylie Tiessen
April 9, 2014

Media Mornings
Vancouver Co-op Radio 100.5FM, Media Mornings, Host Jane Bouey interviews report author Fay Faraday
April 9, 2014

Recruiters charging foreign workers in Ontario illegal fees as high as $12,000 for jobs that might not exist, report finds
Financial Post, Rachel Browne
April 10, 2014

Profiting from the precarious
Maytree Conversations, Ranjit Bhaskar
April 11, 2014

Complaints about temporary foreign worker program spread
The Vancouver Sun, Tara Carman
April 15, 2014

Profiting from the precarious: new report details recruitment abuse of migrant workers
The Broadbent Blog, Fay Faraday
April 23, 2014

Ban on hiring foreign workers can’t address crisis
The Toronto Star, Nicholas Keung
April 25, 2014 

Advice to Saskatchewan firm ‘intimidating’ to foreign workers, law prof says
CBC News, Geoff Leo
May 5, 2014

We have the law, let’s enforce it
Canadian Bar Association National Magazine, Kim Covert
May 6, 2014

Employed, temporarily
Now Magazine, Josh Kerr
May 8 – 15, 2014

Foreign Worker Changes?
CBC Radio, Metro Morning, Host Matt Galloway interviews report author Fay Faraday
May 8, 2014

Canadian jobs vs. Jobs in Canada: Dangerous discourse in the TFW debate
Rabble.ca, Julia Smith
May 26, 2014

Complaint-based systems failing abused foreign workers: expert  (Video report)
CBC News, Geoff Leo
May 27, 2014

Few provinces track complaints by temporary foreign workers
CBC News, Amber Hildebrandt
May 27, 2014

Widespread TFW Abuses Revealed As Industry Group Makes Stunning Assertion
Huffington Post Canada, Daniel Tencer
May 28, 2014

Migrant and Refugee Workers in Canada Should At Least Have Bathroom Privileges
Vice News, Dave Dean
May 30, 2014

“Canadians Come First”
CBC Radio, Metro Morning, Guest host Gill Deacon interviews report author Fay Faraday
June 23, 2014

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