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 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:  
Adriana Beemans, Metcalf Foundation
(416) 926-0366 x224,

Media Release

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