Workers urgently need your support
The IWC is working with a group of Temporary Foreign Workers. These workers had worked for different farms and companies in and around Victoriaville. For various reasons linked to difficult working conditions and labour code violations, they left their employers and sought work elsewhere. They found a temporary placement agency that had them sign contracts and pay for the transfer for their work permits to the company. As they worked, the new employer started to deduct money from their salaries stating that he was paying himself back the recruitment fees and other fees related to their applications for new work permits. They were of course defrauded and when one of the former employers denounced the agency the CBSA along with SQ raided their work place and arrested 15 of the workers. They spent up to three weeks in detention while the recruiter walked scot-free
One worker has a son in the hospital in Guatemala with a serious head injury and will not be able to follow-up on his treatment if the family can’t pay. He is also in debt as he borrowed money to pay money lenders to ensure his recruitment back in Guatemala. Many of the workers are in similar situations – when they were put in detention, it appeared that they would be deported without a chance of filing complaint processes to get their money back.
The staff and volunteers of the IWC along with lawyer, Susan Ramirez, worked relentlessly to secure the release of all the detained migrant workers in this case. With the support of our network and allies they were given guarantees for food and lodging. The IWC team has filed a collective complaint with the CNESST to try to get back the money stolen from the workers, while their lawyer has filed cases with the SQ against the placement agency and the immigration consultant that colluded for fraud and criminal threats.
Our goal now is to get the workers TRPs and open work permits. This will allow them to stay to follow through with their complaints processes and allow to work to gain some income to support themselves and their families back in Guatemala.
There is still a mountain of work to do while the centre has very limited resources. We hope to support several of the workers’ families back in Guatemala, who rely on their income. While we fight for their right to earn income while they stay, their families are in dire need. There are also fees related to legal applications, not to mention travel cost associated with many of them having to meet all together at the centre to participate in the decision making surrounding their claims and the Program and the regulation of unscrupulous temp placement agencies.
These are the core campaigns of the centre and we have gained powerful actors for change in the Guatemalan workers who seek justice. But we need you help to continue! Please donate to the Immigrant Workers Centre to help with this great endeavour
Eric Shragge, President of the Board of Directors, on behalf of the IWC Team