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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 100945
Experience:  Lawyer
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I am aware of a group of foreign workers who are being

Customer Question

I am aware of a group of foreign workers who are being exploited by their employer. I would like to help them fight for their rights. The government is aware of their situation and has done nothing. It is disgusting what Canada is becoming. Is there a legal organization or individual who would be willing to help them and take on their case? I'm not sure where to turn especially when the government does nothing and is waiting for their visa's to expire to deport them.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

I am sorry to hear this.

What did the union do?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They said that they should talk to the employer but the employer has already laid them off and is attacking some of the workers with legal action. These people have no money and are supporting families back home. They are being bullied and pushed around by a greedy employer who has far more rights and resources than they do. They want to go public but they cannot do so until they have proper legal protection. The government has sided with the group and said that the employer was guilty of exploiting the workers but has done nothing to enforce the law. In the mean time the employees have been laid off. They can barely pay their rent let alone help their families. They cannot find another employer because of the agreements they signed and the majority of them paid $8,000 to an employment agency that is controlled by the same employer. Some of them had to borrow the money so they owe debts on top of all their other expenses. This is taking place in Fort McMurray by the way and the illusion that we live in a money paradise is false. There is a lot of exploitation here especially concerning foreign workers. What can I do to give them legal protection? I am a Municipal Employee, I am willing to help anyway I can but I do not have a lot of exposable income to afford a full time lawyer. Is there a group I can contact? Legal students? Lawyers willing to volunteer their time?
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

When you refer to the government what governmental branch do you mean?

What agreement did they sign that says they cannot work for anyone else?

What is their legal status in Canada, are they on temporary work permits or are they permanent residents?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Answers to the following questions: When you refer to the government what governmental branch do you mean? It is the Employment Standards What agreement did they sign that says they cannot work for anyone else? It is the work permit disclosures. What is
their legal status in Canada, are they on temporary work permits or are they permanent residents? They are all Temporary Foreign Workers.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What did the union do?The employment of the TFWs were not unionized. They are under full control by the employer.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

First, they can get other job offers and apply for a new temporary work permit and, they can do so from within Canada. They simply cannot work under their current work permits for a new employer.

They can also file a complaint with the human rights commission. They are being treated this way because of their nationality or place of origin, and so this is unlawful discrimination.

Unfortunately, the legal aid clinic in Fort McMurray is no longer operating, but here is a link to the list of legal aid clinics in Alberta, perhaps one is not too far away from where these people live and perhaps they can get some free help there:

They can also seek assistance from the provincially elected member of parliament in there area. Even thought they are temporary foreign workers, they are entitled to protection.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the response. About seeking job offer for a new work permits, they did that already while they are still employed and since the unemployment rate in the location is very high, they find it hard to get new employer with open or positive LMIA that can accommodate them for a new job.I will advised them to reach out the possibility of the human rights commission office. If you don't mind, can you give us the specific phone number or email address of the commission's office?With regard to the legal aid alberta, one of them whom their employer filed a lawsuit, sought legal aid but only advise were provided.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

Here is a link to the contact information for the Alberta Human Rights Commission:

I am sorry that they couldn't get any more help through legal aid.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is there by any chance that RCMP can extend help on their case or any other government agencies concerned with TFWs abused and exploitation? aside from Human Rights. Following were some of the employers violations:
1. Selling of LMIA to TFWs at a ranged of $8,000.00 to $10,000.00
2. No payment of airfare of TFWs from country of origin to Canada
3. Not meeting the provisions stated on their employment contract like minimum hoursFor your advise please.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

If the Employment Standards Branch will not help and the Human Rights Commission will not help then there is no governmental branch. The RCMP deal with criminal offences and will say that this is a civil matter.

I am sorry that I do not have a more optimistic answer.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I will then wait for their updates with regard to reaching out the Human Right Commission. On the other hand, 4 of the newly terminated employees (TFWs) were terminated for a reason of economic slowdown. Yet, after their termination, the employer hired another four individuals. The employees are confident that the reason of their termination is because they filed a complaints to the employment standards. Is there by any chance a possibility for these guys to file another complaints for unjust dismissal? If so, what would be the steps that they should be taking? Whom/Where are they going to submit the complaints?On the other hand, are these terminated employees protected by the Employment Standards Code specifically under Part 5, Offences, Procedures and Regulations. Sections 125, 126 and 127?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Part 5
Offences, Procedures
and Regulations
Division 1
Offences and Penalties
No dismissal for garnishment proceedings
124 No employer or other person may suspend, lay off or
terminate an employee for the sole reason that garnishment
proceedings are being or may be taken against the employee.
1996 cE-10.3 s124
Discrimination prohibitions
125 No employer or any other person may terminate or restrict
the employment of or in any manner discriminate against an
individual because the individual
(a) has made a complaint under this Act,
(b) has given evidence or may give evidence at any inquiry or
in any proceeding or prosecution under this Act,
(c) requests or demands anything to which the person is entitled
under this Act, or
(d) has made or is about to make any statement or disclosure
that may be required under this Act.
1996 cE-10.3 s125
General prohibitions
126 No employer, employee or other person may
(a) contravene or fail to comply with a notice of an officer or an
order, award, permit or certificate under this Act;
(b) delay or obstruct an officer in the exercise of a power or
performance of a function or duty under this Act;
(c) falsify an employment record or give any false or
misleading information in respect of employment records;
(d) make a complaint to an officer knowing it to be untrue.
1996 cE-10.3 s126
Premium for employment prohibited
127 No employer may receive a payment directly or indirectly
from a person for the purpose of employing that person.
1996 cE-10.3 s127
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

Yes. If they can show that they were dismissed because they filed a complaint then the Employment Standards Branch will take this new complaint very seriously, so they should absolutely file a complaint and make it clear that not only were they dismissed but others were immediately hired to fill their positions.