Concerns Remain Over TFW program in Yukon

WHITEHORSE – President Vikki Quocksister of the Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL) offered cautious praise for the Yukon Government’s announcement on the annex of the Temporary Foreign Worker program, but many issues remain, she said today.

“The inclusion of a provision to monitor health and safety is positive, but it doesn’t change the fact that the TFW program is flawed.” Quocksister said from Niagara-on-the-lake, ON, where she is preparing to join other labour leaders at a meeting with Canada’s Premiers. “Temporary foreign workers are still vulnerable to abuses when their work visas are effectively controlled by their employers. They need more protections, or the program should be shelved.”

Education Minister Scott Kent made the formal announcement this morning that the Yukon would take over the administration of the program for the tourism, hospitality, oil, gas, and mining sectors in a pilot project to last for one year with the possibility of extension. The project will include compulsory health and safety monitoring by the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

“All workers in the Yukon deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in the workplace, and deserve a decent wage,” said Quocksister. “Until effective safeguards and monitoring are in place and our concerns about the program are fully met, we will not be supporting the program’s existence.”