Ottawa – Food and Beverage Canada – Aliments et boissons Canada (FBC-ABC) made a submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, as part of the Committee’s study on Open Work Permits and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
In the submission, the organization emphasizes the critical role played by temporary foreign workers in addressing labour shortages, particularly in the food and beverage manufacturing sector. We also acknowledge the importance of maintaining a balance between facilitating the employment of foreign workers and ensuring the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
To ensure the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and to best support workers that find themselves in an abusive workplace, FBC-ABC made the following recommendations:
- Enhance the federal governments efforts to inform temporary foreign workers of their rights in Canada, including the availability of support programs and open work permits for vulnerable workers.
- Consider making the Recognized Employer Pilot a permanent initiative, as it effectively identifies and recognizes companies with a longstanding history of program compliance.
- Develop programs facilitating the employment of foreign workers in permanent and year-round positions, including pathways to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers in critical sectors like food and beverage manufacturing.
- If seeking to explore open work permits, consider allowing these at the company level, which would give companies the opportunity to promote workers within their plants (for example, being able to move people from their original positions to other parts of the plant to account for changing workforce needs). A framework to guard against abuse would need to be considered.
Food and Beverage Canada said it will continue to engage with Members of Parliament, stakeholders such as the Baking Association of Canada, and officials to further discuss the recommendations outlined in the submission.