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New hotline launched to protect temporary foreign workers

EDMONTON, Jan. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - A confidential hotline has been created to help temporary foreign workers get answers about their rights, both under the federal program and at work.

"Temporary foreign workers have rights just like Canadian workers, and we intend to ensure that they are enforced across the country," said Wally Ewanicke, an organizer with Unifor. "The new hotline is a confidential resource for workers who need answers about their rights at work."

The hotline is an initiative of the Temporary Foreign Workers Association, a group started by Migrante and Unifor. The toll-free number is 1-888-366-0194.

In many sectors of the economy, employers have taken advantage of language barriers and other challenges to exploit foreign workers. The hotline is designed to be a reliable source of information about legal entitlements such as rates of pay, overtime, and immigration requirements.

"If they are good enough to work in Canada, they are good enough to stay," said Marco Luciano of Migrante, an alliance Filipino organizations across Canada, about the path to immigration that many foreign workers seek. "There is no such thing a disposable labour. Temporary Foreign Workers deserve dignity and respect in the workplace, just like any other worker."

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.