Expanded squad aims to better protect rights of Quebec's temporary foreign workers

The rights of temporary foreign workers in Quebec will now be better protected year-round.

Faced with a major labour shortage, Quebec wants to rely more on foreign workers to meet its needs, hence the desire to provide them with better supervision.

Minister of Labour Jean Boulet announced Monday that the existing squad created to supervise these workers will therefore be expanded to several sectors of activity and would become permanent.

At a news conference, the minister said that this seasonal temporary workforce, often associated with the agricultural sector, had rights like all other workers.

"Those people are very often more vulnerable. They come from other countries, they don’t speak the same language, they don't have the same culture, they have to face many different obstacles," he said.

The Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) squad, created in 2019, will expand beyond the agricultural sector to cover the entire year in retail, manufacturing, lodging, food service, food processing, corporate and business management, and health care.

The initiative is based on the fact that these workers arrive in Quebec without knowing their rights, and the employers who hire them are often unaware of their obligations towards them in terms of working conditions.

Between now and 2023, the squad will offer free information workshops in the field, in several regions, on occupational standards, health and safety. These workshops will be available in Spanish, as many of these workers are Spanish-speaking.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 16, 2022. With files form CTV News Montreal.


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