Temporary Migrant Workers Conference

Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 9:00am to Friday, October 9, 2015 - 5:00pm

"Temporary Migrant Workers: Labour Rights and Organizing Strategies”

Simon Fraser University – Harbour Centre Vancouver Campus

In Canada, and around the world, temporary migrant workers are increasingly being used for seasonal and permanent jobs. Their rights and legal protection, however, are highly circumscribed, their employment is insecure, and abuse of the temporary foreign worker programs by employers and some governments is widespread. Their rights, moreover, to a healthy, safe work-place are non-existent or greatly inferior to Canadian norms.

This two-day conference will be of interest to all those working on the issue of temporary foreign workers, especially union and community organizers already engaged in or needing to find out more about these programs.

The conference has three themes:

  • An assessment of the current state of labour rights for migrant workers; impact on domestic labour market
  • Legal remedies: rights code for TFW? full citizenship?
  • Strategies for organizing migrant workers

Conference Speakers 

  • Yessy Byl, the Northern Alberta, educator in Human Rights Education for the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Center, and is also an instructor for Athabasca University in Labour Studies.
  • Kaitie Cooper, lawyer for the Hospital Employees’ Union.
  • Natalie Drolet, West Coast Domestic Workers Association.
  • David Fairey, union researcher and advocate;closing remarks.
  • Lynne Fernandez, the Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues at the CCPA; researcher with Manitoba’s Labour Community.
  • Jody Gauthier, a Vancouver lawyer who primarily practices in the areas of labour, human rights, disability and workers’ compensation law. 
  • Min Sook Lee, an award winning Canadian filmmaker and Assistant Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University; excerpts from forthcoming documentary: "Migrant Dreams".
  • Leo McGrady, lawyer at McGrady and Company, specializes in labour law, human rights, class actions, and libel law, all on behalf of unions, employees, media, and journalists; co-chair.
  • Naveen Mehta, lawyer and director, Human Rights, Equity and Diversity, United Food & Commercial Workers Canada.
  • Claude G. Melancon, partner at the Montreal firm Melançon, Marceau, Grenier et Sciortino, which represents trade unions, workers, professionals, and artists  in both the public and private sectors; co-chair.
  • Patricia O'Hagan, Dean, Health Sciences, University of Hawaii.
  • Adrianna Paz, works with the Solidarity Center AFL-CIO where she organizes with maquila female workers in the US/Mexico border and with farmworkers in Baja, California.
  • Art Read, the General Counsel of Friends of Farmworkers, Inc., in Pennsylvania (US).
  • Mia Reimers, PhD, University of Victoria. She has worked at the Centre of Constitutional Studies at the University of Alberta and McGrady & Company in Vancouver.
  • Gary Teeple, Director of Labour Studies at SFU, co-chair.


Complete the ON-LINE FORM

Click here for more information.

Download PDF of event poster here.