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NDP says B.C. needs to enforce temporary foreign worker laws

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

Harry Bains, NDP MLA

Harry Bains, NDP MLA

The British Columbia New Democrats say Victoria needs to become more proactive enforcing laws when it comes to temporary foreign workers.

The federal government claims changes announced Friday to the controversial program will cut down on the number of companies abusing it.

But BC NDP labour critic Harry Bains said the responsibility for the program does not end with Ottawa.

Bains said he's heard stories of workers being charged for jobs, then not being paid upon arriving in Canada, accusing Victoria of doing nothing to stop it.

"I think they're aiding and abetting these employers who are abusing and exploiting these temporary foreign workers," he said, comparing the situation to past wrongs, like the Chinese head tax.

"We allow bringing in these foreign workers and allow them to be abused under our system in 2014."

Bains pointed to Manitoba as an example of what can be done. In that province, employers using TFWs must register with the province's Employment Standards Branch, making the system more transparent. B.C. Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond said it is waiting to consider its options.

"I have said all along that we were waiting for the federal government to announce TFW program changes before British Columbia decides if it should adopt changes like a registry," Bond wrote.

"We are looking at how the large number of changes made by the federal government, including stepping up enforcement of its program, will work and what steps British Columbia can and should take.

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