Canada: Human Rights Tribunal Finds Temporary Foreign Workers Vulnerable to Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in Employment

A Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recently held that a “sexually poisoned work environment” violated the rights of female temporary foreign workers. The Tribunal issued its ruling after considering complaints filed by two women who were forced to perform sexual acts by their employer and who were ultimately sent back to Mexico when they refused to comply with the employer’s continued sexual advances. The Tribunal highlighted the potential for abuse inherent in Canada’s temporary foreign worker program, which allows employers to revoke an employee’s work permit at any time and for any reason. This situation leaves women temporary workers particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and violence. Canadian advocacy groups are calling for changes to the temporary foreign worker program to eliminate workers’ dependence on employers, which prevents workers from speaking out about abuse for fear of losing their permits and the right to stay in Canada. 


Compiled from: Temporary foreign workers’ vulnerability noted in sexual harassment case, CBC News (May 27, 2015).