BRITISH COLUMBIA – Filipino community leaders aired their concerns for Pinoy Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) following various complaints by Canadian workers.
A McDonald's branch in Victoria has been blacklisted and suspended from getting more temporary foreign workers after a Canadian employee complained that he was losing work hours to Filipino TFWs.
An unmanned Pinoy TFW now fears that the McDonald's case will affect the status of other TFWs in the province.
"Lahat kami natatakot dahil yung iba marami na ngayong year na 'to mag-e-expire yung LMO (Labor Market Opinion) nila. Hindi nila alam kung mare-renew sila, lalo na yung wala pang papel para sa permanent residency. Yung mga papasok pa lang ng Canada hindi na sila makakarating kasi na-suspend na nga yung mga LMO saka yung work permit na in process ngayon sa Service Canada ay hinold na nila," said a Pinoy TFW who declined to be identified.
Filipino community leaders in Victoria have started reaching out to the Filipinos hired by McDonalds. Still, many of these workers refuse to talk.
"They have been told that they cannot talk to anybody - they're forbidding them to talk to anyone kahit yung kapwa nila Pilipino. They're assuming na mapapa-uwi sila, cause all they think is mapapa-uwi sila pag makipag-usap," said Annette Dumlao-Beech, president, TFW and Caregivers Association.
The status of about eight other Filipino TFWs hired by McDonald's is now up in the air. Their contracts will expire later this year and they are afraid that because of the issue, they will all be sent home.
Among those who may get sent home is Jim Stanley's Filipina partner. Stanley vows to stick by his girlfriend and believes the accusations of the Canadian co-worker are baseless.
"This to me is an isolated case of this guy raising a complaint because someone got a promotion that he thought he should have had. It's almost like office politics. From what I hear, the kid calls in sick all the time and he's late all the time," Stanley said.
At a recent community meeting, fears were also raised that Filipino TFWs may become targets for frustrated Canadian workers.
This is why Member of the Legislative Assembly Mable Elmore insists that a solution is needed soon.
"We really have to make sure that Canadian workers are not pitted against the Filipino temporary foreign workers. We're not opposed to each other and we need to look at solutions and there should be a fair outcome for temporary foreign workers," she said.
Elmore will lead a debate at the BC Legislature that aims to pressure the federal government for better protection for TFWs.