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Media opportunity: Low pay, long hours and overcrowded housing are some of the conditions migrant workers describe in New Brunswick's seafood industry
Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) travelled to Canada by the thousands during the pandemic to fill roles in the seafood and agriculture sectors that are vital to the national food supply.
New research out of Dalhousie University suggests they did so at great expense to themselves for jobs in the seafood processing industry in New Brunswick that were physically grueling, sometimes dangerous and offered little financial compensation.
Raluca Bejan, an assistant professor of Social Work at Dalhousie, is the lead author of a new report that was based on interviews with 15 TFWs who arrived in New Brunswick after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
She and her team found that the workers paid recruitment fees of up to $2,000, earned $13 per hour and made just $300 a week. Some paid about $300 per month for lodging in houses with up to 20 people.
Workers also described harassment, unprofessional supervision, a lack of health and safety training, few breaks during long shifts and threats of deportation to stop people from complaining about the working conditions.
Dr. Bejan is available to discuss the findings and the report's 12 recommendations for the federal and provincial governments that are aimed at improving protections for this workforce.
Senior Research Reporter
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