Building a low-wage economy with stomach-churning greed

April 26, 2022

Bruske: Minimum wage employees being replaced by offshore workers making $3.75 an hour will hurt workers everywhere

OTTAWA –– Replacing frontline workers with exploited offshore workers, as the restaurant chain Freshii is now doing, moves us towards a low-wage economy that weakens our communities and exploits workers, according to Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

“This is about replacing Canadian workers with low-wage offshore ones and using technology to skirt around our country’s labour laws and workplace standards. If this isn’t illegal, it should be,” said Bruske. “The workers serving Canadian customers aren’t paying taxes in Canada and aren’t protected by Canadian labour standards. Companies that profit off of Canadian consumers shouldn’t use low-wage offshore workers to serve customers here in Canada. It’s bad for workers and bad for our economy.”

Bruske said this isn’t about an inability to attract workers, which can be done through competitive wages, real benefits and proper working conditions, but instead another sign of corporate greed and exploiting a low-wage offshore workforce.

“Gig workers in Canada already don’t have proper workplace protections. But with the use of offshore workers, the exploitation of employees and move to a low-wage economy is being super-sized,” said Bruske. “Companies must wake up to the long-term benefits to both the communities they operate in and their business when they invest in the people who work for them.”

Bruske added that there are things consumers can do to voice their objections to this new concerning trend towards offshoring and automation.

“Is an employee 3000 kms away going to know if the avocado is fresh today or whether field greens or kale would make a better salad bowl?” asked Bruske. “Customers should understand they can vote with their wallets on the kind of communities they want to live in.

Choose companies that treat employees properly, with a fresh attitude towards workplaces, not greedy corporations with their stale approach of exploiting workers.”

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