Author Archives: rchandi14

ATI/FOI Requests: Why we should continue using them.

The fear of having using the ATI/FOI right is a concern for some people who seek employment with the government as the feel they will be “put on the radar”, decreasing their chances of seeking employment with the government. In the directive on the Administration of the Access Information Act, which was taken into effect on May 5, 2014, states in section 7.4.1 under the heading protection of applicant’s identity it states that it should be “limiting, on a need-to-know basis, the disclosure of information that could directly or indirectly lead to the identification of a requester, unless the requester consents to the disclosure”(Government of Canada, 2014). Though they indicate it is on a need-to-know basis, it does not indicate why and when this information can be used as a need-to know basis. The employees are responsible to complete the request no matter who the requester is, and should only be able to identify the applicant based on the information that he or she has provided in the initial request. However, this can be a concern, that I have experienced recently. I had taken the Criminology 4900 Special Topics class where we were taught how to conduct an Access to Information Request. My focus was on the sharing of information between different agencies and also documents which reveal the number of extraordinary renditions which have taken place in Canada since September 11, 2001. I had sent out my request to two different agencies, the RCMP and CSIS. I did not experience any difficulties from the request that a made with the RCMP, but for CSIS I experienced a very unique incident. I had given my gmail address to contact me if they need any clarification, however I received an e-mail from the Access to Information to my hotmail and kwantlen e-mail accounts. It was very concerning, the e-mail had stated that “the gmail e-mail address written on your request is not clear. If this e-mail finds you, could you kindly reply from your gmail address. We would like to clarify your request”. It was very concerning to me that they were able to find both my kwantlen and hotmail e-mail addresses, and it just shows that the employees have a lot of access to our personal information that they are able to collect and contact a person with information that was not provided to them, so I do understand when a student will not conduct an ATI/FOI request in fear that they may prevent them from getting a future job at a government agencies.
I can see ATI/FOI request being used as surveillance, especially after the September 11, 200l attacks in New York. Privacy rights were “…originally envisioned as a means for individuals to secure a personal space free from state scrutiny are being configured by corporate and state interests”(Haggerty, K.D., & Ericson R.V., 2006, P.10). Though privacy laws that have been in placed in protecting our information, the state uses their power to breach in the name of protecting the country, and infringing on our the rights as citizens. We have the right to this information, but we are scared to use because of the fear that it may back fire on us in the near future. However, I will argue that this should not prevent one from getting a job in a government field. The government and the state is holding back information from us, and also redact the information that we are not “entitled” to, therefore, we have not done anything wrong when requesting information. I find it that if more students took the initiative to conduct the ATI/FOI requests on a topic that they are curious about, or want to know what has happen, they will be more accountability in the government. Bok makes a good point in her article when she states that “…public access to government information is indispensable in the long run for any democratic society”(Bok, S., 1989, P.179). We live in a democratic country in which we should be not be afraid to voice our concerns and opinions. ATI/FOI are great tools to get information and understanding about a topic, and brings in accountability in the government.

References:

Bok, S. (1989). Secrets: on the ethics of concealment and revelation. New York: Vintage
Books. – pp. 3-14 and pp. 171-190
Government of Canada (2014). Directive on the Administration of the Access to Information Act. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Retrieved from https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc- eng.aspx?id=18310&section=text
Haggerty, K. D., & Ericson, R. V. (2006). The New Politics of Surveillance and
Visibility. In R. V. Ericson & K. D. Haggerty (Eds.), The new politics of
surveillance and visibility (pp. 3–25). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

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The Temporary Foreign Workers Program in Canada

The Temporary Foreign Workers Program allowed employers to hire foreign workers to fill in positions where there was a shortage of workers. However, a major controversy regarding the program when foreign workers were given jobs positions over Canadians applying for the same job. This resulted in an outrage amongst the Canadians. Even though foreign workers were given more hours and they were treated very poorly. Many foreign workers were exploited by their employer, especially when get came to working ridiculous hours In a CBC news article dated August 15, 2014, it showed that foreign workers may have been given jobs but, they were being paid far less than what a Canadian worker would have been paid (CBC News, 2014). Many Canadians began to lose the jobs over foreign workers programs as it was cheaper for a company to hire someone from another country for a same job and pay them less than what they will pay a Canadian worker, knowing that foreign worker will not be able to say no, as they need to make a living to stay in Canada.

When the news became the centre of attention after many Canadians began to complain that they were not given jobs, but rather being replaced by foreign workers in 2013. The Harper government has implemented several reforms, which include: “Introducing a moratorium on accelerating Labour Market Opinions; requiring employers to pay temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage; allowing the Government to suspend, revoke or refuse to process Temporary Foreign Worker applications in order to better protect the Canadian labour market; Restricting the use of non-official languages as job requirements; and increasing the length and reach of advertising required by employer to ensure no Canadians are available before they can turn foreign worker”(Government of Canada).

Marxist legal theory works perfectly with the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. We live in a Capitalist country, and according to Marx, capitalist can only work if the workers agree and paying them enough to keep the workers happy and productive is the way that allows workers to continue working and being productive. However, this is where the companies began to take advantage of the Temporary Foreign Worker program: First Canadians were being deprived from jobs, resulting in an outcry and change of policies. The secondly, companies began to underpayment of foreign workers than what they will have paid a worker who was Canadian. The pay they received was not enough to make a proper living in Canada. As stated by Palvich “ Capitalists exploit workers to the detriment of all; The more the worker produces the less he has to consume; the more value he creates the more worthless he becomes”( Palvich,2011, pg. 90). In today’s society the finance is what drives our country, and the more profit a company is making the less likely it is care for those who are working to create the profit. The Superstructure, which functions to maintain, reproduce, and legitimize the base, was flawed in this situation because it was not designed in a way that it made people think that there was no other option/way. Rather, creating a huge controversy which then resulted in more strict rules to allow foreign workers working in Canada.

Capitalist does not necessary need to be equality, but it is inequality that drives the capitalist. One person needs to be on the top and the others work under. For many years the way the program has been working and exploiting the employee had been working fine, as no one or not many were complaining. However, has society begun to change near the time of the recession when Canadians were in the desperate need of jobs, the superstructure began to become weaker and a change was needed. There is a dialect relationship between the superstructure and the base, where each shape each other. The superstructure began to become weak with rise of furious Canadians who were given the short stick when it came to hiring for a position. The base began to change as more and more complaints began to appear, resulting in the superstructure to change and being more accountable for their actions on hiring.

References:
CBC news (2014). Temporary Foreign Worker Program misuse sanctions by Harper government, union says. Retrieved October 11, 2014,from
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/temporary-foreign-worker-program-misuse-sanctioned-by-harper-government-union-says-1.2737422.

Government of Canada (n.d.) Temporary Foreign Worker Program Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://actionplan.gc.ca/en/initiative/temporary-foreign-worker-program

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & society redefined. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press.

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