Creative Recourse in Cases of Forced Labour: Using Human Trafficking, Human Rights and Labour Law to Protect Migrant Workers

Matte Guilmain, Laurence; Hanley, Jill (2020, juillet)

International Migration


Canada has no legislation prohibiting forced labour, relying instead on human trafficking penal dispositions; the two are intimately related. However, there was only been one conviction for human trafficking for the purposes of forced labour. Here, we offer an analysis of jurisprudence according to a model of labour trafficking focusing on the intersection of labour exploitation and coercion, particularly among migrant workers. We argue that Canadian human trafficking law remains incomplete and fails to address situations of forced labour. There is a need to think creatively about recourses. Labour and human rights law recourses are more accessible to migrant workers than human trafficking law, given the lighter burden of proof and the unlikelihood that courts will recognize the systemic coercion to which migrant workers are subject. Workers and advocates are understandably drawn to these alternative recourses, yet consequences for employers profiting from forced labour are disappointingly minor.