The House of Commons committee of Canada had submitted a report on the recommended changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The proposed changes on the program would be made law, and the impact of the changes on the employers and foreign workers in Canada are being discussed in this article.
The proposed changes in the TWFP came in to picture when different business communities were demanding for a less rigid procedure that would be swiftly responding to the needs of the labour market. The proposed changes in the program would be affecting the employers and they could expect the following:
According to the Vice-President for Alberta and British Columbia at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Richard Truscott states that some of the recommendations made in the TFWP are actually good. His views on the recommendations suggested was as, “the Committee has made some good recommendations in many areas, including loosening the cap on the number of temporary foreign workers per business, setting up a Trusted Employer system, and also taking some steps to better align the temporary and permanent immigration systems with employers, which includes eliminating the four-year total duration rule”. He also added that, “it makes no sense for employers to be bringing individuals to the country, training them, integrating them into the business and into the local community, and then after four years the clock strikes twelve and we send them packing”. Truscott also mentioned that the employers may have different methods for open work permits; some employers may spend huge amounts to bring foreign workers and he added, ““if you loosen things too far then there is no incentive at all for those employers to use the system”.
The recommendations for proposed changes in the TFWP were also made to benefit the foreign workers in Canada. The benefits of the recommendations are as follows’:
A coordinator of the Toronto-based Migrant Worker’s Alliance for Change, Syed Hussan mentioned that, “the real question is will the government pass laws to deal with the primary question, which is the lack of permanent immigration status”.
He further added that, “lack of permanent immigration status is what keeps people away from rights. Permanent residence gives access to services you pay for and certain basic minimums that we believe nobody should be denied”.“What would benefit the Canadian economy and Canadian industry is people who are laying roots, who are living here permanently, who are investing here, and who feel protected. What we have is a revolving door system, so every few years employers have to train a new pool of workers, and the turnover is extremely expensive. For the economy and for industry, what is needed is a stable force”. According to Hussan’s statements the revolving door system increases the expenses on employee’s turnover as every time an employer has to train a new set of employees.
The Canadian labour unions in the country said that the report does not have anything for them, and their voices are not being heard in this report.
The Manager of unions regional office, Mark Oslen stated that, “Companies should have to pay whatever the going rate is for construction in a given area, because if they’re allowed to advertise at a much lower rate and they’re allowed to pay at a much lower rate, then they won’t have as many Canadians applying, maybe none. And on top of that, they will be depressing the wage rates of companies that are competing for the same work, and workers that are competing for the same work”.
This view was supported by other unions and tradecouncils.
John McCallum, the Minister of Immigration Canada announced that they would be responding to the recommendations within four months. This report is expected to guide changes to the TFWP as promised by the Canadian government.