Friday, May 3, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, May 3, 2013

Temporary foreign worker flood to continue

Governments rarely acknowledge mistakes. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has managed, with the help of a dictation-taking media, to shift blame for the mess in the temporary foreign worker program onto employers. But they did only what they were allowed to do — hire guest workers from abroad, in droves, even as the economy was going down after 2008.

The government is responsible for this boondoggle.

Flooding Canada with foreign temps drives down wages, robs Canadians of jobs and creates a two-tier society — as in Germany, with its debilitating economic, social and political consequences.

Canada should not be importing poor guest workers, period. If we need workers, we should bring them as immigrants. Ottawa should learn to process immigrant applicants as efficiently as it has been ushering foreign temps in.

Notice how he has not announced any reduction in the number of foreign workers, estimated officially at 338,000 as of December last year but unofficially at 500,000.

Notice also how there’s no change in the program’s most reviled feature — the mass importing of foreign temps by restaurants and others in the service sector, even though the scheme was ostensibly designed mainly to ease high-skill shortages.

Notice, too, there’s not a word about improving the working conditions of the temporary workers, who are subject to much abuse, especially in the agricultural sector.

No word also on how many temporary foreign workers could apply for landed immigrant status, so that both they and Canadians ultimately benefit from their work experience here. Nor is there a commitment to rigorously enforce the rules. (Source: Toronto Star)