Updated: RBC scrambles to explain hiring practices to Canadians - Macleans.ca

Updated: RBC scrambles to explain hiring practices to Canadians


TORONTO – The Royal Bank of Canada was scrambling to explain its hiring practices to customers Sunday after a media report claiming the bank was employing foreign workers to replace Canadian staff prompted a flood of outrage.

Canada’s largest bank (TSX:RY) said it has not hired foreign workers to take over the job functions of current employees, but said it uses external suppliers as one of its strategies to improve “operational effectiveness.”

It also said it would be “working diligently to find suitable roles for those affected,” but did not immediately respond to questions asking which of its employees were affected and in what way.

RBC said it planned to discuss the situation with government officials.

That wasn’t enough to placate a number of Canadians who took to the Internet to express their anger at what many called unfair hiring practices. RBC was trending on Twitter in Canada Sunday afternoon.

“Bad move @RBC I’ve been thinking about switching, thanks for making decision easy for me,” tweeted one man.

“What is wrong with you @RBC_Canada,” tweeted another. “Making Canadians lose their jobs … I will switch banks, if not corrected.”

The bank’s move to clarify its hiring strategies came after a CBC News report that quoted a Toronto employee working in IT systems support for RBC Investor Services who said he and dozens of others were losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers.

Dave Moreau told the public broadcaster that he and others are being made to train the new workers who will be taking their jobs.

CBC said the foreign workers are employed by iGate Corp, a multinational outsourcing firm. The company’s website says it has offices that provide services for RBC in India.

The company’s website also indicates it provides services for TD Bank and Pratt and Whitney Canada among other international clients.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley issued a statement saying the RBC situation is unacceptable if it is true.

RBC responded by saying it requires all its external suppliers to follow applicable hiring regulations in Canada.

“RBC agreements with suppliers, including in this case iGATE, requires them to ensure that they are abiding by the applicable laws and regulations,” Greg Grice, RBC’s head of Enterprise Services and chief procurement officer said in a statement.

“External suppliers allow us to leverage their scale and technical skills to continually improve our operational processes and service, and re-invest in initiatives that enhance the client experience.”

The bank added that it recognized the impact such an arrangement had on its employees.

“We are working diligently to find suitable roles for those affected and it is our hope over the next few months to transition them to other positions,” Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer said in a statement.

“RBC continues to create jobs in many areas of the organization and has a track record of retraining and redeploying our staff.”

Some Canadians called for a boycott of RBC on Sunday.

One blogger urged offended customers to transfer their business to other institutions. Some commenting on blogger Norm Farrell’s post said they planned to cancel their accounts.

On Facebook, a “Boycott Royal Bank of Canada” group — which received 350 “likes” by mid Sunday afternoon —called on customers to voice their discontent by writing to the prime minister and his cabinet.

“The temporary foreign worker thing I think is really designed to help out big corporations. They’re stealing jobs from us and attempting to lower the average wage in Canada,” said Jennifer Ridge, a student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., who was one of the people co-ordinating the Facebook group.

Ridge said she planned to close her RBC account in the near future.

When asked about the government’s response to the RBC report, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office referred questions to Finley’s office.

Finley said her department would be working with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to determine next steps regarding the claims against RBC.

“We have recently learned of allegations that RBC could be replacing Canadian workers by contracting with iGate, which is filling some of the roles with temporary foreign workers. If true, this situation is unacceptable,” Finley said in her statement.

“Canada is experiencing significant skills and labour shortages in many regions. When there are jobs available, Canadians must always be the first in line for opportunities from employers who are hiring.”

Meanwhile, the United Steel Workers, which was among those voicing its disapproval of RBC, said the entire temporary foreign worker program and the government’s handling of it, needed to change.

“They have to re-look at this entire program and do it right. No one’s opposed to workers coming to this country, but not the way they’re doing it, not the way they’re treating people,” said USW National Director Ken Neuman.

“If you’re going to bring workers to this country, if they’re good enough to work here, our position is they should also be able to transition and become permanent residents.”

The USW added that it was ready to assist RBC workers and represent them in legal matters as needed.

In 2012, there were more than 213,000 foreign workers in Canada, compared with over 160,000 immigrants who arrived under the federal skilled worker program.

The rapid growth of the temporary foreign worker program has raised concerns that Canadian companies are filling job vacancies with cheaper workers from overseas rather than actively finding Canadians to fill the jobs.

Much of the government’s latest budget, released in March, focused on reversing that trend, with millions being allocated for training and job creation programs.

At the same time, the government is continuing to overhaul the temporary foreign worker program.

The changes were prompted in part by a continuing controversy in B.C. surrounding a mining firm allowed to bring in foreign labour after insisting that a requirement to speak Mandarin meant it couldn’t find Canadians to fill their jobs.

The budget said that’s no longer going to be an excuse and also said employers will have to advertise longer and farther to find Canadians to fill jobs before looking overseas.

In late February, RBC reported a first-quarter profit of $2.07 billion, or $1.36 per share, up from $1.86 billion, or $1.23 a share, a year ago.

Its revenue grew to $7.91 billion, from $7.57 billion a year earlier.

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Updated: RBC scrambles to explain hiring practices to Canadians

  1. It doesn’t matter. The RBC has proven itself to be a money whore and I shal be remving my substantial savings, RRSPs and business accounts on Monday. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.

    • Good luck finding some other institution that is different.

      • Credit unions. We switched about 15 years ago and never looked back. And they even pay us dividends now and then.

  2. Hiring practices? Is that what they call it when a greedy corporation *FIRES* Canadian *CITIZENS* and replaces them with temporary foreign workers who are paid less than minimum wage?! Interesting hiring practices!

  3. Top ten Canadian company. Rich cheating the poorer to get richer. I am ashamed this company has Canada in its name.

  4. Where’s Mark Warawa on this?

    • Probably trying to come up with another angle to try to open the abortion debate.

  5. Stephen Harper And The Triumph Of The Corporation State

    Stephen Harper has moved beyond being the prime minister of Canada. He’s its CEO, making Canada the first democracy to tacitly embrace global corporate governance.

    Canada finds itself presiding over the birth of a new Dark Age. The Age of Democracy is over. The Age of Corporate Rule is upon us.


    • Outsourcing of all kinds of jobs started in the mid 70’s.

      • not in canada. the real economic shift began in the 1990s when canada entered into trade talks with china in earnest. after that it was all downhill….you think the dismantling of environmental laws in canada is coincidental? china has the worst environmental record globally….but it wants canada to open up natural resources for extraction. canada of course complied. you guys need to think about these issues more globally and less nationalistically. there are no nations anymore, just in your heads. the governments are businesses and will behave as such. they dont care about you. all you are is a means to an end….you are a consumer crop and you make them wealthy. since most people are apathetic and disconnected idiots with no sense of history or personal pride, governments can exploit you easily by pressing your “im canadian” buttons, your responses are always predictable and create a stable platform for avaricious corporations to milk. YOU are to blame for this….not the corporations who will behave as corporations do, but YOU for allowing it to happen.

  6. I think it’s time people start fighting back with companies who are doing business in Canada and screwing Canadians out of jobs through outsourcing. Banks are the worse, I don’t want anyone in another Country with access to my account, especially these 3rd world outsourcing Countries.

  7. There is nothing to discuss. This should be stopped immediately. We cannot continue this practise of giving away Canadian jobs.

  8. Can I move my money offshore ? Maybe a swiss bank account or something.. ;)

  9. Uh Oh, the people are pissed off, we better get our spin doctors on this right away.

    Sorry RBC, I hope you loose all your customers for this. Just because they are legal hiring practices doesn’t mean it is right. The public spoke out vehemently when this was made legal in the first place. Why would you do it, it seems obvious that it is poor business choice.

    Credit unions, anyone?


    • could you get a credit card with “Credit Unions”?

      • of course.

  10. This is Harper Government policy: use immigration to lower wages and get rid of unions.

    • The outsourcing of jobs, particularly call center and IT jobs, to foreign countries has been going on since the mid 70’s, to blame Harper just makes you look like a m0r0n.

      Bringing in temporary foreign workers for these jobs should be discouraged by all levels of government and through the public boycotting such companies.

      The RBC is making a very big mistake.

      • What would you like to see Harper do about this?

      • I think Jason Kenny expanded and “improved” this program which has been in place and used mainly for seasonal agricultural work decades. I guess you missed the story about the mine out in BC.

        Let me say it again. It’s been expanded to LOWER wages and break unions.

        But to be generous, I’ll make a point on your side of the issue: If the Toronto Star criticizes this they will have a lot to answer for!

  11. There are many with posts threatening to close RBC accounts on Monday. Canadians need to stand by their word and execute this threat. RBC needs to feel the pain where it hurts them the most.

  12. this has been going on for two to three years with iGate taking over jobs this is not new. so happy someone is saying something.

  13. Simple solution ! Close RBC accounts .Move to a Financial Institution with respect for Canadians.

  14. Saskatchewan in 2003 became the eighth province to participate in the

    Commonwealth Caribbean and Mexican Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

    Southern Ontario farmers have been importing foreign farm workers for

    over 25 years, and many of the foreign workers are employed in

    greenhouses that produce tomatoes near Leamington, Ontario and in


    Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in Mexico in March 2003, said “This

    program where your farmers can come and work in Canada has worked

    extremely well and now we are exploring (ways) to extend that to other

    sectors. The bilateral seasonal agricultural workers program has been a

    model for balancing the flow of temporary foreign workers with the needs

    of Canadian employers.”

  15. This has been going on for TWO to THREE YEARS!!!!(it has only now come to light because the higher paid I.T. people are complaining). i know. my girlfriend works in RBC business banking here in Toronto for many years. people going back and forth to India (iGate) training them and the like. functions that use to be done here in Toronto are no longer done in Canada but overseas. it would be absolutely ridiculous to suggest that Canadian jobs are not going overseas. they hide it through attrition and laying off the temp agency (Kelly) people that they swell their ranks with. full time or temps losing their jobs is still jobs going overseas. :)

  16. TD did this about five years ago with nary a whisper from the press. I guess they were better at muzzling their (former) employees.

  17. What’s the big deal? It’s supply and demand. There are people in India who are desperate for Indian-wage near-subsistance jobs who are decent code monkeys. Why should RBC have to supplement the lifestyles of Canadians who want decent middle-class careers and futures for their children? This is Chicago Economics 101, people.

  18. you canadians are such tools. your country sold all of you out 25 years ago when china offered cheap production services….the CEOs and that includes your fool of a “prime minister” dont care about you, all they care about is increasing an already inflated profit margin which means outsourcing labor to cheap 3rd world countries where they only have to pay a mere fraction of what theyd have to pay canadian workers who are (supposedly) protected from that kind of exploitation by labor laws and human rights and environmental rights. you reap what you sow, and canada is a nasty nation with a penchant for two-faced presentation to make itself look appealing on the surface but is really a much more dysfunctional and avaricious nation than the USA which it is constantly pointing its finger at.

  19. This is disgusting. A Chinese mining company only hiring Chinese workers? I thought this was Canada last time I checked? This could be a foreshadow of things to come in our country, where our country and citizens are subsided by greedy foreigners eager to plunder our lands. RBC and many other companies do not factor in the long term damage they are doing, how can a Canadian bank at RBC if he doesnt have a job? This logic proves there shortsightedness regardless of the pressure to produce dividends, Canadians should always come first!