Why Canada needs its temporary foreign-worker program

Chris Sorensen examines the false furor over the program and why businesses are desperate for it

With a little help from afar

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Gord Nixon, the CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, may have indirectly sealed the fate of hundreds of small-and medium-sized businesses across the country last month when he decided—no doubt at the urging of the bank’s public and government relations staff—to apologize for RBC’s decision to outsource 45 information technology positions, including at least one job that ended up being handed over to a temporary foreign worker.

Faced with public outrage at a time when unemployment is stuck at 7.2 per cent, the normally business-friendly Conservative federal government moved quickly to make its Temporary Foreign Worker Program more difficult and expensive for companies to access. But for all the populist headlines about foreigners being parachuted into the country to steal jobs from Canadians, the reality is that many businesses remain desperate for employees and, more often than not, the jobs going to temporary foreign workers are positions Canadians are either unable, or simply unwilling, to fill. “The real effect of this is going to be frustration of business owners,” says Audrey Guth, the director of Toronto’s Diamond Global Recruitment Inc., which specializes in helping Canadian businesses bring in foreign workers. “If you make it too difficult, businesses are going to close down.”

Many of the 213,516 temporary foreign workers who came to Canada last year filled low-paying, menial jobs, according to data provided by Citizenship and Immigration. More than 31,000 were agricultural workers. Another 6,200 were nannies, while 4,000 became counter staff or fast-food cooks. Others filled higher-paid skilled positions—often, recruiters say, because there aren’t enough Canadians with the necessary training, or because the jobs are located in smaller, more remote communities that don’t appeal to Canada’s highly urbanized population. They include truck drivers (1,620 workers), mechanical engineers (1,490) and computer programmers (2,005). The trend has created a distorted labour market. In Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, employers brought in 2,285 temporary foreign workers last year, up 75 per cent from 2008, despite an unemployment rate of 12 per cent in the province, nearly double the national average.

While figures like that lead critics to question whether Ottawa’s program is being abused, Guth and others argue that, with few exceptions, employers would prefer to hire locally, saving themselves time and money. The problem, Guth says, is that applicants are nowhere to be found. “You can’t say we’re taking jobs away from Canadians when we’ve giving them every opportunity to fill these jobs first.”

It’s doubtful the reforms being introduced by Ottawa will do much to address the underlying issues. Among other things, employers seeking to tap temporary foreign workers will now pay more for work permits and higher fees to obtain a “labour market opinion” from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, which is needed to verify a lack of available workers. Employers will also be barred from paying foreign workers as much as 15 per cent less than the prevailing wage for skilled positions, and five per cent less for lower-skilled work—a measure originally intended to offset the artificially high wages some employers were being forced to pay to attract applicants in boomtown communities.

Industries facing a chronic lack of workers say most companies are already using the program the way it was intended. The roughly two per cent of the 1.1 million restaurant jobs in Canada filled by temporary foreign workers are concentrated in the Prairies, where the lure of the oil sands has peeled unskilled staff from other employers, according to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. (Alberta’s unemployment rate is just 4.4 per cent.) “In Ontario, virtually none of our members are using the program,” says Garth Whyte, association president. “But there was a major hotel in Alberta who phoned us almost in tears because a big oil company just snatched up 40 of their employees.”

Whyte argues it’s a myth that foreign temporary workers are cheaper to use. Companies must first pay to advertise the positions locally in newspapers and on national job boards. They then incur the costs associated with navigating the government’s program, often with the help of a recruitment agency.

Finally, they must pay for the workers’ travel to and from Canada. The entire process can take up to six months, while the position sits vacant, resulting in lost sales. “If you’re spending thousands of dollars to bring in temporary foreign workers, you’re obviously not doing it to save money,” Whyte argues.

It’s not just that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is expensive for employers to use. The bigger hurdle is the lack of Canadians willing to take on the kinds of jobs the program is used to fill. Mobility is one concern—a high rate of home ownership means fewer people are freely ready to pull up roots and move for work, while some have suggested cold weather in places like northern Alberta is also an impediment. But Employment Insurance is another. There is a demonstrated reluctance of people to move for jobs. Consider the hue and cry that went up when Ottawa sought reforms that require recipients to look for work within a one-hour commute from their home. If unemployed people aren’t willing to drive an hour for a job, they aren’t going to move across the country. For that matter, there’s evidence many Canadians would rather pick up EI than take a job in their own community. Diane Finley, the minister of human resources and skills development, was informed that Alberta employers received 1,261 confirmations for temporary foreign-worker food-counter positions in January 2012 just as 350 people made a claim for EI in the same occupation and province, according to documents obtained by the CBC.

Having to turn to foreign workers to fill McJobs is one thing, but as the data from Citizenship and Immigration shows, even engineers and computer programmers are in short supply in parts of the country. It all points to what Kevin McQuillan, a professor of sociology at University of Calgary, and others say is a widening “mismatch” between what employers are looking for and the types of jobs Canadians workers want to fill. “We are turning out huge numbers of Canadians out of our colleges and universities, and the great majority of people we bring in as permanent immigrants are well-educated,” he says. “But we need to look at how well our educational institutions are preparing students for the labour market. We need to convince young people and their parents to pay attention to the labour market when deciding what to study.” While he doesn’t dispute that many employers have a difficult time filling positions, McQuillan questions whether leaning on temporary foreign workers is anything but a Band-Aid solution. “I don’t think we want a society where a big part of our economy is being cycled in and out for a few years at a time,” he says.

Employers will need to do their part too. In the case of skilled work, many companies have decided it’s more cost-effective to hire skilled workers on a temporary basis rather than face the prospect of having to retrain them or pay for skills upgrades down the road. A recent study by the Conference Board of Canada found that investment in employee training has fallen nearly 40 per cent in Canada since the early 1990s—a trend that obviously needs to change. Meanwhile, fast-food restaurants and retail stores may need to consider offering better wages and benefits if they’re ever going to attract Canadian employees in the numbers they require to staff their businesses, McQuillan argues.

That won’t be easy in a country where a price hike of a few cents at the local gas station or coffee shop is a recipe for angry customers. “It’s easy to say that,” said one manager of a busy oil and lube chain in Alberta that sources half of its employees through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (he asked his name not be published lest it generate an RBC-like backlash for his business). “But if everything you purchased in a day suddenly went up 20 per cent, what do you think people would do?”


Why Canada needs its temporary foreign-worker program

  1. They won’t go out of business. They will have to raise wages to a living wage that unemployed Canadians will work for. The last resort of businesses is to raise wages in order to supply their needs. This won’t put them out of business as their competitors will have to do the same. The price of your Tim Horton’s coffee will go up as it should to reflect the true cost of hiring a Canadian at a living wage.

    • And the same b*stard communists overprice the housing market in Canada and USA. Canada and America should close their borders. Israel closed their borders to the outsiders and their economy is doing fine.

      • Actually Israel closed their borders to the indigenous population after ethnically cleansing them. Their borders are open to Jews the world over but only Jews and the reason their economy does as well as it does is the massive American welfare cheques they receive year after year.

      • It’s allowing cross-border acquisition of housing, and it’s nothing to do with communism, what you’re referring to is straight up capitalism plain and simple.

  2. “in Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, employers brought in 2,285
    temporary foreign workers last year, up 75 per cent from 2008, despite
    an unemployment rate of 12 per cent in the province, nearly double the
    national average.”


    • Temporary foreign workers aren’t immigrants. They come in because businesses are too interested in healthy bottom lines than to pay local asking price for labour. It’s not the TFWs who are profiteering from Canadian jobs, it’s these businesses that are abusing the TFW program, exploiting TFWs, and screwing Canadians left, right and center; all under the watchful eye of the Government. It’s a price fixing scam that will hurt Canada in the long run while a few select get to be stinking rich.

  3. Once upon a time Journalists were respected as upholders of the truth. Chris Sorenson in this article on the other hand provides neither. The regurgitation of the idea that their is a labor shortage reminds me of weapons of mass destruction. Say it enough and people will believe it is the truth. Once again the reporter in a facade of impartiality quotes business interests using language like “desperate” labour shortage. “Gord Nixon, the CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, may have indirectly sealed the fate of hundreds of small-and medium-sized businesses across the country”. Oh No. I did not know Tim Horton’s franchise owners were “desperate” and there fates were sealed. I guess so much fore self determination, Gord has sealed all our fates. Silly Gord. Stat 5 cc’s of tax cuts and 10 cc’s of cheap foreign labour before they flat line and have to raise the price of a cup of coffee. I guess the fates aren’t sealed after all we can save these poor wealthy owners. If we don’t rush to save them we will have to go to Starbucks. I can’t believe Gord Nixon sealed the fate of these poor business owners, my god how did he do it. He apologized. If any self respecting Canadian can sleep at night while the 1% (elite, rich, businesses), are in desperate need of cheap foreign labour, than this is not the Canada I grew up in.

    When did we become more concerned about some rich guys ability to own a bigger yacht, than a providing a living wage too Canadians. Thanks to Chris for giving business owners the benefit of the doubt and not checking any of there assertions for truth or accuracy. Its not like a little research would shed any light on the validity of their claims, or at least discern motives for their claims. I’m sure there are no reports in the media circulating by renowned economists that refute these claims that are I don’t know available through an exhaustive effort of googling. I’m sure that a University of Calgary Professor did not publish an paper recently.

    The use of phrases like ” the reality is that many businesses” are to try to replace what we all can see with his reality. The “real effect”, sorry we keep focusing on the fantasy effect or our own perceptions of reality, thanks for pointing out my ineptitude.

    If reporters are to regain any standing or respect perhaps they should decide if truth or spin are different. Does a reporter have a responsibility to dig into assertions of those interviewed or to merely parrot the sentiment. There is a reason Corporations and Business interest groups spend billions on lobbying calling it communication strategy.

    Chris I think its time to do some soul searching and ask yourself whose interests are you serving the ours, yours, Macleans, or Corporate lobbyists. Does truth still matter to you or have you given in to the jaded expediency with which it is easier to regurgitate expert opinion over researching facts.

    • I look forward to Mr Sorensen relying to your comments, Frank. I’ll keep checking in to see what he says. (But methinks he won’t be back!)

  4. Canadians should hang their heads in shame.
    World Vision states “for every person TRAFFICKED in the sex trade, NINE are trafficked for labour”
    TFW’s pay to the Conservative Government of Canada, TFW Permit-$150. + Visa Permit-$550. + non refundable, non collectible of wages for E.I. Premiums (1.88%) & CPP Premiums +15% withholding Income Tax. Even at minimum wage these fees add up to over $5000./year/TFW. NOW multiply that number by 338,000 and you can see who makes money from TFW’s.

  5. Chris Sorensen paid shrill for the Chamber of Commerce who want indentured labour to be at the beck and call of employers in all occupations.

    Nice touch with the picture so as not to alarm the middle class. Don’t want to wake the public up to the threat on wages and job security..

    • I think its a fairly balanced article, obviously has stirred up some heated debate.

  6. Temporary workers abound in the Niagara region, up year after year from Central America to tie grape vines and harvest grapes while the winery owners get richer and richer, not giving much back to the land nor to the community, and even less to the families who lose their bread winners to Canada. Temporary means temporary. Before the idea of temporary workers, Canadians did the job of fruit picking, supplementing their incomes from places like Newbrunswick and Nova Scotia. It’s time to put a stop to this and penalize employers to get rich exploiting others.

  7. Canadians are still whining, and blaming everyone else for their problems I see.

    Hey, it’s a global world…..and if you don’t want to work for global wages, get an education.

    • Ha Ha I supose you believe this program only affects the lower classes. I guess you diden’t hear about the IT professionals at RBC. It starts with the poor and continues up the food chain. I guess you don’t believe there are universities in third world countries. I am guessing an Indian, Chinese, or Mexican graduate degree would not cost $150,000. I’m sure you won’t see it’s a problem until it happens to you. It is the shortsightedness of people like you who without compassion for those less fortunate than yourself should at least see how this will eventually affect you.

      • HAH HAH…. In Canada you choose your own class, dude.

        Get an education, and stop whining you lazy idiot.

        • Well I guess I have been told. You assume I’m not educated. You assume I’m lazy. You assume I’m not intellegent. I think you have bought into the American Dream sold by Hollywood. Economic mobility (ease moving from bottom to the top), has never been lower. I’m sure that if you had as much education as I do you would be aware of this. Also the inequality of wealth created by lower taxes on corporations, coupled with downward pressure on wages by the flood of foreign temporary workers makes your presumptions that much more rediculous. As you are obviously ignorant of the macroeconomic impact of labor oversupply and it’s effect on wages, you won’t see the irony of your assumptions.

          • Oh enough with the crap and the ‘workers unite’ routine. Update to the 21st century.

          • Don’t worry soon it’ll be the voters uniting. I’m not sure the concerns of Canadians can be classified as crap. The latest opinion poll shows 80% of Canadians are opposed to the ftw program. Also this number reflects a jump uf ofer 39 points from just 4 years ago. So on your last tired point this is very much a 21st century problem. Showing concern for problems and standing up to be heard is not whining, it’s a responsibility of a citizen in a democaracy. I welcome your inevitable well thought out name calling and taunts.

          • Only reason people oppose an ftw program is anti-immigrant sentiment….’they’re taking our jobs’. Dog-in-the-manger stuff.

            You’re just trying to disguise it as ‘humanitarian concern’

          • You my friend have once again decided to tell us all what we think. And apparently we have only a single motivation anti-imagination no less. Foreign temporary workers are not immigrants. They are foreign nationals brought here to fulfill work contract then return to there country of origin. Clearly they are working in “our” country not theirs “foreign” temporary workers. Now if these jobs are not ours than whose are they. With high unemployment and underemployment 1.6 to 2.0 million canadians, how can the case be made that 400,000 foreign temporary workers are required. Now I for one don’t know what Dog-in-the-manger stuff means but I will look it up i challenge you to do the same and see if I am telling the truth. And if you missed it this is not about immigration as foreign temporary workers are not immigrants. So as always you are wrong.

          • I have no idea where you’re going with this, and I doubt you do either…..so far it’s been in circles…but jobs go to those willing to do them.

            Canadians aren’t…..foreign workers are….simple as that.

          • Ok I’ll simplify it for you.
            -It is illegal for a company to hire foreign nationals over willing Canadians.
            -This has been proven to be the case, companies have been hiring ftw’s over unemployed Canadians.
            -The government is concerned with these abuses.

            I think they are not doing enough to stop it.

            These are indisputable facts.

          • Simpler yet, Frank. There are no willing Canadians.

          • Why do some people decry there are no willing canadians. I guarantee if the salaries were to rise and the working conditions where to improve than more Canadians would be willing. Basic economics 101 without intervention the law of supply and demand dictates with high demand and low supply the cost goes up. As salaries rise labor supply increases and demand moderates. Your stupid argument is that the governments intervention of flooding supply with low wage foreign workers is not only insulting to Canadians, but to economists as well.

          • But the salaries for fieldwork aren’t going to rise.

            What you want is high pay for unskilled work.

            And kindly don’t tell me about economists, son….I work there.

          • So far you have labelled Frank a “Lazy Idiot”, and for some reason I’m “Buddy”, and now Frank is “Son”. Rather arrogant and demeaning, eh, Emily?

            I am always prepared to enter a discussion with someone who has the good manners, respect and patience to hear the other side. Obviously you do not fall into that category. You come across a bully. I don’t like bullies.

            I’m done here. But go ahead….have your fun!

          • Go sob in your pillow. I’m busy.

          • Do they teach personal attacks with debate class, get some facts, and quit banging your monotonous drum.

          • Posters that lose arguments start to worry about manners. LOL

          • I would think the contrary is true, your familiar silliness is an example of never having an argument. Only biased facts and data meant to keep the show running as long possible before people find out. When you quote CIC I can’t help but fall off my chair laughing talk about the fox guarding the hen house.

          • The fact is Emily, your posts point to a very small percentage of people in this country that hold your views perhaps you are retired or in a position with a stake keeping things as they are. Change in policy will happen because people are not stats and even for those who you would deem “functionally illiterate” they are getting irritated by the well founded concern of the present and future effect that these temp programs have on wages and working environments. Canada is a beacon of opportunity for those who wish to contribute however using temp programs against the Canadian people for the purpose of lowering wages is an aggression.

          • I think the unemployed youth would disagree.

          • Emily: Taking your argument nearer to its catastrophic conclusion, you would have no problem if ALL of Canada’s workforce stepped aside so that corporations, multi-nationals and big businesses could “feast” on low-paid employees in order to maximize their profits?

            While millions of Canadian ex-workers are drawing EI (if Harper hasn’t found ways to deny them), the whole of the country could (SHOULD according to you?) be stacked with those who will work for 75% of what Canadians were getting. What when the corporations decide they can find still cheaper workers in Pakistan, Burma or Indonesia? They then come here for the jobs while the Mexicans, Filipinos and Indians are given the boot?

            Oh but wait, we haven’t even scratched the Africans who will come and work for $2/hour! Fire the current crop and bring in the Africans. And on and on! PROFITS BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE!! Yay for PROFITS!!!

            It will be a sad sad country if its coming to that, but hey, YOU will be okay, right Emily?

          • Hey buddy, you wanna harvest fruit or veggies for low wages, go right ahead. Anybody can get those jobs, ya know. They are bottom-rung. They don’t require any education or talent or even an ability to speak the language. You willing?

            No? Then don’t deny the job to someone else.

          • This is not the case, as I mentioned this program has expanded beyond farms, to restaurant, hotel, entertainment, IT, Trades, software programming, construction. Actually based on the 33,000 companies who have applied for these workers there aren’t any jobs I can see as safe oh ya politicians.

          • Fieldwork is the only level of employment where workers can easily switch jobs Frank. They aren’t interchangeable parts otherwise, ya know.

            You can’t put an unemployed factory worker in an IT job.

            We have ‘structural unemployment’……lots of jobs available, no trained people to fill them. So we import them.

          • Structural unemployment is a form of unemployment where, at a given wage, the quantity of labor supplied exceeds the quantity of labor demanded, because there is a fundamental mismatch between the number of people who want to work and the number of jobs that are available.

            Emily correct me if I am wrong but it appears once again your poorly understood interpretation of a principal is at odds with what it really is. You sound like a conservative politician; up is down,hot is cold and apparently your dictionary has the meaning of words defined with their opposite meaning.

          • No, actually it’s not.

            The mismatch is between skills. And if you’d read the rest of the definition, you’d know that.

            The world is full of unskilled labour, Frank…..and what we need more and more is knowledge workers.

          • Then perhaps you can explain the extremely high unemployment rate of recent university graduates in the last 5 years.

            Here are your assumptions.

            – 42% of canadians are illiterate.
            – their are lots of jobs.
            – the unemployed are to fault for being unemployed.
            – produce has no price flexibility.
            – education is the means for fighting the ill effects of globalization.

          • Sure Frank.

            ‘Extremely high unemployment rates of university graduates in the last 5 years’……don’t exist. Sorry.

            But hey, if you’re one of those people that thinks everyone should be a plumber…..go for it.

            PS….the 42% illiteracy rate is from StatsCanada and the OECD

            PPS….I don’t operate on ‘assumptions’, I operate on data…..I told you I’m in the field Frank….get your nose out of your beer mug and try to focus when you post these comments.

            PPSS….No wait…..yer bored on a Sunday nite and are just flappin yer jaws in between the pretzels and beer. Go bore someone else instead.

          • You operate on propaganda period! Bet you were really riled up when the RBC news came out! Tough people will only become more vocal as more of this is uncovered.

          • Do you have any original argument apart from “mismatch skills” “jobs none wants to do”? Whenever corporations attempt to run government policies including immigration (which includes temporary workers as many of them choose to remain) a country is heading towards a perilous state. It’s all about greed and profit and these workers are another way of lowering living standards in this country period. Our full employment rate used to be 5 percent 10-15 years ago, it is now 7.2 percent with many uncounted. Government restrictions and penalities are the only ways of keeping corporate greed in check. Mandate decent wages and the “jobs no one wants” arguments start to hold less water.

          • LOL you mean something beyond the facts and data…..something that would make your Dipper philosophy sound sensible? Nope.

            Mandate higher wages, and watch even more jobs leave the country.

          • What facts and data are you referring to lemming, you get yours from biased sources. Propaganda!!!

          • Ahh yes, it’s all a plot.

            Dipper dippiness. Ciao kiddo.

          • Thanks for the affirmation! By the way it only takes a few leaks and a few somewhat intelligent people to bring the house of cards down. Dipper indeed, back to your sauce kiddo!

          • EmilyOne seems to be a little confused on their argument. Either Canadians are too smart to too stupid, pick one. Quite frankly, Canadians remain highly-educated, despite your comments.

          • … and even lawyers.

          • First….I’m not your “Buddy”. I had the good manners to call you “Emily”. I showed some respect.

            Picking fruit and veg is recognized as perhaps the ONLY reason to bring TFW’s into Canada. This has been going on for many years, and I agree that few people will do that job on the miserly pay they receive. Could they afford to raise the pay? Could the BIG foodstores take 2% of their profits and channel it back to those doing the back-breaking, sun-burnt jobs?

            (Of interest: My daughter travelled around Australia two years ago and did the equivalent of the “Fruit and Veg” jobs there. I have no issue with that. And neither do the Aussies.)

            But….Fast food restaurants need TFW’s? Banks need TFW’s? Insurance Co’s need TFW’s? Did you see the list put out showing ALL the Canadian businesses that brought over TFW’s using one of the many ‘disguises’? For the most part it is ONLY to maximize profits by paying low wages. Many of the companies make million$ or billion$ in profits. Don’t tell me they can’t afford to pay a little more to get Canadians to take the jobs.

            And we haven’t even touched on the work that thousands of Canadians COULD and SHOULD DO that is being “outsourced” and “offshored”.

          • Poor widdle baby….feelings all hurt and everyfing! Should I call you ‘dude’ instead? Or ‘guy’ or ‘man’….’nothin’ isn’t much of a name ya know.

            Sorry…..employment requires specific skills….if Canadians don’t have ’em…..we import people who do.

            42% of Canadians are functionally illiterate.

          • Emily,

            The 33,000 companies across canada that have submitted claims for foreign temporary workers, cannot possibly be for agribusinesses. In fact the 200 miners from HD mining certainly weren’t picking fruit. The construction tradesmen in Winnipeg working on the hospital replaced with ftw’s also weren’t. There are so many examples of false LMO’s written in the news I’m loosening track.

            I am quite familiar with economics as well as research and respectfully have quoted fact, data, and applicable economic principals in support of reasonable arguments. You have supported your arguments with vague credentials of questionable value no facts, no suporting information no principal and poor attitude. So my attempt to discuss an issue obviously in conflict with the ideological dogma of your belief system has angered you. I am still open to any credible, supportable argument to help me understand if I am wrong. Your unsupported opinion and poor logic, confrontational attitude, and forgive me deepseated elitist prejudices make you come across as a thirteen year old boy. So I hope this is not the case and a cogent argument based on some thoughtfully analysis is forthcoming however I seriously doubt it.

          • Acutally Frank, you’ve lost the entire plot.

            “Many of the 213,516 temporary foreign workers who came to Canada last
            year filled low-paying, menial jobs, according to data provided by
            Citizenship and Immigration. More than 31,000 were agricultural workers.
            Another 6,200 were nannies, while 4,000 became counter staff or
            fast-food cooks. Others filled higher-paid skilled positions—often,
            recruiters say, because there aren’t enough Canadians with the necessary
            training, or because the jobs are located in smaller, more remote
            communities that don’t appeal to Canada’s highly urbanized population.
            They include truck drivers (1,620 workers), mechanical engineers (1,490)
            and computer programmers (2,005). The trend has created a distorted
            labour market. In Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, employers
            brought in 2,285 temporary foreign workers last year, up 75 per cent
            from 2008, despite an unemployment rate of 12 per cent in the province,
            nearly double the national average.”

          • I love those catchy turn of phrases “lost the entire plot”. I read this article the 213,516 added last year in addition to those already here. Total estimate minus those who haven’t yet left ( here illegally). 330,000. Your accounting above covers off where 13.6% of these workers went. Where are the other 285,175 you failed to account for. And more importantly the “many” in the above first sentence then followed by the detail containing information for only 13% of the population is very misleading. It’s like saying many students pass finals but only testing 13% of them. In this case the use of a small subset of data is used to support the supposition of ” many”. In research this is called bias. Selecting data from within a population to support your arguments and to ignore the rest in this case the unreported 86% of the data.

            I am going to try to argue like you do I’ll make some crazy assertion. Then cut and paste random information. No explanation no logic no intelligence. Add in a catchy yeeeeeaaa, and you sound like my preschooler.

          • Like I said, yer bored and yer boozy…..and you have no answers ….so you blather.

            Except no one is interested.


          • Heck you seem to be constantly asleep with your unoriginal arguments. Nite is right!

          • “According” to a source that has a vested interest in keeping the gravy train rolling for REIT’s, banks, developers and yes greedy corporations who would sell this country to the highest bidder. The only unfortunate reality for them is the mass of people that occupy this land. By ballot and protest they are kept in check.

          • Finding yourself out matched are you. Why don’t you go read one of your favorite comic books. We had a great wakeup in this country with the RBC debacle…..

          • NDP drivel.

            Why you keep trying to fob it off on non-NDP people is I don’t know.

            You’re worse than a sidewalk preacher shouting at passers-by

          • How is it NDP drivel?? They are hand in hand with the other parties with only abit of difference in policies from the other two. When it comes down to it, these parties don’t give two ——s about the Canadian people.

          • By the way credit unions have never been more popular! If you count yourself among the 42 percent I might buy that. Clearly all you are capable of doing is regurgitating over used and weak (when analyzed) corporate arguments.

          • You choose not to read what counters your ideals, so are you one of these “functionally illiterates”? Maybe your idiotic made-up statistic is including children. Try a number closer to 15%.

          • Sorry….it doesn’t include kids or immigrants.

          • Doesn’t include immigrants? At what stage of their presence? When does an immigrant become part of or eligible for your great generalized stat? Allot of immigrants coming to this country could certainly be categorized as illiterate and or ignorant. Ahh but I forgot these people are much more gifted than those born here. You demonstrate a blind reliance on biased stats and facts.

    • You don’t work for the government I hope, although I realize that there is a level of disdain for people that have the ability to vote and protest in this country. If you do work for the government or one it’s chartered banks it would be great to know that a civil servants holds Canadians with such contempt.

  8. If there is such a failure in labour and employment coordination than the pundits should promote a genuinely national full employment policy. There is a long term, structural breakdown in the conditions for stable employment in this country that has to be addressed FIRST.

    Statscan reported this month that Labour Force Participation is down to 66 percent. The longer structural employment atrophies, the more business interests and pundits will feel the need to promote TFWP.

  9. Doesn’t the EI office connect unemployed people that are qualified, to jobs that are available? If you turn a job down without just cause aren’t you then cut off unemployment insurance? Isn’t this how the EI system is supposed to work, in theory anyway. Is this protocol being bypassed by bringing TFWs into areas where unemployment is high? Where are the people in the EI office? Aren’t they doing their jobs? Aren’t they a liaison between the unemployed and businesses that require help? What’s going on here? Pardon me for being stupid.

    • The various groups are not interconnected and have no mandate as such. The unemployment office helps people with resumes work searches and ei claims. The office that processes the labor market assessments are not the same and there is no interoffice discussion with regards to overlap. The CBC did a story last week on the Foreign Temporary Worker Recruiters filling in the forms for companies, then sending these fraudulent forms to the canadian office where the officers in charge were pressured by management to process as many as possible. There is no oversight this is why thousands of ftw’s end up in provinces with 10 percent unemployment.

  10. My son worked at McDonald’s and they were fully staffed. The owner brought in a number of Filipino workers and gave them the day time and early evening shifts and started scheduling elderly workers for early morning and split shifts and students for shifts as late as 2 AM on school days. He bragged that his TFWs were cheaper . Gradually, the Canadian workers all quit and now the restaurant is virtually staffed with all TFWs. Prior to bringing in TFWs he had little problem staffing the place, but TFWs were cheaper and he wanted to cut costs. Now my daughter is looking for work and there is none. The TFWs are taking Kobe that our children and low income pensioners were doing. HD Mining wanted only Chinese workers so crafted, apparently within the rules according to the Judge, requirements that Canadians could not meet. If the program allows such abuses, then the rules had to change. Now we have employers whining that they want the rule loosened again. Why? So they can continue to artificially drive wages down? Perhaps there are only a few bad apples but I suspect there are many. Either way, I guess business associations should have policed thier members better. I guess the government should have been more scrupulous in administrating the rules. There are reports of staff in government being pressured to approve LMOs and not having time to properly assess the applications. I am sorry for those who played by the rules and are hurt by the changes, but that is the fault of your colleagues in the business community.

    • The whole purpose of these regulations is the illusion of order and accountability. Until it shows up by way of a media leak and then the government jumps, they know full well with even basic audits the big 5 and co would be in violation. The goal folks is to change Canada demographically with people who will accept less. Once those that come here start asking for the same thing another round is brought in.

  11. My favourite Granny Smith apples cost about a buck apiece. A loaf of bread about four bucks. A half decent steak about eight bucks. Four litres of milk about five bucks. Are you trying to tell me there’s no room in those prices for a living wage for Canadians?

    • In answer to your question, Nite_Owl…..

      Google for the profit$ made by all the BIG foodstores over the last 12 months. For that matter, over the last ten years. (Oh how they cry “Poor”.)

      The answer is obvious.

      • If the farmer isn’t getting paid it’s not the consumers fault. They’re paying more than their fair share already. Maybe if farmers got together and sold their products as a group they might have the power they need to get a better deal from the conglomerates. Too bad they think that makes them commies and they’d rather deal with multi-billion dollar corporations one on one.

  12. Finally an accurate and fair article on the subject!

    • Did you read the same article as the rest if us?

  13. I’d like to see this article fact checked or rebutted. To me it reads like a chamber of commerce press release. I’ve been around for a couple of booms in AB . The last in the late 70s early 80s. I find it odd that no TFW programme was required back then. And to claim that they’re needed because virtually every low paid employee has run off to fort Mac is implausible. If you go into virtual any town in AB you can’t fail to notice that almost all the hospitality industry is now 90+% FTW. I find the industry excuses to be far too convenient and self serving. We need a national inquiry at the least.
    It seems supply and demand doesn’t apply when franchise owners profit margins are at stake. If there’s a shortage of labour, pay more for it. It’s that simple.
    And it isn’t only Timmy’s that’s doing it. I’ve heard that lower paid wielders from places like the Philipines and India are also coming in. You can’t tell me there are no wielders or pipe fitters in ON who wont move if the wage package is right.

  14. “False furor over the program”? Really? Perhaps if those businesses looking to bring ‘cheap labour’ into Canada would offer decent paycheques and decent conditions (First World NOT Third World), where folks aren’t living hand-to-mouth, they would get honest hard-working CANADIANS applying for the jobs. I don’t believe for one second that were NO Canadians among our 1.3 million unemployed, willing to take up jobs with those companies looking overseas.

    The Harper government has put its middle finger up at Canadians, and simultaneously at Canada, because corporations have their well-heeled lobbyists whispering favours in Harper’s ear.

    Besides this, when will businesses step up and start TRAINING Canadians to ‘purpose-fit’ the types of employees they need? Saying, “We can’t find the right type of workers or those with the necessary skills…therefore we’ll bring in thousands of foreign workers” is a cop-out! Work with schools, colleges and universities and EXPLAIN what types of skills are needed now and will be required in the coming years.

    Get a Grip, Mr Sorensen.

  15. How disgusting…Emily One wrote…Canadians are still whining, and blaming everyone else for their problems I see.

    Hey, it’s a global world…..and if you don’t want to work for global wages, get an education.

    This person is supposed to be educated.. based on the post she made… last time I checked we are NOT a global world but a country first.. lets start educating these idiots to that fact…. the article needs to be re issued with an apology to every single Canadian citizen that is without a job.

  16. Sorry, I don’t intend debating with the Ignoranti. Ciao guys.

    • I figured ….and agree it would not be a constructive conversation.

    • Bye bye you were challenged and starting coming apart fairly quickly. Good stuff!

      • Oh, it’s you again. I see I’ll have to block you from my inbox. I don’t bother talking to the uneducated. Especially the partisan ones. LOL

    • thank you for leaving.

      • LOL are you claiming you’re ALL ignorant?

  17. Mr Sorenson, the problem with your article is your stats and the trust that has been breached by what used to be considered a Canadian bank and the reality of the abuse of these programs. Not to mention the depth of which these programs are being abused. Have a poll, check for yourself the amount of confidence Canadians have for the integrity of the system and the true intent of these programs. I don’t lay full blame with the Conservatives though because I think this would be happening no matter who was in power and at least Canadians would know who really runs the country…it’s not the public.

  18. We’re subsidizing Chinese “coat-hanger abortions”.

  19. Dear

    I want to
    write about how Canadian companies should be ashamed and should have their
    corporate tax breaks taken away for not hiring Canadians. This is a stain on our economy thus we can’t
    move forward nor out of the depression, (Sorry folks double dip is a thing I
    get at Dairy Cream) Yes, Harper
    supposedly made changes but this is not good enough he has to close the
    loopholes that most companies are using to hire foreigners. I have applied to many jobs and have been
    told, “You don’t look like a condo manager.” Or “It is
    only related experience you have and not direct.” And then these companies
    hire foreigners who can’t speak a word of English or say their name and somehow
    they have experience? I believe that the corporate tax breaks should be taken away and any other benefit because those temporary workers will all of a sudden be permanent and thus blocking Canadians with skills. To say that no skilled Canadians is like me saying there is a giant who holds the earth up named Hercules. A myth. Canadian companies have gotten too lazy that they use any cop out why they can not to pay proper wages and yet make their big administration salaries of $5million or so. How many houses can these people live in at once? With their 9 houses and 10 cars? How many cars can you drive at once? What is the point of funding somebody from India who contributes to his family in India or China instead of Canada where money can flow through the economy thus producing a hot economy like in world war 2 when we began to produce made in Canada arms.. Canada has to stop letting money out and fine people who take out our currency to be used in other countries thus making their country rich. Thus drives up the taxes in Canada making Canada expensive to live and work in.

    An example is I have a Business Management diploma from community college, a Real Estate Condo Management certificate from UBC, 13 years security at major office and condo buildings across Canada and writing up property management guides etc. I also manage my parents 4 condo properties in BC, including voting etc. and a Land Agent certificate from Olds College in Alberta. Yet some how I have related experience and that is not good enough? HELLO WHAT ARE EMPLOYERS LOOKING FOR EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE. Weather I cut a piece of wood with a hand saw or a power saw the job at the end of the day gets done the wood is cut. Weather I say 2+2=4 or 2X2=4 it don’t matter the answer is going to be the same. 2+2 and 2X2 is related. All this education and I can’t land a job in property management of any sort. Yet some person who walks off the boat from China or India can’t speak a word of English and yet they are property managers. Newspapers in BC always say must speak Punjabi or Hindu or Cantonese or Mandarin. Hello this is Canada, I speak English.

    No wonder us skilled Canadians are getting short changed by our own people.

    Andrew Kelly

  20. I applied for an apprentice electrician when I lived in Edmonton, AB years ago and one in Calgary not too long ago. I took 1st year apprentice electricity in BC, and computer repair in Ontario, every time I went to an interview it was always minorities and non white people except for the hiring manager. I went there at least once a year for an interview and no job for me. The one in Calgary I went to an interview few weeks ago and no phone call. Then I got another call for an interview two weeks latter but I explained to the lady that was doing the hiring I already went for an interview. She checked her records and found that I did then all of a sudden “Ummmmahhhummm we just hired somebody yesterday and ummhahahaha we will keep your name on file, unnhahahaha work was slow unmmhahaha .” If that was the case why did they advertise in the Calgary Herald everyday looking for apprentice electricians all this time for the past few weeks. The position went unfilled because I was not a minority and would cost you more? I would be like an advanced person with my first year apprentice course. If work was slow that is the first thing you cut out is the advertisement. Once again Canadians get screwed out of jobs in their own country.

  21. By the way those insurgents terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and India are the ones taking over our jobs they kill a few Canadian soldiers and they get our jobs.

  22. The temporary foreign worker program is simply a guise to acquire cheap labor at the expense of Canadian citizens.

    Let’s review the evidence shall we?

    1. Bringing in cheap foreign labor erodes competitive labor markets
    that are needed in order to drive up Canadian worker’s wages so that
    they might enjoy a decent standard of living.

    2. Temporary foreign workers are in theory born from neoliberalism
    capitalist ideology that states and i quote ” the only responsibility of
    businesses is to maximize profits”

    3. Temporary foreign worker programs deprive Canadian youth of the
    transitory jobs that they need in order to transition into higher paying
    work. People who go months on end being unemployed are almost
    considered unemployable by business. This sets our youth up for future
    failure and a society that relies on government handouts for their

    4. Temporary foreign worker program deviates from free market capitalist
    ideology and moves into socialistic capitalist theory and essentially
    props up businesses that should otherwise fail with cheap labor.

    5. Temporary foreign workers are abused verbally, emotionally and
    sometimes put in harms way physically so that inefficient businesses can
    stay afloat.

    6. Temporary foreign worker programs add to the growing socioeconomic
    inequality that is destroying western industrialized countries by
    crushing labor sectors.

    We could go on and on all day long. Believe the propaganda of
    business or believe the academics? Who do you truly think has the
    average Canadian’s best interests at heart?

  23. So, I see two sides to this issue.

    First, many businesses are taking advantage of or even abusing the Foreign Temporary Worker Program because it legally allows them to pay below-minimum wages with little or no benefits.

    Second, many parts of Canada do face a problem of labour shortage because Canadians do not want to take those jobs. These businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy if they do not find workers.

    So basically, the FTWP is needed to solve labour shortage for some; but is easily abused because of the legal loopholes. So why not keeping the program but simply requiring businesses to pay foreign temporary workers equal wages with equal benefits? That way, businesses can still find labours from outside country if necessary, but won’t be tempted to outsource jobs because they have to pay the same.

    • We have to close the loop holes and the companies themselves have to take the initiative to make the work place a place to work at. Sometimes no matter what the job is it is about the work environment. If people are grumpy and bitchy and make poor $$$ then there will be labour shortages. For the most part the government investigators and civil servants who are appointed to do work; should get off their butt and start doing work rather then scratching their butt and ignoring the problems of the work place.

  24. Task Force Staffing, LLC Tulsa, OK taskforcestaffing.net

  25. There are skilled trade workers,six digit earners,who have “all” the required qualifications and experience that are being replaced by foreign workers without the required qualifications.Many local qualified Canadian trade workers are NOT ALLOWED to apply for positions,and many more positions are filled by TFWs before they can apply.The situation is worse for young Canadians trying to gain experience and training in the skilled trades as well those that are fully qualified in their trade within their own province who can not work in another province.

    The ever growing list of “exceptions” with regards to qualifications makes it easier for employers to hire forging workers and foreign worker agencies are becoming big business now.

  26. Zionist corporation communist destroy everything whole world export china manufacture Steven Harper only temporary forgery job available in Canada most Canadian unemployed thx LOW wage scammer agency temporary jobs available. if bring more immigrant not solve the problem before 15 years its better but now worse than anything else

  27. Mr. Sorensen needs to be “replaced” with a real Canadian Senior Writer, one who has NOT been “bought and paid for”, by the TFW headhunter business’s in Canada.

  28. “myth that foreign temporary workers are cheaper to use”? seems there’s more disinformation being advertised from Government and big business on the TFW program than the eye meets,I hear everything from finding “domestic” laborers,profit margins,annual reports to labour shortages, when did it become the job of the Government(Tax Payers) to subsidize flawed business models? advertising that nobody wants these jobs is ridiculous! many Canadians want these jobs but are being pushed out of the industry because TFW are cheaper while our Tax Dollar$ are being misappropriated to pay $6 or the TFW’s $10 per house wages, this is the new growth strategy for big business, all levels of Government should be ashamed of themselves!