A review of Canada’s temporary foreign worker program has a resulted in 21 recommended changes. Businesses here in the Lakeland and across the nation will be waiting to see which get made into law and which don’t.
“I know in the past we’ve had quite a few businesses use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program” says Executive Director of the Bonnyville & District Chamber of Commerce Andrea Yaremie. “Then the government had made some significant changes that made it a lot more difficult for both people wanting to come work in Canada as well as for our business owners.”
“The interesting thing will be to see of these changes, what actually gets implemented and put into the program to change it.”
Among the recommendations includes more creating more precise data on the labour markets in smaller communities, which would impact the Lakeland directly. Right now, stats like the unemployment rate will usually have a figure for large cities while smaller towns will be clumped together in a large region. It can be hard to tell what’s going on within one specific town in that region. Businesses can’t hire a TFW in certain low-wage positions if the unemployment rate in their region is above six percent.
The program has been a source of controversy for years now, but Yaremie says temporary workers aren’t necessarily taking jobs from Canadians. “[Businesses] have to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment and when they’re not able to hire for certain jobs, they have to prove that there aren’t Canadians able to take those jobs. I don’t foresee a lot of businesses necessarily needing to use the program. That being said, I imagine most people have observed that we’ve had a lot of people leave. I view it as Canadians that are interested in getting work and finding employment, there’s definitely options out there. In my mind if there is a shortage, even though there might be a high unemployment rate Canadians need to be accessing these jobs as well and they can still do that. It’s usually when it becomes a dramatic shortage when they are accessing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Right now I think we do have a higher number of people looking for jobs then there are jobs available, so I don’t think it will be a big concern at the moment.