A Closer Look

Temporary Foreign Workers Program in Canada – The solution is to fine the offending firms, and not to curtail it

Given the benefits provided by Canada’s lower-skilled TFW’s, why has the public’s perception of the program been negatively skewed? First, rare and isolated abuses of TFWs have been Capture d’écran 2014-06-20 à 08.28.00reported by the media. The solution to these transgressions is to fine the offending firms, and not to curtail a successful TFW labour program. What of the more fundamental research produced by C.D. Howe institute which claims unemployment effects owing to the TFW program? Aside from the questionable methodology of analyzing in the aggregate a diverse skill-based TFW program, and a pilot program offering accelerated TFW placement that is not a current government policy option, one must question why employment effects were cited as the sole criterion of the economic success or failure of Canada’s TFW program. Clearly a more encompassing appreciation of the net economic benefit accruing to Canadians would have led to more balanced conclusions about Canada’s current TFW program.

Canada in 2014 has the world’s most comprehensive TFW program for which the economic and employment benefits to Canadians far outweigh the costs. The costs have been primarily associated with isolated instances of Canadians denied jobs in industries using the program. The policy solution to these negative effects is new government regulations that financially penalize employers guilty of this abuse. Mr. Kenny’s has rather chosen to focus his policy initiatives on the unskilled portion of the TFW program through an unemployment criteria and higher processing costs which will ironically not affect Albertan employers, given their low unemployment rate and powerful economy. In a sense, Mr. Kenny has attempted to shut down a portion of the TFW program in the rest of Canada which, to a large extent, does not exist.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at New foreign-worker rules a solution in search of a problem – The Globe and Mail.

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