Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time To Put a Stop to Unskilled Guest Workers in Canada

The number of guest workers allowed in has exploded since the Conservatives came to power and whereas the typical guest worker was once an American transferred to a branch office in Canada, the fastest growing category of guest worker is now the unskilled type with poor language skills. The Conservatives have not done this directly. They have turned over a greater percentage of the immigration file to the provinces and Western provinces in particular have used the program to undercut labour. The Canadian tax payer has paid through the noise to have cheap labour sent in from other countries for the sole purpose of cutting wages of the Canadian tax payer.


"According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, there were 57,843 temporary foreign workers in Alberta by the end of 2008, a 55 per cent jump from 2007 and more than four times the number residing here five years ago. By contrast, permanent immigration has been relatively stagnant, with fewer than 25,000 immigrants coming to Alberta last year from outside the country, only a few thousand people higher than in 2004.

Alberta is not the only the province to import workers. In raw numbers, Ontario has the highest number at 91,733. B.C. has about the same number as Alberta. Quebec has many fewer at only 26,085."

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/640224

Forget Conservative talk about such provincial programs bringing in much needed skilled workers, this was the kind of positions Alberta was hoping to fill through its guest worker programs this summer: Front desk clerk, short order cook, baker, maid, assembly line worker, server, buser, bellhop, valet, and cafeteria worker, laundry attendant, pet groomer, general labourer, and hair dresser. All that is required of such would be immigrants is that they score 4 or 24 on the language assessment. In other words, they can still be functionally illiterate and still get it in.

It takes a great deal of chutzpah to Kenney to talk about wanting to avoid “the kind of ethnic enclaves or parallel communities that exist in some European countries” and then go about encouraging the very thing that led to the creation of these communities in Europe, viz., importing gobs of unskilled guest labour. Canada is lucky in so far as most Canadians see new immigrants as one of us. The Conservative policy will change this though. If the situation is allowed to continue, an increasing number of Canadians will see new immigrants, and most people are not going to make the distinction between guest worker and permanent resident, as someone brought in by employers to undercut wages.

The number of unskilled workers Canada lets in should be 0.

5 comments:

bgrice said...

While I understand you sentiments regarding guest workers, there are some jobs that Canadian's, even unemployed Canadians, just don't want to do. I live in the Fraser Valley of BC, where a great deal of the farm labour for the berry fields is transient Mexican labour. This is hard work, with little pay, and there just aren't a lot of Canadians willing to do the work.

If you stopped the guest worker program all together, I think you would be putting an unnecessary burden on businesses that use the program legitimately. I agree that most of those jobs you listed should be filled with Canadian workers, especially given the unemployment rate. Maybe an employer has to present documented evidence that they made a good faith effort to hire a Canadian for a job before they are allowed to hire a guest worker?

Anyway, that's just my two cents.
Regards,
Brian Rice

P.S. I am all for landing the CPC with responsibility for things, but lets remember that less than a year ago there was a labour shortage in Canada. We all know that government just doesn't respond to changing circumstances very fast. I agree the government should make some changes, but lets maker sure we give them the same leeway we would want if we were government.

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