How many more scandals will it take before the Conservatives finally get serious about fixing the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program so that it does not take jobs from Canadians?
We recently learned that the government gave a positive labour market opinion for a pizza restaurant in Weyburn. Its existing employees trained TFWs, and then fired the Canadian workers.
Sadly, that’s only the latest example of workers being forced to train TFWs, only to be replaced by them. These actions violate the basic purpose of the program — to provide workers to fill shortages only in situations where Canadians cannot be found to fill the vacancies.
For years, the Conservatives turned a blind eye to this sort of abuse. During the recession, just as hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers lost their jobs, the number of TFWs rose dramatically, almost doubling by the end of 2012.
It was only when the negative press surrounding RBC and a B.C. mine got too intense, that the Conservatives were forced to do something. Yet it clearly hasn’t solved the problem.
Once again, we are seeing the Conservatives pretending that they are serious about fixing the program. Yet their actions do not match their rhetoric. The government won’t even begin an audit of the program until 2015-16, and it has set no deadline for completing it.
We need to get to the root of the problem. The number of abuses suggests that there are very few safeguards in place to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is used correctly, and does not displace Canadian workers. That’s why I wrote to the auditor general to request an audit of its safeguards as quickly as possible, so that we can strengthen them to prevent this sort of abuse.
Canadians expect more from political leaders than just words. Hopefully the Conservatives will finally get the memo.
John McCallum, MP
Liberal Party of Canada Immigration Critic