Canada’s Immigration Minister is reassuring Alberta employers that the government recognizes their need for labour, and will help by streamlining the process of hiring temporary foreign workers.
Speaking to business groups this week in Calgary, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced plans to consult with members of the private sector to determine how his government can best help them to find and hire the workers they need to continue their economic recovery.
“It’s our intention to hammer out a process that is more efficient, that eliminates unnecessary and redundant bureaucracy, or red tape, so that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program works, on time, for the Alberta economy,” said Kenney.
The consultations are a direct result of discussions with employers this summer, in which it was made clear to the Minister and his department that labour is a top priority for the province – which is helping to lead the country back from the 2008 recession.
Last year, over 40,000 temporary foreign workers were brought to Alberta. However businesses in the province are concerned about a deepening divide between the government’s immigration priorities and the needs of employers. They say that the skilled worker stream of immigration places too much focus on formal education.
“There is a strong disconnect with the Government of Canada’s program prioritizing so-called skilled workers, where skill is associated with education. For our industry, skill is something different,” said Cheryl Knight, CEO and executive director of Calgary-based Petroleum Human Resources of Canada. “Because those jobs do not require formal post-secondary education, they’re not seen as skilled workers.”
Kenney said that his government is looking into the issue, but also needs to consider the public perspective which favours other solutions, such as matching unemployed Canadians with jobs in other regions.
The consultations will take place next month and will also involve Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.
Source: Calgary Herald