Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed closer scrutiny of Canada’s temporary foreign worker program in light of a recent scandal over outsourcing bank jobs.
Last week the Royal Bank of Canada came under fire when employees alleged that their IT jobs were being outsourced to foreign workers in order to save on wages. Though RBC was quick to backtrack and vowed to provide employment opportunities for all affected Canadian workers.
However, the outrage has renewed public debate over the workings of Canada’s temporary foreign worker program and the Harper government, which had already given approval to RBC to hire foreign workers.
“I think it is important for Canadians and all businesses to understand that the purpose of this program is to provide […] temporary help in cases where there are absolute and acute labour shortage. It does not have broader purposes than that,” said Minister Harper while speaking in Calgary this week.
A spokesperson for the Minister of Labour echoed those sentiments in a statement released this week, saying that it is important for employers to understand the purpose of the temporary foreign worker program.
“Employers cannot pay temporary foreign workers less than a Canadian would earn in the same job,” said spokesperson Alyson Queen. “It is a requirement of the program that employers will only be able to pay temporary foreign workers 15% less than the average prevailing wage if there are Canadians being paid 15% less. Therefore, no Canadians will be undercut.”
The temporary foreign worker program has been a hot topic for debate in recent years – particularly as high unemployment rates remain steady and more and more instances of exploitation come to the fore.
Source: National Post