A new report suggests that Canada’s increasing reliance upon temporary foreign workers to solve labour shortages could have the unintended consequence of “de-skilling” the immigrant labour pool.
The report, compiled and released this month by Montreal’s Institute for Research on Public Policy, specifically examined provincial nominee programs, which often help temporary foreign workers to fast-track their immigration applications.
In the province of British Columbia, for instance, there is an increase in the amount of provincial nominees being drawn from temporary foreign worker pools. From 2005 to 2010, approximately 79 percent of PNP nominees were temporary foreign workers. In 2010 that number was up to 93 percent.
The report warns that such trends, though helpful to employers in addressing short-term labour issues, could have harmful effects for the long term labour market. For instance, there is little incentive for employers to invest time and money into training Canadians when they can bring in temporary workers much more quickly.
Additionally, temporary workers who have gained resident status are free to then move to other provinces where their skills may not be as highly coveted, thus leading to potential under or unemployment, putting more stresses on social services.
The report calls for caps on temporary foreign workers. Over the last decade, the amount of temporary workers entering the country each year has nearly doubled. As of 2012, there were approximately 491,547 temporary foreign workers in the country.
Source: Ottawa Citizen