Union Calls for All Temporary Workers to Become Permanent Residents
The union representing thousands of Canada’s temporary workers has called for them to be given permanent residency status on arrival here.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) should be modified in favour of a system that gives immigrants the option to permanently settle in the country, according to United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada.
UFCW, which has the largest percentage of temporary workers of any union in Canada, gave its view at a hearing in Ottawa, part of the current government review of TFWP.
Permanent residency status was one of a number of recommendations made by the union, summarized as follows:
- Give temporary workers equal access to pension and employment insurance benefits;
- End employer-specific work permits;
- Allow temporary workers freedom to join unions;
- Give all workers permanent residency status.
Currently temporary workers are given fixed-term visa for their stay in Canada, which can be extended if their employer wants to keep them on.
UFCW says it has helped many temporary workers achieve permanent status here by using these programs and working with employers.
“Throughout our history, Canada was built on the strength of newcomers,” said Paul Meinema, the national president of UFCW Canada. “Today’s migrant workers deserve the same opportunities to seek a new life in Canada.”
Businesses say they prefer using TFWP over the Express Entry system to bring in foreign members of staff.
Immigration minister John McCallum wants to change this by tweaking both programs to make Express Entry more fit for purpose.
Here is a summary of areas Canada’s immigration authorities are considering to improve:
- Re-design the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to be more responsive to meet the needs of employers while protecting the Canadian labour market.
- Re-design Express Entry to be more fluid and more flexible than the current system.
- Eliminate the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement for businesses that wish to hire candidates in the Express Entry Pool that are currently working inside Canada under the International Mobility Program or a currently existing LMIA.
- Revise the assessment process for international students working under the Post Graduates Work Program (PGWP), to qualify under the Express Entry system.
- Improve the Caregivers Program by:
- Reducing processing delays
- Regulate businesses that deploy caregivers.
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