The elimination of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for low-wage jobs will be seriously considered by the government in 2016, says Employment Minister Jason Kenney. From the Canadian Meat Council to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, business groups are speaking out against Ottawa’s latest plan to cap the number of low-wage foreign workers and impose higher fees.
Through a phase-in of new caps on low-wage foreign workers and the launch of more detailed labour market surveys, Mr. Kenney indicated that by 2016 the government will be in a position to assess whether it should take the next step.
The overhaul of the program has been called an “appalling overreaction” by business groups. All three men hoping to become the next Alberta premier, including front-runner Jim Prentice, say Ottawa is unfairly punishing the province and would demand more control over immigration policy to deal with labour shortages, as Quebec has now.
Mr. Kenney also confirmed that further changes to the Live-In Caregiver component of the TFW Program will be announced later this year. The government remains concerned with the caregiver stream even though that part of the TFW Program was left largely untouched Friday when he and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced major changes.
Canadian officials in the Philippines have been warning colleagues for years that the caregiver program was facing abuse and had largely become a “hidden” family reunification program. As far back as 2009 when he was immigration minister, Mr. Kenney said he recalls meeting in Manila with 70 women who were on their way to Canada via the program and every single one of them planned to work for a relative.
The list of invited speakers includes people, such as Canadian Chamber of Commerce President Perrin Beatty, who have been critical of the government’s foreign worker changes.
The four main topics on the agenda include whether skills shortages exist in Canada, how labour market data could be improved, how to reform educational and vocational training and how to match underrepresented groups like aboriginals and people with disabilities to available jobs.
Source: The Globe And Mail