Canada’s temporary foreign worker program has been experiencing rapid growth and the reason often cited is that the program is needed in areas suffering from severe labour shortages. However, it comes as quite a surprise that TFW figures in South-western Ontario have suddenly increased given that the labour market in the region has been declining over the past decade. Similarly, London, Windsor and Hamilton have experienced a significant decline in full time employment rates. It is interesting to note that when the number of TFWs increased in Hamilton, London and Windsor in 2012, the same regions simultaneously experienced a sharp decrease in full-time employment rates
With the possible exceptions of Guelph and the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo CMA, one would have to look for a very long time to find a “severe labour shortage” in South-western Ontario. The number of TFWs has inexplicably seen a sharp increase across the South-western Ontario region.
The temporary foreign workers issue is just another example of why Canada needs to keep better labour market data. There may be very good economic reasons why the number of TFWs has doubled in South western Ontario in the last decade, but without proper data there is no real way of knowing.
Source: Canadian Business