New Democrats are calling for an independent review of all the ways companies can bring in foreign workers, after it was revealed today that a loophole permitting companies to transfer employees internally is still allowing Canadians to be replaced by foreign workers. This loophole was not closed by any of the inadequate changes the Conservatives announced for the Temporary Foreign Worker program last week.
“The Conservatives are fixing a leaky boat with pieces of chewing gum,” said NDP Employment Critic Jinny Sims (Newton – North Delta). “It seems that every time the government announces a new quick fix, a new abuse is unveiled. We need an independent review that actually gets to the bottom of this mess the Conservatives have created.”
In BC this week, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 has revealed that Conifex Power Plant is using this loophole to bring in unqualified construction workers from the U.S. when there are qualified locals to do the job. Conservatives defend these intra-company transfer permits, stipulating that they are meant for quick and temporary access to individuals with project-based, specialized knowledge - but as this case demonstrates, that’s often not the case.
"The overarching issue here is that this Conservative government allowed the Program to reach a disastrous state before it came forward with any attempt to fix it," said Deputy Employment Critic Sadia Groguhé. "Then the Minister's changes don't go far enough to compel employers to look to Canadian workers first – and with so many unemployed Canadians competing for jobs, that has to be the priority.”