OTTAWA ― New research conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress shows that in recent years migrant workers are filling most of the new jobs created in the Canadian economy.
“Roughly 75% of the new jobs created in Canada in 2010 and 2011 were filled by temporary foreign workers despite the fact that 1.4 million Canadian residents were unemployed,” says Ken CLC President Ken Georgetti. The CLC research used numbers from the Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey and from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The federal government was forced in April to make changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) after clear evidence that employers were using the program to import vulnerable migrant workers at a time of continuing high unemployment in Canada.
“Employers and the federal government have tried to deny what is happening but we have crunched the numbers and the trends are clear. In most provinces the importation of migrant workers accounts for more than 50% of net new jobs in the years 2008-2011,” Georgetti says. “We believe that employers and Ottawa are using the import of vulnerable migrant workers to promote a low wage strategy in Canada.”
Georgetti provided examples of migrant workers and job creation in Canadian provinces:
- In British Columbia, the influx of temporary foreign workers exceeded the net number of jobs created between 2008 and 2011. B.C. created 52,100 net new jobs in those years, and in 2011 there were nearly 70,000 temporary foreign workers in the province.
- In 2009, Alberta imported 28,547 temporary foreign workers as the provincial economy shed 28,500 net jobs.
- In Saskatchewan, on average between 2008 and 2011, 65% of net new jobs created were held by temporary foreign workers.
- In Manitoba for 2011, approximately 70% of the net new jobs created were held by temporary foreign workers.
- In Ontario, the economy shed over 164,000 jobs in 2009, but 60,000 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province. In 2011, 56% of net new jobs were held by temporary foreign workers.
- In Quebec, 90% of the net new jobs created in 2011 were held by temporary foreign workers.
- New Brunswick lost 3,400 jobs in 2010 and 4,100 jobs in 2011, but the number of temporary foreign workers arriving in the province increased to 1,819 in that year.
- Nova Scotia created only 300 net new jobs in 2011, but over 2,800 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province.
- Prince Edward Island created 1,400 net new jobs in 2011, and 42% of these jobs were held by temporary foreign workers.
- Newfoundland and Labrador lost over 6,000 jobs in 2009, yet nearly 1,400 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province that year. In 2011, 22% of net new jobs created were held by temporary foreign workers.
Georgetti adds, “Let me be clear. We welcome migrant workers when there are demonstrated shortages of workers in Canada, but we want to ensure that those migrant workers are protected on the job and welcomed into the community. They should be placed into the permanent immigration stream, not exploited in temporary migration schemes.”
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour