Temporary Foreign Workers: the revolving door

March 23, 2015

They come to Canada to fill jobs that employers cannot find Canadians to fill, they work, pay taxes, contribute to CPP and they put back into the local economy.  These are Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW).

The TFW program has existed for years.  But now the government has announced it will impose a four year limit on the cumulative duration migrant workers can work in Canada under the program.

This means they will have to leave Canada after four years work. And they can’t apply to work here for another four years.

On April 1, 2015 thousands of migrant workers in Canada will hit this four year limit.  Work permits will be denied unless they can demonstrate that one of the limited exceptions to the cumulative duration rule applies to them.

This rule applies mainly to migrant workers performing lower-skilled work and those working in skilled trades and technical jobs.  Most of these workers are racialized.  Some of these migrant workers may end up staying in Canada as illegal immigrants and that makes them vulnerable.

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) wants the federal government to allow all migrant workers who are already working in Canada access to permanent residency status. Also, workers who have reached the four year limit should not be deported.

All workers in Canada have the equal right to dignity, safety, security and justice. People who come to Canada to work have the right to move freely and settle and the government must stop supplying a disposable workforce to employers.

The revolving door affects both migrant workers and Canadian workers:

  • A disposable work force drives wages down.
  • Employers choose to hire cheaper labour instead of honestly trying to attract Canadian workers for jobs. 
  • They have no incentive to maintain standards for wages, benefits and working conditions. 
  • This practice encourages low standards, intimidation tactics and poor working conditions for the migrant worker. 
  • Nobody wins.  It’s time to make this program work for migrant workers and Canadians.

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