Crackdown on Temporary Foreign Worker Program is Shortsighted

By Andy Semotiuk | April 11, 2014

Toronto immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: This story about immigration and labour market opinions is worth a look. Via CTV:

Three Victoria McDonald’s restaurants were put on a federal blacklist Monday for alleged abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, prompting the fast food chain to move quickly to cut ties with the franchise owner.

Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney also suggested criminal charges could result against the owner if he lied on the original application to employ temporary foreign workers.

“I suspended both the labour market opinions and the work permits that that employer has been using pending the outcome of the investigation,” said Kenney. “And we’ve blacklisted that employer as well as two others that we believe have abused the program.”

Kenney said penalties for such a prosecution include up to five years in prison and fines reaching $100,000.

The Canada Border Services Agency could lay charges under the Immigration Act, he said.

I don’t like the idea of going on the warpath against employers who employ temporary foreign workers. Such a move may be throwing red meat out to those who seek to shut down the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and those who see the TFWP as a threat to Canadian workers who are unable to find jobs, but it is a wasted effort.
Labour Market Opinion
The rules governing approvals for employers trying to fill gaps in the local work force are now so strict that it has become almost impossible to obtain an honest Labor Market Opinion in Canada. If political leaders met with employers and talked to them about finding the workers they need, they would discover just how difficult the employer’s task is, and why bringing such foreign workers can actually benefit the Canadian economy. The program can result in more jobs for everyone concerned.
The current way of doing things is very shortsighted. ​What would make more sense is to focus on upgrading the skills of those who have no work, and also helping employers expand their markets, rather than policing employers’ efforts to just find a way to make things work “for right now.”
Andy Semotiuk is a Canadian and US immigration lawyer with Toronto immigration law firm Pace Law Firm. You can learn more about Andy at My Work Visa.