Toronto immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: There is what I view as an unseemly shift in the coverage of foreign worker programs in Canada today. I’ve talked about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program before, but this particular story deals with the International Experience Canada Program:
Under the International Experience Canada program, as many as 20,000 workers aged 18 to 35 will soon be coming to Canada — just as Canadian youth begin pounding the pavement in search of summer jobs…
In exchange, Canadians can apply to work in 32 participating countries that also include Ukraine, Slovenia and Slovakia. Government data, however, indicates that more than three times as many foreigners come to Canada under the program than the other way around.
Doug Parton of the Ironworkers union in B.C. has called on the government to crack down on the IEC, saying there are no skills assessments of the incoming workers and no requirement that companies pay workers the prevailing wage rate.
“It’s a complete free-for-all and it’s an attack on wages,” said Parton, the business agent for Ironworkers Local 97, which represents structural and reinforcing ironworkers in British Columbia.
Parton claims mines in B.C. are taking advantage of the program to bring in non-Canadian workers with none of the “checks and balances” ostensibly in place under the broader temporary foreign worker program.
One company in particular, Parton said, has been routinely bringing over dozens of temporary foreign workers under the program for more than a decade and paying them $13 an hour while providing no training whatsoever or apprenticeship opportunities to domestic workers.