It’s clear: the “temporary” workers system is not working as intended: it is meeting the needs of some companies to fill critical jobs for which there are shortfalls: BUT it is also being abused by many other companies to fill positions with cheaper labour … people who are often much more intimidated than Canadians to speak up against lousy working/living conditions and treatment.
It is incredible that, at a time when there are 1.3 million Canadians, unemployed, more than 4,000 companies have had NO CHOICE but to import almost 340,000 workers from overseas.
I’d bet that foreign workers toiling away here … especially in service, resource and construction industries … QUIETLY take a lot more “pushing” around on the job, work irregular hours, and get lower wages and fewer long-term benefits than emancipated Canadians would demand … and be legally required to receive. THAT’S the attraction, THAT’S the benefit, THAT’S the greed factor in play for too many firms.
And getting around Canada’s weak requirements …by requiring, for example, that prospective mining employees speak Mandarin … makes a mockery of the entire system. What’s next? Forestry workers who must be able to live on noodles and crickets? Fishermen who must have a working knowledge of Russian, Portuguese or Japanese? And only hotel, service workers who can take instructions in Tagolog?
The abuse has to stop.
And the Canadian government CAN do it … if they stop turning a blind eye to corporate excesses and encourage them instead to FIND and TRAIN Canadians to do the jobs.
First, the federal and provincial governments both have to increase job skills. training and retraining spending and spaces to SUBSTANTIALLY boost the skill levels of our own workforce. How to pay for it? Well, for starters, why not stop spending tens of millions of dollars on ads telling us how well they’re doing and put the money where it could better be used.
Second, instead of allowing companies to PAY imported workers (and their Canadian co-workers) FIFTEEN PER CENT BELOW the media wage here for the work in question, why not CHARGE Canadian companies a FIFTEEN PER CENT SURCHARGE TAX on all wages paid out to foreign imports.
This would not only encourage corporations to look much harder for Canadians to fill the jobs, but I suspect even be more willing to train our own to do the work.
And those companies that would still need to import workers from abroad (no doubt large enough to measure their own profits in the millions) would be able to get the work done, while still contributing extra to help train and re-train Canadians for future projects.
Just think, based on the 338,000 foreigners now doing jobs here, how many MILLIONS of dollars that would raise to train our own people and encourage hiring here through more job-incentive programs, especially for young people or those displaced by jobs shipped overseas.
I have absolutely no doubt that, if the federal government made it tougher and more costly … not easier and cheaper … for companies to hire abroad, many, many of those 4,000 firms now doing it would think twice …and likely step up their hirings and on-the job training here.
But that would require the government to put the interests of Canadians ahead of corporations … probably no easy task for the Tories.
Unless they remember … companies may contribute, but it’s the people who vote.