Round-up: temporary foreign workers

From: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, “Facts and figures 2011 – Immigration overview: Permanent & temporary residents”. Source for graph here.

CTV, Regina: Labour group says foreign worker program problems extend beyond fast-food sector: A labour group says it has evidence that problems with the federal temporary foreign worker program extend far beyond restaurants.

The Alberta Federation of Labour says records for 2012-2013 show 224 cases where businesses in the province paid foreign workers less than the prevailing wage rate.

The federation says these businesses included hotels, gas stations, casinos, convenience stores, greenhouses, feedlots and nurseries.

Federation president Gil McGowan says this shows the federal government is breaking its own rules…

Vancouver: TFW program adds to unemployment says study: The Temporary Foreign Worker Program has caused unemployment in B.C. and Alberta to jump significantly, according to C.D. Howe Institute study released on the same day Ottawa announced a partial moratorium on the controversial program.

The study by Dominique Gross used government data from 2002 to 2012, determining that using temporary foreign workers has impacted B.C. workers by almost 4% over several years.

“What I found is there has been some impact on the unemployment of local workers,” Gross said. “In my study, it’s mostly the low-skilled workers.”

Due to a now eliminated fast track pilot program from 2007 until 2010, the program resulted in an accelerated increase of 3.9% in the unemployment rate in B.C. and Alberta and has since kept it up…

CBC: “We will see some restaurants close:” A moratorium on hiring temporary foreign workers for the food service industry could force the closure of restaurants and put Canadians out of work, industry experts say.

“It will have a real impact on our employers in areas where they are struggling to find staff. It’s creating a great deal of uncertainty,” said Joyce Reynolds, executive vice-president of government affairs for Restaurants Canada. “We’re already hearing from members saying they don’t know how they’re going to be able to keep their restaurants open in certain locales.”

“I anticipate that unfortunately, we will see some restaurants close.”

On Thursday, federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney announced the moratorium, saying that “serious concerns” remain following a government investigation of the allegations raised about the program…

CBC: Tim Hortons breaks with franchisee, expands foreign worker oversight after wage theft claims: Tim Hortons has expanded oversight of the use of temporary foreign workers at its franchises and taken over two locations in Fernie, B.C., and Blairmore, Alta., months after several employees told CBC News the owner of the two franchises took advantage of their status as temporary foreign workers to cheat them out of overtime pay.

The popular doughnut chain made the announcement hours before Employment Minister Jason Kenny announced an immediate moratorium on the fast-food industry’s access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The six Tim Hortons workers who originally raised concerns over their working conditions are all Filipino and all were hired to work at the Fernie franchise. They first spoke out in December of last year, with claims of alleged theft, threatening behaviour and manipulation on the part of their boss, Pierre Pelletier…

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