Temporary foreign workers hired for trades, professional jobs in Windsor area

While thousands of Windsorites were looking for work, manufacturers in the region hired dozens of temporary foreign workers to fill high-level jobs for terms of longer than a year, new data from the federal employment ministry reveals. The federal government gave local manufacturers permission to hire temporary foreign workers to work as a firefighter, a human resources manager and two mechanical engineers, among other jobs.

Mike Moffatt, an economist at Western University who has studied the issue, said he was surprised by the jobs on the list.

“There would seem to be a large gap in how we’re training local people. It’s surprising to me when we have eight per cent unemployment in Windsor,” Moffatt said. “Why can’t we train somebody in Windsor to take these jobs? There may be a reason, but it’s not obvious to me what it is.”

The numbers come from the second set of data that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has released to The Star since the growing number of temporary foreign workers in Windsor became a hot topic in the House of Commons. Employment Minister Jason Kenney has been on the defensive about the temporary foreign worker program following a series of controversies after employees working at banks, fast food restaurants and other Canadian workplaces went public with claims they were replaced by temporary foreign workers.