Five people in the Toronto area have been arrested for an alleged scam in Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
A year-long investigation, dubbed O-Nanny, began after the RCMP found that individuals at Platinum Care, a foreign worker recruitment and placement agency, were using falsified documents to create employment offers for foreign workers.
The accused were said to steal personal identification information from Canadians and use that information to create fictitious employment offers to foreign workers, allowing them into the country under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Since 2002, the program allows low-skill workers to fill jobs in Canada with offers of employment.
The TFW Program as Business Model starring Tim Horton’s
Now here’s why this matters to the TFW debate. A growth model that relies on opening vast numbers of new stores every year also relies on nearly unfettered access to cheap labour to keep profit margins from getting crushed. Tim Hortons has regularly said as much in its annual reports, in the section where it lists all the potential risks to its business: Any labour shortage due to “the cessation or limitation of access to federal or provincial labour programs, including the temporary foreign worker program,” could lead to declining revenues, profits and brand reputation.
In the past, Tim Hortons has said it employs around 4,500 temporary foreign workers, equal to about five per cent of its 100,000-strong workforce. That may not seem like a lot, but think of that temporary labour force as a release valve when local labour markets overheat with the addition of new stores. Then multiply it by all the other chains pursuing a similar strategy. You quickly arrive at an industry dependent on TFWs to fuel its exponential expansion. The question is: Since when did it become the job of government to subsidize flawed business models?