Kenney defends job bank despite outdated postings

Yet another headache for the government in the context of Temporary Foreign Workers and the introduction of the “Express Entry” new immigration approach which will also use the Job Bank. To be fair, keeping such sites up-to-date is always a challenge:

The federal government will soon make enhancements to its online job bank amid revelations that hundreds of positions posted on the site have long since been filled, Employment Minister Jason Kenney said Monday.

“We are making improvements to the Canada Job Bank … we will be using new technological developments in the near future to ensure an even better matching of unemployed Canadians with available jobs,” Kenney said in the House of Commons.

The government will work with “private-sector web platforms” when provinces fail to send their own postings to the job bank, he added. Currently, most provinces and territories do so automatically.

The job bank is a critical component of Ottawa’s controversial temporary foreign worker program. Employers are required to post ads on the site seeking Canadian workers for four weeks before they’re able to apply to hire temporary foreign workers.

The government also relies in part on job bank data to determine what regions of the country are clamouring for labour.

But from customer service representatives in New Brunswick to food service supervisors in B.C. and RCMP clerks in Saskatchewan, many of the 110,000 jobs listed on the job bank are no longer available. A litany of postings are several months old; some have been on the site for more than a year.

Kenney defends job bank despite outdated postings.

In related Temporary Foreign Workers news, Minister Kenney’s refuses Quebec’s request for an exemption for the moratorium, and Minister Alexander makes one of his few public comments:

Kenney told the Commons the moratorium was imposed to protect Canadians who are looking for work.

The federal minister pointed out that 14 per cent of Quebec youth are unemployed as are 20 per cent of new arrivals to the province.

Ottawa announced the moratorium in late April after reports suggested the program was being abused by the food-service industry.

A spokesman for Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said on the weekend the province has no problem with the program and that restaurants need temporary foreign workers to keep operating, especially in summer.

The moratorium has been widely criticized by industry groups, with Quebec’s restaurant association calling it “exaggerated and unreasonable.”

Earlier on Monday, federal Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said the moratorium was imposed for “very good reasons.”

“There was abuse and we are absolutely committed to completing the review and the reform we have underway,” he said at an unrelated event in Montreal.

“And I can assure you and her (Weil) and Canadians across the country that when this program is relaunched, it will not be subject to abuse.”

He said the hiring of foreign temporary workers should be a “last resort.”

“There are young people across Canada…who are looking for permanent jobs and summer jobs and our first obligation as employers is to look to the domestic market.”

Temporary foreign worker ban: Kenney tells Quebec to hire unemployed youth

Lastly, commentary by Matt Gurney on the irony of the Quebec request:

But restaurant workers? It’s harder to make that case. If Canadians aren’t taking those jobs, the jobs probably aren’t paying enough. I’m sympathetic to the restaurant owners — the restaurant business is highly competitive, with razor-thin margins — but this is how capitalism works. Long-term jobs won’t adjust their prices to appropriate market-driven levels if there’s a gigantic foreign-worker-fed short circuit built into the process. Foreign workers when necessary to sustain and grow the economy, sure, but not foreign workers handing out the dessert menus as the default option.

Quebec is in an odd position here, and an ironic one. Despite the recent election of the Liberal party, and the attendant crushing defeat of the oft-xenophobic Parti Quebecois, the province still has a warranted reputation of being one of the less welcoming places in Canada with which to move. Even Canadian citizens, of the generically white ethnic background, can run into trouble for what language they speak. There are recent signs that this sad trend may slowly be moderating, but there’s still a very long way to go.

And while Quebec sorts out its discomfort with outsiders, it’s also insisting that it wants to retain access to a vast pool of foreigners to work in an industry in which they probably ought not to be working in the first place. “Send us some foreigners so we can hire them for service-sector jobs!” isn’t really something anyone would have expected to hear coming out of the province that was recently in an uproar about what civil servants could wear on their head or around their necks without getting binned, but here we are.

Quebec government really wants more foreigners. OK, then

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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