“Keeping the price of latte low” – Why the Conservatives need to make changes to the foreign worker program fast

Good piece by Campbell Clark in the Globe on Temporary Foreign Workers. Latte line is priceless:

Temporary foreign workers really shouldn’t be part of any company’s basic business model, especially if it’s their strategy to fill jobs that don’t require training. Governments should be expecting wages to rise, not stepping in to provide thousands of visas for low-paid workers.

But the government has watched that grow into a common practice over several years. Freezing it has just added unpredictability.

The moratorium won’t kill Canada’s economy. Most consumers will spend their dollars elsewhere in Canada if a restaurant with a labour shortage has a long wait. But the tourism industry does have some reason to worry that the sudden freeze just as their busy season starts will cause problems for some businesses, and perhaps hurt the sector….

But whatever the government decided to do, it should have provided a transition program so the sector wasn’t hit suddenly, he [Garth White, Restaurants Canada] said. And the government should stop moving its deadline and announce its plans to reform the program, he said….

The president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, David Goldstein, said most in the industry don’t like the current program, but they do need the workers. There are some jobs it’s just hard to fill with Canadian workers, he said.

“The inconvenient truth is that in a Richard Florida society, somebody still has to make him his latte,” he said.

It’s not clear that Canadians should make it a policy priority to keep the price of the latte low, by making it easy to recruit lower-paid workers from abroad.

Why the Conservatives need to make changes to the foreign worker program fast – The Globe and Mail.

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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