Scrapping TFW program for low-wage jobs will be on the table in 2016, Kenney says – The Globe and Mail

More public comment and foreshadowing by Jason Kenney on the Temporary Foreign Workers program and live-in caregivers:

But in a meeting with The Globe and Mail’s editorial board Tuesday, Mr. Kenney insists the warnings from business leaders are exaggerated. He also indicated the government could soon go much further.

Through a phase-in of new caps on low-wage foreign workers and the launch of more detailed labour market surveys, Mr. Kenney indicated that the government will be in a position by 2016 to assess whether it should take the next step.

“At that point [in 2016], I think the government can do a reassessment and look at whether it would be desirable to go to zero right across the country,” Mr. Kenney said. “So I’m saying quite publicly that we’re leaving our options open. There will be great resistance to that.

”The overhaul of the program has been called an “appalling overreaction” by business groups and has the Conservatives suddenly playing defence in the Western stronghold of Alberta, where the changes are expected to hit hard….

As far back as 2009 when he was immigration minister, Mr. Kenney said he recalls meeting in Manila with 70 women who were on their way to Canada via the program and every single one of them planned to work for a relative.

“The biggest problem I see in it is that … to a great deal, it has mutated into an extended family reunification program, which was not its intent,” Mr. Kenney said Tuesday. “As best we can tell, a majority of the entrants in that program were actually coming to work for relatives – for family members.”

The fact that the caregiver program allows workers to apply for permanent residency for themselves and their family has “clogged” up the immigration system, said Mr. Kenney. The minister would not speculate on whether the government is considering the elimination of this benefit.

Scrapping TFW program for low-wage jobs will be on the table in 2016, Kenney says – The Globe and Mail.

Tom Walkom’s commentary in the Star aims at Temporary Foreign Workers covered under free trade agreements like NAFTA and CETA, forgetting to mention that these agreements also provide equivalent access to Canadian workers in the  US and other countries we have these agreements with:

But regardless of the judge’s ultimate decision, the B.C. case points to a fatal flaw in Kenney’s much-publicized get-tough policy:

In the end, he and the rest of Stephen Harper’s government aren’t serious about protecting Canadian jobs and wages.

As one government program designed to undercut domestic wages ratchets down, another is already gearing up.

True, Ottawa understands the politics around jobs. In response to a scandal last year in which the ICT program was used to outsource highly paid information technology jobs from Canada, the government tightened its definition of “specialized knowledge.”

Yet tellingly, this tighter definition doesn’t apply to workers from countries that have free trade agreements with Canada — such as the U.S. and Mexico.

The temporary foreign workers program may have been hobbled. But the war against good wages continues.

How Canada lets employers avoid temporary foreign worker reforms: Walkom

On the other side, Dan DeVoretz tries to defend the Temporary Foreign Workers Program for the food and hospitality industries:

How are economic benefits generated by the unnecessarily maligned hospitality and restaurant TFWs? These benefits arrive in two forms. First, the vast majority 70 per cent circa early 2014 of these TFWs reside in Alberta, where the restaurant and accommodation sector have the largest and fastest growing job vacancy rate of any industry in Canada. The province’s labour market is characterized by high wages and low unemployment. Unless unemployed workers migrated from the rest of Canada to work for minimum wage in Alberta’s hospitality and restaurant sector, many of Alberta’s existing hotels and restaurants would not be in business. Since low-priced restaurants provide a benefit to Albertans the loss of these restaurants would deprive Albertans of an important economic benefit.

Does not pass the common sense test unlike for agricultural workers. And, surprising for an economist, increasing supply by increasing wages (classic theory) ignored.

New foreign-worker rules a solution in search of a problem – 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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