June 2, 2016
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program has come under fire with alleged accusations of employer abuse of foreign workers. This has caused the government to implement strict reforms against employers, designed to appease the public. The long-term goal of these reforms is to offer prospective foreign workers Canadian citizenship.
Long time critics of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have argued that this initiative takes away jobs from Canadians and drives down wages; however, those in favor of the program argue that many Canadians are not seeking the sorts of jobs that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program aims to fill. Often jobs associated with this program require workers to relocate to rural communities and work for lower wages.
Regardless of these critiques some industries have become severely dependent on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. As a result, domestic wages are negatively impacted, and the industry itself is hurt by the introduction of these new reforms. The aim of the program was to compliment the existing domestic labor, not act as a substitute. Temporary foreign workers would take the jobs Canadians are not, in order to de-saturate the job market.
There is a risk that the new reforms will inhibit new workers from immigrating to Canada with such strict regulations applied on employers. This has already resulted in a significant shortage of workers in industries such as mining, meat production, agriculture, etc. Companies and industry leaders are predicting heavy losses in revenue due to the production shortages.
This new regulatory reform offering foreign workers citizenship is ideal for both employees and employers, but would require a large scale restricting of the program. Since the program was based on keeping the foreign workers temporary. In response to this the government has introduced the new ‘Express Entry’ program. This program is designed to qualified foreign workers as opposed to the low-skilled workers of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. It is more favorable for the government to attract qualified workers over low-skilled workers, but it is the low skilled labor shortages which the government must address.