A Vantage Point on Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The temporary foreign worker program in Canada is a much-discussed topic today. Reactions from Canadians at the loss of Canadian jobs to these temporary workers and out-sourcing run from anger, disbelief, loss of trust, affirmation of suspicions and fear of evisceration of the middle class, to support for making these workers permanent residents.

Historically, this program was created in support of agribusiness and delivery of home healthcare for families with elderly parents, family or friends. But in the mid-90’s, the Conservative government super-sized the TFW program to allow any business to hire skilled TFWs if they were unable to fill those roles with Canadians.

As the RBC tale reverberated, we learned of Canadian corporations abusing this program to hire food service personnel, hotel workers and IT staff for which there are plenty of duly qualified Canadians. The Conservatives, caught in this tailspin, expressed shock and dismay. A rewrite of the program and process was promised by PM Harper in short order.

Now, in some instances, the need for a temporary foreign worker is very real. But, be it lesser skilled or high skilled, in business or for personal health reasons, it plays as wage suppression and, at times, labour abuse. On some level, one can understand it from the vantage point of a small business or average family that cannot afford to pay the wages of an equivalent Canadian worker, but not so when it is a bank raking in billions in profits.

On a personal note, I’m reminded of a post I wrote on one of my other blogs The Middling Ages, which detailed our family’s exceedingly frustrating experience with personal support workers whom we sponsored during. It is only one example of a poorly constructed program overly abused by all factions of all participants.

You can read our family’s experience at What Happened to the Care in Caregiving? The program is in desperate need of a rethink and rewrite.

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Caroline Kalaydjian

In 2005, I left the corporate arena to assist small and medium sized businesses capture their vast potential. I encouraged owners and managers to incorporate agility, creativity, productivity and efficiency throughout their business operations. Today, I marry my concerns for (ethical) business, politics, socio-economics, youth advocacy, poverty, social justice, and geopolitics with my first and longest love, that of writing. Both as a freelance business storyteller, on Business Architect, and in everyday analysis on this site, I hope to shed light on the converging threads that bind society to the every-day impact of decisions made in the public and private realms.

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