Letter: Temporary Foreign Worker program not working as intened

Dear Editor,

The Conservative government has mismanaged the Temporary Foreign Worker Program so badly they have more than doubled its intake of temporary foreign workers (TFWs), admitting almost as many temporary workers to Canada as new permanent residents in 2012.

The end result has been fewer jobs for Canadian workers, the suppression of Canadian wages, and, in some cases, the exploitation of vulnerable foreign workers.  

More fundamentally, the Conservatives undermined Canada’s longstanding nation-building immigration system — where we welcome permanent immigrants and their families and encouraged them to become citizens and full participants in our communities.  The Tories sought to replace that system with guest workers who come here for a few years and are then shipped out.

This has been intentional. In 2007, Minister Diane Finley was clear, saying “we’ve expanded the temporary foreign workers program very significantly and very deliberately.”  The Conservatives loosened all the rules in the book. They shortened the time an employer had to actively search for Canadian workers before accessing the foreign worker program. They extended the length of time a temporary foreign worker can work in Canada. Yet they failed to create safeguards to ensure employers were telling the truth on those applications.

Then, like a reckless driver, after years of pushing the accelerator to the floor on TFWs, a political crisis broke out, and the government slammed on the brakes, imposing a moratorium on the whole food services sector.  Had they managed the file competently to begin with, such a moratorium would not have been necessary.

The Liberal Party has proposed a reasonable five-point plan to fix this mess. Scale the program back and focus on its original purpose — to fill labour shortages when there is a legitimate need.  Tighten the rules to ensure employers genuinely seek Canadians first. Enforce those rules and impose severe penalties on violators. Increase the transparency of the program so that Canadians can know the number of jobs in each occupation and community that are being offered to TFWs. And finally, re-focus on bringing in immigrants for whom a path to permanent residence is available.

We cannot allow Canada to become a country that exploits large numbers of guest workers who have no realistic prospect of citizenship. We must restore our core Canadian value of fairness: fairness for Canadians who need work, and fairness for vulnerable people who travel to Canada from abroad in search of a real opportunity to succeed.

Rodger Cuzner, MP

Liberal Party of Canada Employment and Social Development Critic

Just Posted

Langley’s Georgia Ellenwood is Olympics bound

She has effectively qualified for the 2020 games based on international ranking

Campaign against hospital parking fees is gathering momentum: organizer

Gary Hee said the bid to eliminate ER parking fees will be his last petition campaign

United voice calls for more senior services in Aldergrove

‘The people here deserve more’ says founder of the local Seniors Resource Fair

Aldergrove’s water park opens to public at discounted rates

Though the pool remains closed, the Township has decided to charge a toonie for admission

Fraser Valley pup trained in Aldergrove co-stars in A Dog’s Journey

Film premiers this weekend, starting Friday in Canadian theatres

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Structure fire destroys Surrey tire shop

RCMP have closed Fraser Highway down to traffic from 152 Street to 88 Avenue

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Multi-vehicle collision on highway in Chilliwack

Accident involves several vehicles, in the westbound lanes says Drive BC

Man dies after being hit by car in East Vancouver

The driver involved is cooperating with police

Most Read