Conservative MP raised concerns in 2009 about temporary foreign worker wages

Add Rob Merrifield to the ranks of Conservative MPs who have complained privately about the government’s besieged temporary foreign worker program.

OTTAWA —

The Alberta MP wrote in 2009 to Diane Finley, then human resources minister, after a Boston Pizza franchise owner in his riding complained about having to pay his temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage rate.

Merrifield’s letter says the owner felt he couldn’t afford to pay $15.82 an hour to a temporary foreign worker, but might have no other choice due to local labour shortages.

Merrifield, who served for three years as a junior minister before being dropped from cabinet in 2011, also writes that the owner was paying his eight temporary foreign workers more than their Canadian counterparts.

The letter says the foreign help was paid between $13.25 to $14 an hour, while the Canadians earned $12 an hour.

It asks whether it would be possible for the employer to pay his temporary foreign workers the same wage he was paying his Canadian employees.

Merrifield’s dispatch, obtained by The Canadian Press, is the third known letter written by Conservative MPs to raise concerns about various aspects of the temporary foreign worker program.

Kellie Leitch, now labour minister, and Blake Richards have also raised concerns about temporary foreign workers.

In an April 2012 dispatch to Transport Minister Denis Lebel, Leitch told of an Air Canada pilot in her riding who “expressed concern regarding the hiring of foreign crews and pilots who are driving down the salaries of Canadian pilots as well as contributing to the unemployment of Canadian pilots.”

Richards, meantime, wrote to Finley in late 2009, raising similar concerns about CanJet’s hiring practices.

Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month