Temporary Foreign Workers program another national disgrace

Canadian’s are getting used to officially apologizing for wrongs committed by the Government of Canada. I sense another apology coming in the deeply flawed and morally wrong Foreign Temporary Worker program.

EDMONTON — Canadian’s are getting used to officially apologizing for wrongs committed by the Government of Canada. I sense another apology coming in the deeply flawed and morally wrong Foreign Temporary Worker program.

In 1988 Prime Minister Brian Mulroney apologized on behalf of Canadians for the forcible evacuation of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), forced evacuation of Japanese Canadians was presented as a perfectly reasonable thing to do; after all, many Canadian’s of German origin had been detained and denied their rights in both World Wars.

Later in the changed circumstances of peace, it all seemed very wrong to deny blameless Canadians of Japanese origin their rights and privileges, so a formal apology was announced and reparations were paid.

In 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a ‘full’ apology to Canadians of Chinese origin for the ‘Head Tax’ and the deliberate government policy of excluding Chinese immigrants from 1923 to 1947. Describing the Head Tax as a ‘grave’ injustice and morally wrong, he acknowledged the government of Canada’s wrongdoing and offered ex-gratia payments to the descendants of those Chinese Canadians effected.

In 2008, Harper apologized once again, this time for the Indian Residential Schools program. Calling Residential Schools a ‘sad chapter’ in our history, the Government, on behalf of Canadians, apologized for the systematic abuse of over 150,000 Aboriginal children, their families and communities.

Which brings us to the present, and Canada’s controversial Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Claiming that Canada was experiencing a ‘significant’ skills shortage, the Conservative Government introduced the Temporary Foreign Worker program a few years ago to “help fill genuine and acute labour needs so that business can continue to grow and create more opportunities for Canadians”.

What could be more pragmatic, more sensible that that?

Today Temporary Foreign Workers (TWFs) dominate many industries in Canada, particularly in Information Technology (IT) and the Hotel and Food Services industries. To meet the growing market need for temporary foreign workers, a vast new recruitment industry has emerged.

According to recruitment industry advertising, TFWs offer employers real advantages. Temporary foreign workers are more ‘loyal’ and harder working. The recruitment industry claims that these workers often ‘exceed the qualifications’ required and are more willing than Canadians to fulfill employers’ ‘expectations’.

Not surprisingly, behind this pragmatism lies another dark, morally questionable, logic.

First, is there really a significant shortage of workers in Canada? According to Statistics Canada (2012) there are roughly 24 million Canadians between the ages of 16 and 65 and, according to government’s own figures, 61.8 per cent of these citizens have regular employment. That leaves approximately nine million Canadians of employable age who are NOT in the workforce. Given the government’s commitment to skills training and education, there does not appear to be a significant shortage of available Canadian workers.

Perhaps, instead, there is simply a shortage of low paid, ‘loyal’ workers with qualifications that exceed requirements?

The reality is the Temporary Foreign Worker program is a blunt and rather crude means of improving what economists call the ‘productivity’ of the Canadian workforce.

Unfortunately, as Canadians, we cannot escape the sad reality that this ‘productivity’ is purchased at the expense of common decency. Let’s fact facts, the ‘loyalty’ and ‘willingness to serve’ is a function of TFW’s vulnerability. These workers are powerless and often abused by their employers. This denial of basic human rights is shameful; indeed it is another national disgrace.

The Temporary Foreign Worker program is a gross violation of foreign workers and a betrayal of many thousands of employable Canadians. Expect this fatally flawed program to blow up in our faces, and more to the point, expect to hear another humiliating apology on behalf of Canadians.

Robert McGarvey is an economic historian and co-founder of the Genuine Wealth Institute, an Alberta-based think tank dedicated to helping businesses, communities and nations built communities of wellbeing.

www.troymedia.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

EDMONTON — Alberta’s COVID-19-era budget made a hard landing Thursday with an… Continue reading

The expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been discussed for over a decade. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital expansion gets about $6 million in 2021 provincial budget

According to the government’s three-year plan, the project will get $59 million by 2024.

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell is hoping to pick up where he left off last season as the 2020-21 WHL season kicks off Friday in Red Deer against the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels set to host Tigers in WHL season opener

24-game WHL Alberta only season kicks off night Friday at the Centrium

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

Team Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson reacts to her shot against Team Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

FILE - New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist reacts after a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in New York, in this Sunday, March 1, 2020, file photo. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 5-3. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, announcing the news a little more than two months after joining the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist posted a written statement and a videotaped one on social media Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, saying it was a "pretty tough and emotional day." The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa holds up water collected from Neskantaga First Nation, where residents were evacuated over tainted water in October, during a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal's Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Quebec starts COVID-19 vaccination bookings for seniors; those in Ontario must wait

Quebec starts COVID-19 vaccination bookings for seniors; those in Ontario must wait

Most Read