Canadian workers first

Almost 30 years at her job apparently wasn’t enough to prevent Sandy Nelson from being replaced by the Harper government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Array

Almost 30 years at her job apparently wasn’t enough to prevent Sandy Nelson from being replaced by the Harper government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The Weyburn, Sask., restaurant that fired Nelson and several other servers last month is now under investigation by Employment and Social Development Canada.

After CBC broke the story on Monday, the owners of Brothers Classic Grill and Pizza issued a statement that they were acting within the rules.

Really? The rules allow Canadian employees to be fired, or laid off, and replaced by federal government-approved workers from outside Canada?

Nelson, who is 58, told CBC that all waiters received discharge letters in March. Some were offered their jobs back, including two temporary foreign workers.

Nelson says she doesn’t understand how it could be that she had to look for a new job while foreign workers are still employed at the establishment.

Needless to say, public response on social media has been quick and, by far, full of condemnation.

On the Brother’s Classic Grill and Pizza Facebook page: “Canada will eat someplace else” and “You should be ashamed of yourselves” were familiar sentiments.

With a population of about 10,000, everybody in Weyburn would have heard this story by the end of the day.

The restaurant has joined a growing list of businesses being investigated by Employment and Social Development Canada for alleged abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Just a week ago, an expanded investigation began into several McDonald’s franchises.

A woman who worked at a Parksville, B.C., McDonald’s for 24 years said she was forced out of her job when temporary workers were hired. The federal government has suspended pending foreign work permits in Victoria, pending an investigation.

A McDonald’s scheduling manager in Lethbridge who quit said he was told to give full-time shifts to foreign workers first.

A group of oilpatch workers in the Fort McMurray area were let go earlier this year and replaced with temporary foreign workers (TFWs), apparently for a much lower hourly rate.

There are several hundred thousand TFWs in the country now. As more and more Canadians step forward to complain about their jobs being lost, there’s a good chance some of the anger will be misdirected at those workers who come here from other parts of the world.

TFWs have their own valid issues, such as the difficulty of trying to qualify for citizenship, obtaining proper housing and being afraid to speak out against any employer abuse because they don’t want to be sent home.

While some employers may argue TFWs are more productive or reliable than Canadian workers, is it because they fear losing their jobs here?

Really, the anger should be directed at those employers who abuse the program. And just how “temporary” are foreign workers when employers are replacing Canadian workers, and offering the foreign workers better hours, shifts and even pay?

Canadians must get first crack at jobs, they should not be losing their jobs to foreign workers, and if we see continuing abuses of the TFW program, it’s time to shut the program down.

Canadians who are losing their jobs because of the program have to speak up, like Nelson did.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney has told companies not to expect the program and immigration administrators to solve their labour shortages, and that they should consider paying (Canadian) workers more and spending more into skills training.

Why would they as long as they have the Temporary Foreign Workers Program?



Mary-Ann Barr is the Advocate’s assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at barr@bprda.wpengine.com or by phone at 403-314-4332.

Just Posted

RDC’s new name to be unveiled in February

The next big milestone for Red Deer College is a new name,… Continue reading

Lacombe considering cat licensing

Council is expected to take a look at cat potential licensing regulations next month

Lacombe updating its nuisance bylaw

New bylaw expected to address everything from noisy snowblowers to driveway wrecks

RCMP seek suspect in Rimbey armed robbery

Rimbey Liquor Store was robbed at gunpoint about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday

Rimbey RCMP searching for suspects in break and enter spree

Rimbey RCMP are looking for a pair of culprits responsible for five… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Opinion: Faith in immigration must be preserved

Canada has a deserved reputation for extending its arms to newcomers, but… Continue reading

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read