McIver pressing province’s case for temporary foreign workers

Ottawa has heard Alberta’s concerns about labour shortages and the need to hold on to productive foreign workers, says Alberta Jobs Minister Ric McIver.

Ottawa has heard Alberta’s concerns about labour shortages and the need to hold on to productive foreign workers, says Alberta Jobs Minister Ric McIver.

“I do believe we have their attention,” McIver told an Agriculture Labour Summit audience at the Black Knight Inn. “I believe that they really understand that (the issue) is real, it’s serious and that we need to look for solutions together.”

McIver, who holds the Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour portfolio, was in Ottawa last week pressing the province’s case with federal Labour Minister Jason Kenney and Citizen and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. Premier Jim Prentice has also raised the issue with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The federal government has announced it plans to launch an Express Entry immigration program aimed at luring skilled workers in 2015.

Details have yet to be provided and the Alberta government is working hard to ensure its concerns are addressed by the new rules.

A key federal concern is the number of temporary foreign workers who are now filling permanent jobs.

At the end of last year in Alberta, 85,000 temporary foreign workers — a large number in the food industry — were drawing a pay cheque.

“If we don’t make some changes to the announced regulations … there will be thousands and thousands of them going home in 2015,” said McIver.

“And if you’re anything like me you don’t know yet how we’re going to fill that gap.”

Many temporary foreign workers are due to leave in 2015 when their four-year contracts expire.

That’s why the province is so keen to ensure that new foreign worker policies don’t hamstring Alberta’s strong economy.

“In my view, we need to find paths to bridge the people that are here working, to either stay longer or to find methods to bridge into permanent residency, or citizens for goodness sakes.

“Essentially, they’re doing what we Canadians are doing: working, paying taxes, staying out of trouble and contributing to society.”

McIver said Alberta wants to see an existing provincial nominee program opened up to more applicants or to find a way to allow them to stay through the Express Entry program.

The nominee program is currently capped at 5,500 workers per year and two years worth of applications are already in the chute.

Alberta has made it clear that it will be better for all concerned if new federal regulations are announced with the support of this province, rather than try to fix shortcomings later.

“It’s communication that gives us the very best chance of success,” said McIver.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

Heat warning in effect for Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Central Alberta. Residents in… Continue reading

Alberta’s debt clock on the road to drive home fiscal message

Canadian Taxpayers Federation raising concerns about Alberta’s $45 billion debt

Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis out of intensive care, able to communicate

An Alberta player with the Western Hockey League who was seriously burned… Continue reading

Trump-Putin summit opens without talk of election meddling

HELSINKI — With a wink and a slouch, respectively, President Donald Trump… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Statelessness a hurdle for some rescued Thai boy

MAE SAI, Thailand — The 12 boys and coach of the Wild… Continue reading

Lobbying commissioner rejects complaints against firearms panel member

OTTAWA — A federal watchdog has dismissed complaints that a mass-shooting survivor… Continue reading

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

OTTAWA — The Canadian Real Estate Association says the number of homes… Continue reading

Red Deer Royals place second at Calgary Stampede parade

Royals depicted life in forest and portrayed destruction by human beings

Muslim candidates running in record numbers face backlash

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A liberal woman of colour with zero name recognition… Continue reading

Former UK Cabinet secretary seeks new Brexit referendum

LONDON — A former U.K. Cabinet minister from the ruling Conservative Party… Continue reading

Man killed by Chicago police ran away, reached for waist

CHICAGO — A man killed by Chicago police had a gun in… 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