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

VIDEO: Stars offer four tickets to tonight’s Langley concert to $500 donors

From country music celebrities to NHL alumni, many famous faces hit the links at Redwoods today.

Langley animals feeling effects of smoky skies

Animal shelters are trying to keep their critters healthy through the smoggy days.

Medevac called to South Surrey business

‘Serious workplace incident’ reported to WorkSafeBC

Langley City in need of some Terry Fox Run helpers

People can help out on run day or be involved in preparations before then.

VIDEO: Mustang Roundup in Langley attracts car lovers from all over

A car show dedicated entirely to one model of Ford drew admirers and collectors to George Preston Recreation Centre.

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Date rapist left victims with ‘long-lasting, emotional scars,’ judge says

Klifford Kenyon of Abbotsford sentenced to additional two years in prison

Fire in barn that housed therapy horses has been confirmed an arson

Abbotsford Police Department is now investigating and seeks witnesses

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Most Read