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C.D. Howe report says temporary foreign workers program boosted joblessness

0 29 Labour

by Journal Of Commerce

A new report by the C.D. Howe Institute is harshly critical of the federal government's controversial temporary foreign workers program, saying it has spurred a higher unemployment rate in western Canada.

A new report by the C.D. Howe Institute is harshly critical of the federal government's controversial temporary foreign workers program, saying it has spurred a higher unemployment rate in western Canada.

The study says that changes to the program, made between 2002 and 2013, made it easier for employers to hire temporary foreign workers and consequently contributed to a hike in the joblessness rate in Alberta and B.C.

As well, the report says, Ottawa eased the rules in the absence of any empirical evidence of labour shortages in many occupations.

The government has since tightened the regulations, but there have been a spate of high-profile abuses of the program in recent months.

Fast-food giant McDonald’s has announced it is freezing its participation in the program pending a third-party audit after it found itself in hot water for hiring temporary foreign workers in B.C.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney is vowing to lower the boom on any companies found to be abusing the program, and a spate of new rule changes are expected to be announced soon.

In response to the C.D. Howe report, a Kenney spokeswoman cites a Statistics Canada finding that the impact of temporary foreign workers on employment estimates is negligible, representing just two per cent of overall employment.

The report says the government’s 2013 crackdown on the program is welcome but probably insufficient because there is a dearth of solid data about the state of Canada’s labour market.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2014

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