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Ah, nothing like the salty, fatty taste of abused foreign workers
Ottawa Business Journal

 

Following accusations that temporary foreign workers at several McDonalds in Western Canada have been unfairly treated, the fast food giant’s franchise has decided to suspend its use of the federal jobs initiative, an extension of “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” which gained traction back in 2012-2013. The employment initiative gave restaurant franchise owners the ability to hire foreign workers on temporary work visas, and it is now halted while a third party conducts an audit. The process of determining foreign hires rests upon the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) application form, designed to ensure that sixteen-year-old Canadian workers have first pick when asking themselves, “How badly do I want to work for minimum wage flipping burgers this summer? I mean, my iPhone is already 6 months old…” While the rest of the country (read: Alberta) is bracing itself to endure the impending Big Mac famine, policy-makers in Ottawa are confident that suspending all temporary foreign workers will shore up wage rates in the industry for the common good of all Canadians.

However, they neglected one tiny detail: nobody willingly wants to work at McDonald’s. After all, Canadians want REAL jobs, the kind that makes enough moolah in a single month to complete a vintage car collection. Indeed, the reservation price for a Canadian’s time is no joking matter, especially for Generation Y (because they’re special). Sure, you might illicit the occasional positive response if you asked a bunch of strangers on the streets, “Do you want to work at McDonald’s for minimum wage?” (Perks include low self-esteem!), but the consensus is generally along the lines of, “Well, I have a heroin addiction that needs funding, so I guess I have no choice.” In the end, even if politicians raise the wage rate to $30/hour, it won’t matter because the job will still suck platypus nuts.

 

I mean, someone needs to make the 40 billion burgers that Americans eat every year Quang Le

I mean, someone needs to make the 50 billion burgers that Americans eat every year
Quang Le

 

Most importantly, this audit will do nothing to change the market incentives currently in place, which is where the problem really lies. It might be a cool stunt designed to save Ronald McDonald some face, but Employment Minister Jason Kenney is going to have to do more than just apply a public relations band-aid. At the end of the day, employers are still going to seek bottom line profits, employees are still going to be overqualified to perform routine mechanical tasks, and foreign workers who have come here on temporary visas because “home” is still a cholera-ridden wasteland are going to be denied a chance at the Canadian dream (which, in my mind, means swimming in an Olympic-sized pool full of hot maple syrup).

Fundamentally, it’s hard to see the logic in burning everyone simply because a few horrible people are incapable of basic human decency when it comes to employment conditions. As Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, said in a statement, “[Alberta feels] it is unfair to freeze an entire sector because there are problems with a few players.” If McDonald’s Canada wants to pursue the correct, not to mention, efficient, course of action, it will choose to simply punish those select few who abused foreign workers. Honestly, it’s a bit like boycotting the LA Clippers’ playoff games because the owner, Donald Sterling, is someone whose family line should have ended at Appomattox. By doing so, we only end up hurting the good people at the front line—those who are just trying to squeeze out a living.

Moreover, many legitimate businesses offer great working conditions, but choose to employ foreign workers on temporary visas simply because they are suited for the job. So let’s take Uttem Dey, owner of the Green Chili restaurant chain for example, who decidedly chose to employ Indian workers to staff the restaurant’s kitchens in Western Canada because they are acclimatized to the heat necessary to properly cook naan. As someone possessed with the heat tolerance of a nubile infant, I am perfectly fine with this outcome because I am not interested in risking a heat stroke every time I show up for work. However, if you happen to be a masochist or insanely committed to cooking naan, by all means, sign yourself up. In the meantime, only a small group of foreign workers actually feel up to the task. At the end of the day, all of it really does just come down to comparative advantages. But, now that we have just turned them all away, I guess that leaves just us to man the grill… Would you like fries with that?

  • Kenneth Cameron

    What a stupid article. Say anything.

    • Bob Veats

      These fluff pieces in support of the TFW program are nauseating. Their corporate sponsors are clearly exercising their will, and this supportive garbage of the plight of the poor-rich franchisees and their turnkey profit raking operations is the end result. Apparently, according to corporate apologists, Canadians need a McDonalds/Tim Hortons on every corner running 24-7 or our economy will crash overnight. Must Canadian labourers compete locally with the entirety of the world when we aren’t capable of providing for our own. IT, restaurant workers, meat packers, pilots, contract workers, whose front-line job will be next.

      This author seems to think that all food must be cooked in a Tandoor and in a way that would provide severe danger to an average Canadian. So listen up employers, CEOs, etc. you no longer need to hire any Canadians, just make up some obscure job requirement and you will completely remove yourselves from the local supply and demand for labour and can freely shop for anyone in the world and even trick them into paying for the flight here (courtesy of some shady authority in the matter) as well as you can bill them for any fees you might incur filling in LMOs that will likely be rubber-stamped without any fuss. Buy up some property and set up your very own indentured servant workhouse, today, then you can lavish in all great amenities of rich entitlements in the Caymans or some other retirement-resort paradise while two-tier Canada becomes a reality.

      Training? Why that’s something that happens far away in a mystical land. And thank you also to Harper Government (sarc.) for continually devaluing me and my fellows who indeed want to work; if you get elected for a couple more terms (thanks to ‘fair’ elections) I can look forward to signing long term contracts for minimum wage on 39 hour capped work weeks (employers can’t provide benefits), while health and safety standards erode (self regulate), holidays and overtime pay become things of the past, and E.I. is a 20-hour a week job at a fast food chain.

      -End rant.

  • Country1

    I think this reporter is a little out of touch with reality. People don’t want to work at McD’s because this generation wants to make enough to buy vintage cars? Look at the wage offered in any given area, then look at the economics in that area and you will see that the wage won’t support living there, even if by the whim of the Gods you can wrangle a 40 hour week which McDonalds also doesn’t do. Yet corporately they are raking in billions and at the store levels the owners are making a very large amount of money. McDonalds and others like them, Timmy’s for example, can pay a lot more than what they are. Time for the government to legislate greed.

  • JedediahGoodson

    The only part of this article that I agreed with was the part where the author said “at the end of the day employers are going to see profits” – that is a realistic and fair statement.

    You can easily extend this to say “employers will take advantage of any program that allows them to legally offset the human resources costs of any operation” – by getting someone else to pay, IE the government IE the taxpayer and therefore you and me pay for this program.

    The TFW program is one of those programs. It might have a real place in the Canadian work force – but I truly think if people don’t want McJobs it’s because they can’t make enough money to live on them.

    Maybe we need to pay more for burgers to people can make a living wage in these jobs. Maybe the shareholders/owners need to make less money.

    If the 1.99 burger deal we get is paid for by the TFW program (meaning you and me) that burger doesn’t really cost a 1.99 anyway, does it?

    The idea that people become very wealthy while keeping their workers in poverty is offensive to me. I know that’s reality since forever but I still don’t like it and I am fully on board with Jason Kenny’s decisions here.