The Temporary Foreign Workers Program was finally overhauled this afternoon, nearly seven weeks after the feds “paused” the program in light of severe abuses by Canadian employers. To “mend not end,” the reforms aim to punish those who abuse their temporary imported workers, but makes no mention of how stupid the system actually is.
The program, designed to allow Canadian businesses to import foreign workers with the intention of deporting them 1-4 years later, was meant to help ease labour shortages in specific industries without upsetting treasured and unalterable permanent immigration quotas, set in stone long ago when Employment Minister Jason Kenney bequeathed them unto our nation from atop Parliament Hill.
Apparently, the political calculus suggested that the only reason to accept immigrants is so that they can take our jobs and crowd our cities, and all the negative effects of immigration (such as helping people build a new life while expanding our communities and perspectives), can only come in the long term.
Abuses to the program fell into three categories:
- Replacement: Alberta ironworkers alleged that they were laid-off and replaced with temporary foreign workers.
- Replacement (but also a dick move): RBC employees alleged that they were laid-off after training temporary foreign workers how to do their job.
- Orwellian Squalor: TFWs from Belize are accusing McDonald’s of forcing them to stay in an expensive apartment, 90 minutes from their job, and automatically docking their pay to pay the rent, leaving them with less than $800/month. In fact, their electricity bills were billed to McDonald’s though they still had to pay.
Jason Kenney’s changes seek to remedy these problems, capping the number of TFWs for low-wage jobs, and fining employees who break the rules. As for the 336,000 temporary foreign workers already working in the country, they can finish their terms and be sent back home. He was very concerned that multiple employers are taking advantage of this “last case scenario” program, and announced new measures to ensure that Canadians are chosen before foreigners in the hiring, an inefficient band-aid solution to a problem he created.
So, at the end of this session of parliament, we’re left with too small immigration quotas as people fight their way into our sparesly-populated nation, their only recourse being a 1-4 year contract at a low-wage position before being sent back. But don’t worry, if McDonald’s leaves you with less than $10,000 take-home pay, they’ll probably get fined.