Impact of Temporary Foreign Worker Program on the Construction Labour Force in Western Canada
For more than a Decade, Canada has has faced a desperate need for permanent residents and citizens, while a dysfunctional immigration system has been bogged down by a backlog of applications.
Below are 12 policy recommendations for the new Liberal government to review, prepared for LiUNA by Richard Gilbert BA(Geog, Econ) MPhil(Econ) Dip. of International Trade., Journalism (Cert.) Strategic Public Relations (Cert.)
1 - Permanent Residency
There is an urgent need for the Federal Government to create a pathway to full citizenship for TFW's, when the demand for the worker exists and the worker wishes to become a Canadian citizen.
2 - Labour Union Consultation
The federal Government should implement a policy that requires an employer, who makes an application to employ a TFW, to consult with the specific union which performs the work.
3- Advertising Requirements
The federal government needs to implement clear and expanded requirements for employers to advertise locally and across Canada on the Government of Canada's Job Bank, as well sits provincial and territorial counterparts, before hiring TWF's.
The Federal Government should implement new regulations that require TFWs to possess the same qualifications as Canadian workers, such as the Red Seal Standard
5 - Transition Plan
The federal government should require employers who hire TFWs to implement a transition plan on all public sector construction projects, which includes training-up of Canadian workers a commitment of 25% apprentices, and ensure that TFWs are not brought in to hold apprentice positions
6 - LMIA Exemption
The federal Government should make a commitment that the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption under the BC annex of April 2015, will not be applied.
7 - Intra-company Transfers
The federal government should restrict Free Trade Agreement "Intra-company transfers" for construction workers, which includes the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
8- Wage Rates
The federal government should not use the provincial median wage rate, which is currently $22 per hour in BC., and the prevailing wage rate needs to respect the "Craft" (Building Trade) package, which should include wage, holiday pay and benefits for industrial work.
9- Reduce Work Time Permit
The federal government should limit TFWs to six month work permits in Canada to encourage employers to hire and train Canadian workers before TFWs.
10 - Lay Offs
In the event of a lay-off, there is a need for the federal government to implement a policy that maintains the employment of Canadians during a recession period of lay-offs within a company.
The federal government needs to operate a robust and sufficiently financed enforcement strategy to enforce new regulations.
12- Foreign Ownership and Competition
Foreign companies should not be allowed to bid on public infrastructure projects in competition with Canadian firms, and then empty TFWs under the most extreme conditions of economic exploitation.