Hot! One in four new jobs went to temporary foreign workers

PressProgress.ca/en/post
 by PressProgress

Well, it looks like Kijiji isn’t the only problem with the Conservatives’ job numbers.

It turns out that a good chunk of new jobs in Canada — one in four, to be exact — were filled by temporary foreign workers, while unemployed Canadians couldn’t find work.

The recent report from Parliamentary Budget Office spells it out.

The office found that the increase in the number of Labour Market Opinion (LMO) confirmations for temporary foreign workers in 2012 was equivalent to 25.6 per cent of the increase in employment, “despite total LMO confirmations representing only 1.1 per cent of the labour force.”

(A snapshot of the labour market in 2012, the period under review by the PBO, showed that Canada’s unemployment rate sat at 7.3%. The youth unemployment rate was much higher, at 13.9% for people aged 15-24. That translates to 394,000 young people.)

A separate study headed by University of Lethbridge researcher Susan McDaniel has also found that the number of temporary foreign workers has increased dramatically, from 89,000 per year in 2000 to 213,000 in 2012. And TFWs, approved to work in Canada by the federal government, are being used “primarily in lower paying jobs, particularly in the hospitality, and food and beverage industries.”

Given these stats, it shouldn’t have surprised Employment Minister Jason Kenney when CBC revealed recently that a McDonald’s franchise has been using TFWs rather than hiring local applicants.

Despite receiving dozens of resumes from local applicants, some with university degrees, “the store wasn’t hiring because up to nine new Filipino workers were coming,” one employee told CBC.

Faced with a growing controversy, Kenney, whose department has overseen the expansion of the TFW program, now says it may be time to bar the use of migrant workers in fast-food restaurants. (Canada’s latest jobs numbers show 1.3 million Canadians are unemployed, including 382,000 young people).

The problem for Kenney, though, is this isn’t restricted to McJobs.

As temporary foreign workers keep coming to Canada, controversies keep popping up over migrant workers displacing locals in good union jobs in mines and other jobs.

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