More foreign workers heading here under International Experience Canada program

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OTTAWA - Are you an employer keen to hire help from abroad, but nervous about the controversy dogging Ottawa's temporary foreign worker program?

The government of Canada may have a program for you.

Under the International Experience Canada program, as many as 20,000 workers aged 18 to 35 will be coming to Canada — just as Canadian youth begin pounding the pavement in search of summer jobs.

The program allows employers to bypass the labour market opinion process, which means no need for government approval. As well, companies are not obliged to pay their workers the prevailing market wage.

The influx follows a spirited campaign by the government to attract skilled workers from abroad. More than half of those arriving are Irish and some are staying for as long as two years.

In exchange, Canadians can apply to work in 32 other countries, including Ukraine, Slovenia and Great Britain.

Doug Parton of the Ironworkers union in B.C. calls the program an attack on wages. He says there are no skills assessments of the incoming workers, no checks and balances and no minimum wage.

Parton is calling on the government to crack down on the program, which he says is rife with abuse.

Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter at @leeanne25

Geographic location: OTTAWA, Canada, Ukraine Slovenia Great Britain

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