Report highlights growing role of temporary foreign workers

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The number of temporary foreign workers in Newfoundland and Labrador has more than doubled between 2005 and 2012, according to a report released today by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC).

Temporary foreign workers statistics

The number in this province as of Dec. 1, 2005 was 936, according to the report. Seven years later, it was 2,551.

The report says throughout the Atlantic region, the number of temporary foreign workers increased threefold during the same period to reach 10,900 workers in December 2012. The largest increases have been in lower paying, lower skill occupations such as fish plant and food service workers.

"Despite the rapid growth in the number of temporary foreign workers in Atlantic Canada, they account for only a tiny fraction of total employment in Atlantic Canada," said APEC Senior Economist David Chaundy."In 2012, temporary foreign workers represented one per cent of total employment in the Atlantic region, compared with 1.9 per cent nationally."   

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals to fill temporary labour and skill shortages when qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available. The program covers a number of categories of temporary international workers including those directly approved under the program, their spouses, international students who have completed their studies and are eligible to work for up to three years, other young people seeking work experience in Canada, as well as seasonal agricultural workers and live-in caregivers.

In April, federal Employment Minister Jason Kenny announced a ban on the hiring of temporary foreign workers in restaurants because of concerns about the program being abused. He said a review would be carried out before any decision made to lift the ban.

St. John's City Council debated the issue Tuesday night and is calling on Ottawa to lift the ban.

Quebec has also asked the federal government to reverse its decision.

Thursday's Telegram will contain more coverage on the APEC report.

Organizations: APEC

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, St. John's, Ottawa Quebec

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Recent comments

  • Albert Johnson
    May 21, 2014 - 15:07

    If the foreign workers only total one to two percent of the work force there should be no issues in cancelling the program. If not employing that extra two percent of temporary workers is going to result in closure of a business, they should rethink their business plan or be allowed go out of business. Poor business models should not be subsidized by the Harper Government providing them cheap foreign workers. Someone with a better business plan will replace them and the economy will carry on. The key word to the program is temporary which employers and TFWs seem to forget on arrival in Canada. We have been duped by big business and the Harper Government for years. It's time to get back to looking after Canadians first.

  • Albert Johnson
    May 21, 2014 - 12:34

    If the foreign workers only total one to two percent of the work force there should be no issues in cancelling the program. If not employing that extra two percent of temporary workers is going to result in closure of a business, they should rethink their business plan or be allowed go out of business. Poor business models should not be subsidized by the Harper Government providing them cheap foreign workers. Someone with a better business plan will replace them and the economy will carry on. The key word to the program is temporary which employers and TFWs seem to forget on arrival in Canada. We have been duped by big business and the Harper Government for years. It's time to get back to looking after Canadians first.

  • W bagg
    May 21, 2014 - 12:20

    TFWers shouldn't be chained to one employer, they should be free to work at any company or industry that they are qualified for and is permitted to use TFWers. Chaining them to one employer is essentially slavery in the western world. The employers hold the threat of sending them back over their heads to get split shifts, rent etcc from the workers

  • Daniel Masse
    May 21, 2014 - 11:59

    what about at least one of the TFW staffing agencies that is degrading Canadians because they have a family and aocial distractions. What TFW wants is to bring their family and also sending most of their earnings to their country. Nothing for Canada beside taking most of permanent jobs feom Canadians. TFWs are just modern slaves manipulated and abused by most of the employers. Split shifts, crappy working hours, unpaid overtime, last minute schedule changes, etc. Employers hiring TFWs are not saying all the truth to government, and making any efforts to hire Canadians beside posting a job in Job Bank that is never updated. This is way too easy for Canadians employers where many of them were previously immigrants but not canadian citizens. ...