Saturday, June 21, 2014

How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?

Well, it appears that the Harper Cons may have actually fixed the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in many of the ways suggested by its critics.
I know, I can't believe it either.
But I just wonder if Canadian employers can adjust their thinking? Right now, they're absolutely pissed!
Jason Kenny is absolutely correct here:
...the government wants to return the TFWP to its original objective -- to be the “last, limited and temporary resort for employers who absolutely cannot find qualified Canadians to take jobs at the Canadian wage rate.”
Kenney said some employers, “probably a few thousands in the Canadian economy, primarily out West, have begun building a business model around this program.
“As opposed to it being a last resort, in too many cases it’s become a first or only resort.”
Kenney said the government is aware of 1,100 businesses where half of the workforce is made up of temporary foreign workers.
“That is unacceptable,” he said. “I don’t care how tight the local labour market is, you shouldn’t be setting up a business and spending money on capital for business if you don’t have the human capital to staff it.”
Kenny is on the side of the angels in these remarks.  But Thomas Walkom in the Toronto Star questions the whole approach of the program:
In a country where the official unemployment rate hovers near 7 per cent (the real jobless rate is well above that), there is no shortage of labour willing to work at low-skilled jobs.
What there may be, however, is a shortage of Canadians willing to accept the wages and conditions that these jobs offer.
The market solution would be to offer higher wages and better conditions in the hope of attracting workers. The Conservative solution has been to let fast food outlets and others import temporary foreign workers willing to accept whatever wages employers offer.
Intellectually, Kenney seems to understand this contradiction.
Intellectually, Kenney seems to understand this contradiction. On Friday, he pointed out that real wages adjusted for inflation have fallen in Alberta’s food service industry — thanks to its use of temporary foreign workers.
His reforms would prevent employers in the food, accommodation and retail industries from hiring temporary foreign workers whenever the local unemployment rate is 6 per cent or higher (which, tellingly, excludes his home province of Alberta).
But he very specifically limited this ban to what economists call the non-tradable goods and services sector.
Other sectors that produce commodities traded across borders — including farmers, manufacturers, miners, meat processors and fish packers — would be able to hire temporary foreign workers, regardless of the local jobless rate.
Incidentally, hotels and restaurants in high unemployment area can also continue to hire certain kinds of foreigners — such as students — under reciprocal trade agreements. These temporary foreign workers are not covered by Friday’s announced reforms.
So there may be a few loopholes that business could continue to try to exploit.
I wonder if Canadian companies will adopt the goal of finding new ways to hire more Canadians, rather than just complaining to the Harper Cons and sneaking around to try to subvert the new regulations?

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