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Families caught in TFW wringer




Lethbridge Herald

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Lethbridge Herald

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They came to Canada looking to build a new life in a new country. Now they’re being booted out after four years of trying to jump through a set of moving hoops.

Wednesday’s April 1 deadline meant time had run out for thousands of temporary foreign workers who were seeking permanent residency in Canada. They included people like the McGarrys, whose story was detailed in Thursday’s Herald.

Michael McGarry came to Canada from Ireland in May 2011 to take a job as a long-haul trucker, and his wife and two children joined him in March 2012, the family settling in Claresholm.

Their story was similar to that of the Caborns who came to Lethbridge from England in April 2011 with their family, Shaun Caborn also taking a long-haul trucking job.

The husbands worked their jobs, the families bought homes and the kids settled into school. But as they worked through the process of applying for permanent residency, they ran into snags and found themselves caught in a backlog of applications. But the deadline remained. Unable to have their paperwork processed within the required four-year window – through no fault of their own – they, along with thousands of others like them, were told they would have to leave the country.

It’s not as easy as just packing your suitcases and boarding a plane. These families committed everything toward making a new life in Canada. To go back to their countries of origin, they will have to start over, and they will lose everything they established in this country.

Understandably, the McGarrys and Caborns don’t have a very good impression of the Canadian government at this point. They answered the call in good faith for workers to fill jobs in Canada, and they came under the impression that if they jumped through the proper hoops, they would be able to become permanent residents.

Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre, in defending the federal government’s position on the matter, said in a Canadian Press story, “Our policy is that Canadians should come first for Canadian jobs. The April 1st deadline has been known for a very long time, and the purpose of the program is for it to be temporary. That’s why they’re called temporary foreign workers.”

Fair enough. But if the government intends these people to be just that, temporary workers, they shouldn’t be giving them the impression that they will be able to stay if they meet certain requirements, but then pull the rug out from under them. Little wonder these workers are warning others back home to stay away from Canada because, in the words of Martina McGarry, “they’ll screw you over.”

To federal officials, these people might just be numbers in a computer, part of a program to fill jobs that Canadians aren’t filling. But at the end of the day, these are real people whose lives are being thrown into upheaval because of bureaucratic machinery that is using them and then spitting them out.

If the government doesn’t do something to fix what’s wrong with the TFW program, Canada could have a difficult time finding applicants in the future.

Comment on this editorial online at http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/opinions/.


The article explains the story of two different families: The McGarry family came from Ireland in May 2011 to take a job as a long haul trucker in Claresholm and the Caborn family came from England in April 2011 also to take a job as a long haul trucker in Lethbridge. They were told to leave the country after the required period of four years had finished even though they had applied to the permanent residency but the applications got backlogged…

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