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Newspaper article

Temporary foreign workers should be given citizenship, B.C. union says

Date

2014-06-22

Authors

Canadian Press

Newspaper title

The National Post

Full text

The federal government’s planned overhaul of the temporary foreign worker program has done little to calm debate in British Columbia, where revelations about foreign workers in a range of industries — from fast food to mining — helped push Ottawa toward reform.

Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, said no amount of reform can change the fact the program will still allow companies to hire foreign workers instead of Canadians.

“The program is still going to exist — they just found ways to massage public opinion so they can continue with it,” said Sinclair.

He said the proposed changes will do nothing to help the foreign workers themselves.

“Our position is that they should be given citizenship,” Sinclair said. “If they’re good enough to work here, they’re good enough to live here, bring their families and spend their paycheques in Canada.”

The Conservative government announced a series of changes last Friday designed to make it more difficult and more expensive for companies to use temporary foreign workers, particularly for low-skilled jobs such as those in the fast-food industry.

Use of the temporary foreign worker program, which is designed to allow companies to meet temporary labour shortages, has increased significantly, from about 100,000 workers across the country in 2002 to more than 300,000 today.

Links

Economic sectors

General relevance - all sectors

Content types

Policy analysis and Numbers of migrant workers

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

British Columbia and National relevance

Languages

English