Temporary Foreign Worker Program changes will impact rural Sask.

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Editor:

“Immigrants take Canadians jobs” is a fear-inducing, catchy slogan developed by special interests that has spread throughout our country like wildfire.

In reality, our province suffers from a labour shortage that curtails economic growth and lowers the standard of living for our residents, especially in our rural communities. The dramatic scaling back of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) announced by Ottawa will not give Canadians access to more jobs, but it will shorten hours, reduce services, close businesses, and accelerate outsourcing.

The TFWP changes were an arbitrary over-reaction to political pressure and not fact-driven. Unfortunately, it is our province that will pay the heaviest price because our labour situation is unique. Specifically, even if Canadians were entirely able and willing to retrain and move anywhere, removing TFWs totally would drop the unemployment rate in Western Canada to near-worst case scenario of 1.7 per cent.

Our Chamber acknowledged the need for changes to the TFWP, but we were optimistic that a better program could have been created; we are disappointed that the federal government gave up on the opportunity.

We are actively urging them to reconsider the Alberta/Saskatchewan situation and create a regional program that would enable our businesses, residents, and Temporary Foreign Workers to thrive.

Steve McLellan - CEO Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

Organizations: Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Western Canada Alberta

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Recent comments

  • Hensel
    July 01, 2014 - 20:18

    Interesting that McLellan consider very low unemployment a "near worst case scenario". You think a low unemployment rate would be a good thing. Guess cheap labor at all costs for the Chamber and sadly, their lap dog Conservative Party friend of business and apparent enemy of the working class. Brad Wall and the Sask Party are complicit, as Wall begged the feds for thousands more cheap foreign workers, annually! Guess Wall's priority is wealthy business owners over encouraging competitive wages for Saskatchewan workers. Too bad the workers' party in the NDP has no chance of winning next time! Horrible the Chamber calls low unemployment "worst case" as it prevents them from paying minimum wage for night shifts and hard work!

  • No work in BC
    June 30, 2014 - 01:25

    1.7 percent unemployment? Sounds like a good thing to me. If that happens, there will be increased competition for good employees, wages will end up rising, and this will start to draw more people from other parts of the country. How about a program to help unemployed people from other parts of Canada who want to move to Saskatchewan, before we start talking about programs to recruit people from overseas.

  • Skeptic
    June 29, 2014 - 21:23

    We don't need more Foreign Workers keeping wages artificially low for the rest of us. The government and rich "small" business millionaires should focus on using resource revenues to keep our taxes down and services up. If a "small" business can't make a go of it, maybe we don't need a pile of late night fast food in Swift Current. And what ever happened to restaurant or gas station owners working in their own stores? Too many times I've stopped at a gas station at 2 pm on a weekday to find nothing but non English speaking foreign workers. Doubt half these "local" business owners even live in town, or ever work at "their" chain business