“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