“We believe that employers and Ottawa are using the import of vulnerable migrant workers to promote a low wage strategy in Canada.” - Ken Georgetti, CLC President.
Ottawa (16 May 2013) – New research conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) shows that in recent years migrant workers are filling most of the new jobs created in the Canadian economy.
Newly created jobs go to temporary foreign workers instead of unemployed Canadians
“Roughly 75 per cent of the new jobs created in Canada in 2010 and 2011 were filled by temporary foreign workers despite the fact that 1.4 million Canadian residents were unemployed,” says CLC President Ken Georgetti. The CLC research used numbers from the Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey and from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Federal government forced to make changes to TFWP
The federal government was forced in April to make changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) after clear evidence that employers were using the program to import vulnerable migrant workers at a time of continuing high unemployment in Canada.
TFWP used to further low-wage strategy
“Employers and the federal government have tried to deny what is happening but we have crunched the numbers and the trends are clear. In most provinces the importation of migrant workers accounts for more than 50 per cent of net new jobs in the years 2008-2011,” Georgetti says. “We believe that employers and Ottawa are using the import of vulnerable migrant workers to promote a low wage strategy in Canada.”
Georgetti provided examples of migrant workers and job creation in Canadian provinces:
- the influx of temporary foreign workers in B.C. exceeded the net number of jobs created between 2008 and 2011. B.C. created 52,100 net new jobs in those years, and in 2011 there were nearly 70,000 temporary foreign workers in the province
- in 2009, Alberta imported 28,547 temporary foreign workers as the provincial economy shed 28,500 net jobs
- in Saskatchewan, on average between 2008 and 2011, 65 per cent of net new jobs created were held by temporary foreign workers
- for 2011, approximately 70 per cent of the net new jobs created in Manitoba were held by temporary foreign workers
- in Ontario, the economy shed over 164,000 jobs in 2009, but 60,000 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province. In 2011, 56 per cent of net new jobs were held by temporary foreign workers
- 90 per cent of the net new jobs created in Quebec in 2011 were held by temporary foreign workers
- New Brunswick lost 3,400 jobs in 2010 and 4,100 jobs in 2011, but the number of temporary foreign workers arriving in the province increased to 1,819 in that year
- Nova Scotia created only 300 net new jobs in 2011, but over 2,800 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province
- Prince Edward Island created 1,400 net new jobs in 2011, and 42 per cent of these jobs were held by temporary foreign workers, and
- Newfoundland and Labrador lost over 6,000 jobs in 2009, yet nearly 1,400 temporary foreign workers arrived in the province that year. In 2011, 22 per cent of net new jobs created were held by temporary foreign workers.
Foreign workers not to be exploited
Georgetti adds, “Let me be clear. We welcome migrant workers when there are demonstrated shortages of workers in Canada, but we want to ensure that those migrant workers are protected on the job and welcomed into the community. They should be placed into the permanent immigration stream, not exploited in temporary migration schemes.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE