Liberals Propose Reforms to Temporary Foreign Worker Program

OTTAWA – The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is broken and Liberals are proposing immediate reforms to fix the program, said Liberal Critic for Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, John McCallum.

“As a result of the Conservatives’ mismanagement, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has failed to achieve its original objective of filling jobs when qualified Canadian workers cannot be found, and Liberals are calling for the program to be scaled back and re-focused on its original purpose,” said Mr. McCallum. “Between 2005 and 2012, the number of short-term foreign workers in this country more than doubled, with nearly as many temporary foreign workers being admitted in 2012 as there were permanent residents. Should this continue, temporary worker entries will outnumber permanent resident entries by 2015.”

The Liberal Party is therefore proposing immediate reforms to the program: the government must ensure real transparency and accountability in the program, which should begin with a full review of the program by the Auditor General, as well as the public disclosure of information concerning what jobs are being offered to temporary foreign workers and in what communities; it must require employers to demonstrate that every effort has been made to fill positions with Canadian workers and young Canadian workers in particular; and finally, the government should tighten the Labour Market Opinion approval process.

“The Liberal Party has repeatedly warned the Conservatives that abuses of this program have been hurting the middle class by driving down wages and displacing Canadian workers,” said Mr. McCallum. “Last year we proposed that a review of the program be conducted, but every Conservative MP voted down our motion as they claimed that a review was not necessary. It is only now, following a slew of bad press, that the Conservatives have acknowledged the program’s failures.”

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Background:
Please view a graph of temporary foreign worker entries into Canada versus permanent resident entries here.