Canada has for a very long time allowed farmers to bring in temporary foreign workers to harvest crops. This is a program I support for two, and ONLY two, reasons:
a) Harvesting of crops is vitally important and it was/is hard to find Canadians willing to do the work.
b) The work is seasonal.
Neither of these two reasons applies to temporary workers being brought in to compete with Canadian bank tellers and people (many of them young students) looking to find work with McDonalds. And foreign companies, such as iGate in the case of Royal Bank’s temporary foreign workers, are making a profit by sourcing cheap labour. Many foreign corps have, sometimes successfully, often frivolously, sued Canada under NAFTA’s Chapter 11 already for laws, such as environmental protection laws, that affect their “sacred treaty right” to make money.
If only the treaties with our First Nations had been made under NAFTA. Hmmmm…
Anyway, here are my questions:
1. Please….PLEASE can someone help explain when unhealthy fast food became so vital to Canadians that it justifies harming our Canuck workers to make it even cheaper?
2. At what point can US corporations like iGate sue Canada for Lost Future Profits Until Kingdom Come if Canada legislates against foreign temps?
Once again I am frustrated and shamed of our spineless government and complacent population.
I am seriously waiting for an answer or two here, folks…
Update April 25:
OK, not hearing from anyone, I have found this article by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) on the history of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. Trust a Canadian union to do the investigative reporting our media should have been doing to educate us on this widespread and ever-growing abuse and commodification of human beings, both Canadian (the ultimate losers) and non-Canadian “Temporary” Foreign Workers (the “often gratefully abused”). From a pilot program introduced by the Liberals in 2002 it was expanded repeatedly by the Harper Conservatives since 2006 to the point where, at the end of 2012, there were 340 000 TFW’s living in Canada.
Here is a 2011 article done at York University which described how, in the 2008 downturn, the so-called “temporary” program designed to fill jobs Canadians didn’t want actually grew and, in fact, had become permanent.
And below is a table from Stats Canada showing that TFW’s accounted for 29% of Canada’s Total Paid Employment increase from 2007 to 2011. Must be worse now… Thanks for this to economist Jim Stanford’s May, 2012 post in The Progressive Economics Forum. No wonder Harper wants to emasculate Stats Canada! I have sandwiched the table in between two quotes from Stanford’s brief article:
Even before the expansion of the program envisioned in the current omnibus “budget” bill, temporary foreign workers (who do not have the same rights as other Canadian workers, and whose presence here depends entirely on keeping their employers happy) already accounted for almost 30% of all net new paid jobs created in Canada between 2007 and 2011.
And another quote:
Hence, this initiative by Harper & Co. is aimed at relaxing a fundamental constraint on class relations in our whole labour market, and in that regard represents a very important (and dangerous) shift in the balance of power in our society.