Em and I live in an area of the country where temporary foreign workers (or “TFWs”, for those in the know) are everywhere. Primarily from the Philippines, TFWs can be found in our fast food restaurants, janitorial and maintenance companies, entry-level retail positions, and various other minimum wage jobs. We’re in oil country, and alot of the Canadian folks opt to work in the petroleum industry for all the sweet cashola they’re convinced is coming their way; this leaves a pretty serious void for service positions, at least locally.
There’s a lot of money in our town, and even the teenagers don’t have to work if they don’t want to (Daddy is in oil, after all). So there’s no one to work at the Ford dealership detail bay to clean your Escalade, prep your sandwich at Subway, or scan your Preperation H at Wal-Mart. So what’s an employer to do? We’ve had large chain stores examine the feasibility of bringing their business here, but eventually back out because finding staff is just hell. So there’s jobs to fill here, but no one will get off their butt for less than $22 an hour.
Enter the temporary foreign worker program, where employers can sponser foreign workers to come to Canada and work for them.
I’ve heard about abuse of the program, domestic workers who apply for jobs but cannot get one because the TFWs will work for less money, and the amazing help the TFW pool has been in areas where businesses are in danger of closing because they can’t find anyone to work.
I don’t claim to be an expert; I’m on the fence about the whole issue, actually, because I’ve seen the program work, and I’ve also seen it cause some problems. For a bit more insight, check out CTV New’s article on the matter here.
How do you feel about temporary foreign workers? A blessing? A mistake? Leave a comment! Let us know.